Neolithic FaceTime

Digs & Discoveries March/April 2017

(Top: © The Trustees of the British Museum; Above: © The Trustees of the British Museum. Photo by RN-DS partnership)

Forensic experts have reconstructed the face of a man who lived around 9,500 years ago in Jericho, near the Jordan River in the West Bank. The reconstruction was based on a micro-CT scan of his skull, which had been covered in plaster and has clamshells for eyes. Alexandra Fletcher of the British Museum, where the skull is housed, believes it and others like it were created as part of an ancestor cult.

The scan reveals that the skull belonged to a man who died after the age of 40 and had a broken nose that healed during his lifetime. In addition, his skull had been tightly bound from early infancy, changing its shape. “This person lived a very long time ago,” says Fletcher, “but he could go out shopping in London today, and nobody would turn a hair. He’s a modern human, just like you or me.”

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