Back From the Dead: Archaeologists Reconstruct Face of Medieval Man Who Died 700 Years Ago
Reconstructive technology has allowed archeologists to restructure the face of a medieval man known only as Context 958.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the man died sometime in the 1200s and was buried in an expansive graveyard behind the Old Divinity School of St. John's College at Cambridge where he spent his last days.
He was only one of the more than 400 remains unearthed by scientists since they have discovered the graveyard underneath the hospital.
The reconstruction of Context 958 is part of a collaborative effort between Cambridge University's Division of Archaeology and the University of Dundee's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. They are currently working on a project which aims to shed light on the lives of "normal" people who have lived in the Medieval Age.
"Context 958 was probably an inmate of the Hospital of St John, a charitable institution which provided food and a place to live for a dozen or so indigent townspeople -- some of whom were probably ill, some of whom were aged or poor and couldn't live alone," said Professor John Robb from the University's Division of Archaeology in a statement.
By analyzing his bones and teeth, the experts said Context 958 died when he was about 40 years old. Gizmodo notes that the experts also detected tears on his bones which means he likely spent his days physically working hard. His teeth suggests he lived in hunger during his early days.
"His lower face is very masculine. He's got quite a feminine eyebrow and forehead. Having that mix of hyper-male and almost androgynous within the same skull is quite unusual. He looks quite pleasant," Chris Rynn, a lecturer at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee who operated on the unbelievable reconstruction, told The Guardian.
After the DNA analysis, Rynn will work on the details of his face, like the color of his eyes and hair. The researchers also found something unusual about Context 958 -- his skeleton was found lying face down.
The facial reconstruction was revealed last week during a Science festival talk at St. John's College.