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 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)

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.

You may also interested in

Indonesia police say policeman killed in Papua...

Nov 15, 2017

Indonesian police say gunmen shot and killed a police officer in the latest attack by separatists...

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...

Indonesia politician's graft trial delayed by...

Dec 13, 2017

A top Indonesian politician accused of involvement in one of the country's biggest corruption...

Indonesia seizes yacht wanted by US in probe of...

Feb 28, 2018

Indonesia has seized a luxury yacht on the tourist island of Bali that is wanted by U.S....

Indonesia faces challenge to seizure of yacht...

Mar 19, 2018

Indonesian police say a luxury yacht seized as part of a U.S. probe into the alleged...