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National Museums Scotland is committed to treating human remains with respect and in ways that are culturally appropriate.

National Museums Scotland holds collections of human remains that come from outside of Europe. These collections were made through a variety of archaeological, ethnographic and private collecting, including collections made in the colonial period. The human remains in this collection come from diverse cultures and time periods, including mummified people from ancient Egypt and Peru as well as artefacts made of or including human remains dating to within the last 200-300 years.

We've published a list of all the human remains from outside of Europe in our collection (.pdf). This list is accurate at the time of publication but may be updated as new research is undertaken on the collection. The list does not include objects that only have human teeth, hair and/or nails that can be shed during a lifetime.

For more information about all of these collections please consult our online collections database.

All images of human remains except those of wrapped mummified humans have been removed from our online collections database. If images are required for research purposes please contact the Image Library

National Museums Scotland will consider requests for transfer of human remains out of the collection as set out in our Human Remains Policy (.pdf). A list of all previous transfers of human remains to institutions outside the UK (.pdf) is accessible online.

If you require more information about human remains from outside of the UK in National Museums Scotland’s collection please contact John Giblin, Keeper of World Cultures (

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