Dr Hilary Howes

DipML (German) (Melb.), BSc (Melb.), BA (Hons) (Melb.), MA (HPS) (Melb.), PhD (ANU)
ARC DECRA Fellow, Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies 200201
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History 210301
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Repatriation 450114
  • Critical Heritage, Museum And Archive Studies 430202
  • European History (Excl. British, Classical Greek And Roman) 210307
  • German Language 200307
  • History And Philosophy Of Science (Incl. Non Historical Philosophy Of Science) 220206
  • Pacific Cultural Studies 200210
  • Pacific History (Excl. New Zealand And Maori) 210313
  • Pacific Peoples Repatriation 451316
  • Te Whakahoki Taonga A Te Maori Ki Te Kainga (Maori Repatriation) 450719


I am an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA Fellow based in the Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies at The Australian National University (ANU). My current project, "Skulls for the Tsar: Indigenous human remains in the collections of Imperial Russia", aims to produce the first detailed investigation of the acquisition of Indigenous human remains from Australia, New Zealand and the broader Pacific by the Russian Empire during the long 19th century. My research to date addresses the German-language tradition within anthropology, archaeology and ethnology in Australia and the Pacific region.

I hold a PhD in History, completed in 2011 in the School of Culture, History and Language at ANU, as well as a Master of Arts in History and Philosophy of Science, a Bachelor of Arts (Degree with Honours), a Bachelor of Science, and a Diploma in Modern Languages (German), all from the University of Melbourne. From 2011 to 2015 I was employed as Executive Assistant to the Ambassador at the Australian Embassy in Berlin, where my responsibilities included bilateral research collaboration and the repatriation of Australian Indigenous ancestral remains from German collecting institutions.

Current student projects


Against the Tide: A Biography of Dr. Marie Olive Reay

Past student projects

Erin Gates - a biography of Dr Marie Olive Reay

Michelle Richards - the ongoing contribution of Pacific museum collections to archaeology

Eve Haddow - missionaries and archaeology in Oceania

Victor Melander - Thor Heyerdahl as Pacific archaeologist

Joanna Barrkman - the significance of ethnographic museum collections for source communities today


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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers