Three scientists from the University of Bradford (United Kingdom) presented particularly realistic 3D facial reconstructions on Friday at a conference, reports LiveScience.

It is about a young woman and two clergymen who lived in the south of Scotland between the 12th and 14th centuries.

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These reconstructions were based on their skeletons, which were found in 1957 in the ruins of Whithorn Priory in Dumfries and Galloway.

On the occasion of this project organized by the charitable organization The Whithorn Trust which manages the old monastery, the three skulls of the skeletons were loaned by the national museums of Scotland and the Dumfries and Galloway Council.

One of three identified skeletons

New technologies and older techniques were then combined to achieve this result.

As detailed by Christopher Rynn, a forensic anthropologist based in Scotland, it was first necessary to create a 3D scan of each skull.

"As for the muscles, I sculpted them in wax and then 3D scanned them the same way the skull was scanned," he told LiveScience.

Then, to create the texture of the skin, the scientists used photos of people resembling the three-dimensional model.

If this work made it possible to better visualize what people looked like at that time, it will also serve to understand more in depth the life of the three deceased.

The analysis of the woman's skeleton would thus confirm that she would be of high rank.

This is also the case of one of the two ecclesiastics, who has been identified as Bishop Walter, responsible for leading the community of Whithorn in 1209. More generally, this study will serve to better understand life at the era in this region known to be the cradle of Christianity in Scotland.


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  • Science

  • Scotland

  • middle ages

  • 3d

  • Archeology