Oscar Nilsson, a Swedish forensic artist, virtually reconstructed the face of a Stone Age man, whose jawless skull was found in 2012.
In 2012, Swedish archaeologists found a cemetery of people who may have lived about 8,000 years ago. There, they discovered 11 skulls that, according to the investigation, dated to the Stone Age. Only two of them had jaws.
Oscar Nilsson decided to make a reconstruction using the available genetic and anatomical data. The artist created a bust of a man about 50 years old, with blue eyes, brown hair, and pale skin, which surely belonged to a group of hunter-gatherers.
To recreate the face without damaging the skull, the specialist performed a computed tomography scan and printed a three-dimensional plastic replica.
Because there was no jaw, Nilsson relied on measurements of the skull to recreate it proportionately. He also used forensic methods to determine what muscles, skin and other facial features would look like.
To choose the man’s clothing and hairstyle, Nilsson was inspired by the remains of wild animals (brown bears, deer, wild boar, and elk) that were found at the site.
“He wears the skin from a wild boar. We can see from how the human skulls and animal jaws were found that they clearly meant a big deal in their cultural and religious beliefs,” Nilsson said.
The Stone Age man also has a 2.5 cm wound on his head. Because of signs of healing, the researchers concluded that the injury was not the cause of his death.
The white chalk paintings on the chest are an allusion to one of the best-known practices among people of the Stone Age. “It’s a reminder we cannot understand their aesthetic taste, just observe it. We have no reason to believe these people were less interested in their looks, and to express their individuality, than we are today,” Nilsson explained.
This new facial reconstruction provides a rare glimpse into humanity’s past.