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Background To the Policy: the UCL Inquiry

Over the period 1995-1996 UCL accepted custody of a collection of Aramaic incantation bowls from the Schøyen Collection for the purposes of carrying out research. In 2003 questions were raised in the media regarding the origin of these bowls, as a result of which UCL, with the agreement of the Schøyen Collection, initiated an independent Inquiry into their provenance. This Inquiry was established on 14 February 2005 by the Provost of UCL.

The Inquiry was chaired by Mr David John Freeman, founder and senior partner of D. J. Freeman, solicitors from 1952 to 1992. The other members were Professor Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, Disney Professor Emeritus of Archaeology, University of Cambridge and Ms Sally MacDonald, Director, UCL Museums and Collections. The Inquiry was conducted in two parts. The first part dealt with the provenance of the Aramaic bowls and the legal, ethical and professional implications arising from UCL’s possession of the bowls and is now subject to a confidentiality agreement between UCL and Mr Schøyen.

The second part of the Inquiry’s work involved examining the ethical and professional considerations raised; conducting a sample audit of relevant cultural objects and specimens entering UCL since 1970; making recommendations on the measures necessary for UCL to adopt in relation to material acquired or received by UCL in order to comply with the law and with ethical and professional standards, and with advising on how UCL might manifest ethical and professional leadership in this field. The full report can be downloaded here


This page last modified 16 December, 2009 by UCL Cultural Property

Image: Butterflies in the UCL Grant Museum of Zoology | link: UCL Grant Muaseum of Zoology

Image: Fossil fish in the UCL Geology Collection  | link: UCL Geology Collection

Image: Robert Liston's operating table in the UCL Medical Collection

Image: Silver tetradrachm from Athens in the UCL Archaeology Collections | link:  UCL Archaeology Collections

Image: Telescope in the UCL Galton Collection | link: UCL Galton Collection

Image: Fluorescence machine in the UCL Science Collection | link: UCL Science Collection





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