Plants and Animals

Face of Stone Age Woman Reconstructed With 4,000-Year-Old Skull Found In Sweden

Face of Stone Age Woman Reconstructed With 4,000-Year-Old Skull Found In Sweden

A 4,000-year-old skull discovered in a stone-lined burial deep in the Swedish woodlands has aided in the reconstruction of a Stone Age woman’s face. Oscar Nilsson, an archeologist recognized for employing forensic technology to bring ancient faces back to life using the delicate curvatures and contours discovered on their skulls, just completed the reconstruction.

His recreation is based on a 3D model of a skull discovered in Västernorrland, western Sweden, in the early 1920s. Archeologists discovered a stone coffin holding two 4,000-year-old remains during the building of a road: one belonging to a lady in her mid-twenties and the other to a seven-year-old youngster. The duo was assumed to be mother and son, or maybe sister and brother, but nothing is known about their connection or how they died.

Few other graves like these have ever been discovered in this region of Sweden, so archeologists were inspired to piece together how these individuals used to appear. Unfortunately, the boy’s skull was too badly damaged to be rebuilt, but the woman’s was wonderfully undamaged. The teeth were examined extensively in order to better comprehend her jaw and mouth structure. In the eye socket, there was also a ligament attachment that indicated the inclination of the eye and the depth of the eyes.

Many of these traits, however, are up to interpretation because muscle and fat influence face features, which have obviously not survived well under 4,000 years of severe Swedish weather. Nilsson mapped the model skull using pegs to indicate tissue depth and then meticulously placed layer upon layer of materials to reproduce the look of muscle to create the form of the face. Because the DNA was too damaged to make an exact assessment, the artist was obliged to assume the hair, complexion, and eye color. Clothes, being formed of organic material that has deteriorated through time, are likewise an interpretation. 

Nonetheless, because of previous archeological finds, the researchers have a solid picture of what individuals wore at this period. Helena Gjaerum, a tanner and craftswoman, made all of the woman’s garments and accessories from scratch using Stone Age techniques and materials. If you want to view this Stone Age lady for yourself, the reconstruction was put on display earlier this year at Västernorrland’s museum in Sweden for the public to see, along with a wealth of information on how Nilsson and Gjaerum built this magnificent piece.