>> These treasures plundered by British troops could soon be returned to Ethiopia. London's Victoria and Albert Museum has put them on display to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Magdala, when British expeditionary troops ransacked the Emperor's fortress. It took 200 mules and 15 camels to carry their loot of sacred manuscripts and royal gold.
Emperor Tewodros II killed himself. I'm Reuters Lucy Fielder at the Victoria and Albert, one of London's great museums established at the height of the British Empire. It's got more than two million objects from all over the world, but its latest display is sparkling a discussion about what to do with some of that heritage.
Now the V&A, one of several museums that holds Magdala artefacts, is in talks with Ethiopia about their future. A long term loan is one option on the table.>> But as we look to the future, I think what we're interested in are partnerships around conservation, interpretation, heritage management.
And these need to be supported by government assistance, so that institutions like the V&A can support sister institutions in Ethiopia.>> That's welcome, says Ethiopia's ambassador, but why not just give them back.>> I don't think Ethiopians will settle for a loan. The exhibition is very important in the sense that people will know they are here, and that they've not been on display.
But I don't think that will be the end of campaigns.>> Another former seat of empire, France, sparked a debate in March. President Emmanuel Macron said African heritage shouldn't be held prisoner in European museums and appointed two experts to explore repatriation. Hunt said that approach assumed guilt, and that the V&A would examine claims case by case.
And there's little change concerning London's other contested objects, such as the Elgin marbles from the Athens Parthenon, which are housed in the British Museum.