Archaeologists were able to reconstruct the face of a man who lived approximately 700 years ago. Researchers developed this project to reveal insights into the unknown populations which lived in the medieval city. This man, named by researchers Context 958, was one of the hundreds of skeletons which were unearthed in a graveyard under the Old Divinity School of St John’s College.
- Archaeologists unearthed hundreds of medieval people skeletons under the Old Divinity School of St John’s College.
- Dr. Chirs Rynn decided to reconstruct the face of a man who lived 700 years ago.
- He used the same technique used by the police when trying to determine the face of a decomposed body.
This cemetery was once near a hospital, being attached to an independent charitable foundation for poor people dating back to somewhere between 1200 and 1500. This is one of the biggest medieval hospital cemeteries ever discovered in Britain. Archaeologists are still searching for new data on the populations which lived there, especially those about whom there is little evidence.
Prof. John Robb, a professor at the department of archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University, argued that researchers do not have too much information regarding ordinary poor medieval residents and their lifestyles. Their work has focused on celebrity bodies or upper middle classes. Nevertheless, studying the skeletons of the poor masses might reveal lots of new data which could not have been learned from written records.
The skeletons which were uncovered beneath St John’s were adults, probably including poor laborers and scholars. Dr. Chris Rynn, a lecturer at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee, was the one who developed the facial reconstruction. The doctor used forensic techniques to approximate the structure of the face, the facial anatomy and the depths of the tissue.
These techniques are also used whenever the police want to determine the face of a decomposed body. Rynn argued that the texture of the skin might be subjective. However, the shape of the face is scientific and anatomical. Rynn also stated that he needed to check the records and see what those people wore or what hair style they had back then.
After Rynn had analyzed the DNA data, he was able to establish the color of the man’s hair and eyes. He asserted that the lower face of this man was very masculine, but he had a feminine forehead and eyebrows. Rynn stated that it is a bit unusual to have this kind of a mix between an androgynous look and a masculine lower face within the same face.
The advancement of technology and medicine surprises us more and more each day, making possible the reconstruction of the face of a man who lived more than 700 years ago. Isn’t science amazing?
Image courtesy of: wikipedia