The Face Of A Man Who Died 700 Years Ago has been Reconstructed by Archaeologists
Reconstructive technology has allowed archaeologists to bring the face of a British man who died about 700 years ago back to life, CBS News reports.
The medieval man was buried along with hundreds of others in a graveyard underneath what is now the Old Divinity School building of St. John’s College at the University of Cambridge in the England.By studying his remains and piecing together his facial features and biological history, archeologists said they hope to understand the lives of anonymous poor people in the 13th century.
Lead researcher John Robb, a professor of archaeology at the University of Cambridge, issued a statement on the findings.
Most of the skeletons found beneath St. John’s were those of impoverished adults. Their burials ranged from the 13th to 15th centuries, when the graveyard was attached to a hospital and charitable foundation for the poor and infirm, the researchers said.
Scientists chose the skeleton of one man, dubbed Context 958, to study in more detail. Measuring the man’s pelvic bones helped the archaeologists to conclude that the man was more than 40 years old when he died. Analyzing the jaw, cheekbones and skull also helped the researchers estimate Context 958’s facial structure.
And peering into his backbone revealed that he had participated in hard labor, leading to herniated vertebrae and possible chronic back pain.
While the team couldn’t tell exactly what the man’s profession had been, or what ultimately led to his demise, the skeletal clues and sparse grave suggest that Context 958 was a laborer or craftsman of some sort, the researchers said.
“One interesting feature is that he had a diet relatively rich in meat or fish, which may suggest that he was in a trade or job, which gave him more access to these foods than a poor person might have normally had,” Robb said.
“He had fallen on hard times, perhaps through illness, limiting his ability to continue working or through not having a family network to take care of him in his poverty.”
Evidence of blunt-force trauma that left a small dent in the back of Context 958’s head, and tooth decay that wiped out multiple molars, also provide clues that the man likely had a tough life.