Skulls in the mail: Indonesia foils artifact smuggling

Indonesian custom officers display skulls and sent from a post office during a press conference in Bali, Indonesia, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Customs officials on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali say they’ve foiled an attempt to mail 24 elaborately decorated human skulls to the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Indonesian custom display skulls and sent from a post office during a press conference in Bali, Indonesia, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Customs officials on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali say they’ve foiled an attempt to mail 24 elaborately decorated human skulls to the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
An Indonesian custom officer display skulls and sent from a post office during a press conference in Bali, Indonesia, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Customs officials on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali say they’ve foiled an attempt to mail 24 elaborately decorated human skulls to the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Indonesian custom officers display skulls and sent from a post office during a press conference in Bali, Indonesia, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Customs officials on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali say they’ve foiled an attempt to mail 24 elaborately decorated human skulls to the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

BALI, Indonesia — Customs officials on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali said Friday that they've foiled an attempt to mail 24 elaborately decorated human skulls to the Netherlands.

The Customs Department said that cartons containing the skulls were intercepted on two separate dates in January. The skulls are believed to be culturally-significant artifacts from other parts of Indonesia.

They were labeled as manufactured from synthetic materials but found to be human after being examined by experts from the Balinese Cultural Heritage Conservation Center.

Customs official Ni Aniek said the skulls are probably from Papua, a Melanesian region that makes up easternmost Indonesia, and Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, home to indigenous Dayak peoples.

No one has been arrested.

The department said the cultural heritage center will decide what to do with the skulls.

People also read these

Freeport to cut stake in Indonesia mine after...

Aug 29, 2017

Indonesia is allowing Freeport-McMoRan to continue operating a giant gold and copper mine after the...

Top Indonesia judge gets 8 years in prison for...

Sep 4, 2017

Indonesia's corruption court has sentenced one of the country's top judges to eight years in prison...

The Latest: Flights trickle from Bali after...

Nov 30, 2017

Bali's airport is operating at far from its usual capacity after reopening while ash from the Mount...

Stranded in Bali tourists lampooned online for...

Dec 1, 2017

Australian tourists who complained about being stranded on tropical Bali when volcanic ash closed...

Pulp giant stirs new conflicts with Indonesian...

Dec 21, 2017

Less than five years after it pledged to end dozens of disputes over land and gain local consent...