On Friday, University of Athens researchers reconstructed the face of a teenage girl who lived in Greece during the Mesolithic period, some 9,000 years ago.
A team of archaeologists, with the help of an endocrinologist, orthopedist, neurologist, pathologist and radiologist, used sophisticated 3D modeling technology to reconstruct the facial features of the teenager, whose skull was discovered in the Theopetra cave of Thessaly, Greece.
The teenager, named “Avgi” by archaeologists, which is Greek for “Dawn,” is believed to have lived for around 18 years, based on an analysis of her bones and teeth by orthodontist Manolis Papagrigorakis. The circumstances surrounding Dawn’s death are unclear.
The teenager was named Dawn because she lived during a period believed to have been the “dawn of civilization,” during which humans in Greece and surrounding area converted from hunter gatherers to cultivators of their own food.
Dawn has prominent cheekbones, a dimpled chin, a furrowed brow, an angry expression and a protruding jaw thought to be caused by chewing on animal skin to make leather.
When asked about her scowling expression, Papagrigorakis joked that “It’s not possible for her not be to be angry during such an era.”
“Avgi has very unique, not especially female, skull, and features,” said Swedish archaeologist and sculptor Oscar Nilsson, who has reconstructed several ancient faces.
“Having reconstructed a lot of Stone Age women and men, I think some facial features seem to have disappeared or ‘smoothed out’ with time. In general, we look less masculine, both men and women, today,” he added.
The lengthy process of reconstructing Dawn’s face required first taking a CT scan of her skull and then using a 3D printer to create an identical replica of the scan’s measurements.
The next step is to attempt to recreate realistic facial flesh using pegs placed at marked points on the skull replica to determine the flesh thickness at various anatomical points.
“Onto this copy, pegs are glued, reflecting the thickness of the flesh at certain anatomical points of the face,” Nilsson explained, National Geographic reported.
While some of her features were reconstructed from skull measurements, others like her skin and eye color were predicted based on popular population features in the region during that period.
Dawn is currently on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.