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Bali -Two Attempts to Smuggle Human Skulls Intercepted by Customs Officials

Customs officials in Bali said on Friday, February 9th, that they have intercepted two separate attempts to smuggle 24 decorated human skulls from Indonesia to the Netherlands, as reported by Daily Mail

On two separate dates in January this year, the Customs Department has found cartons containing these skulls, labelled as manufactured from synthetic materials. However, after inspection by the Balinese Cultural Heritage Conservation Centre, experts have found these skulls as human.

They are believed to be culturally-significant artefacts made by an indigenous population in Indonesia. Customs official Ni Aniek said they most likely come from the islands of Papua or Borneo, home to indigenous Dayak people. The Dayak people were known as ‘headhunters’ and preserved the skulls of their victims, as they believed these heads are a source of life.

So far, no one has been arrested in connection to the attempted smuggling of these skulls.

The Customs Department said the Balinese Cultural Conservation Center will decide what to do with these artefacts.

Photos courtesy of

To read more about the Indonesian Customs Department’s other successes, click here.

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