News FocusInterview: Stephen Lekson

Giving Back the Bones

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Science  08 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6001, pp. 166
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6001.166-b

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For an archaeologist, the job of removing objects from museums and returning them to Native Americans can be by turns stressful, saddening, and rewarding. In the past 6 years, Stephen Lekson, curator of anthropology at the University of Colorado's Museum of Natural History in Boulder, has overseen the repatriation of 553 human remains and 800 funerary objects to southwestern tribes, mostly Puebloan descendants. He shared his thoughts about repatriation in an interview for Science with New York writer Keith Kloor; the conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.