Cutting-edge Technology Makes 9,500-year-old Face Come Alive

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January 8, 2017

He's a modern-looking fellow, even if he's nearly 10,000 years old. He is the so-called Jericho Skull, and cutting-edge technology has approximated what archaeologists think he looked like all those years ago.

The skull was decorated with plaster; archaeologists led by Kathleen Kenyon discovered it and seven others in 1953 in Jericho, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on the planet. The team still aren't sure why the skull was separate from the body; one theory is that the separation of head and body was part of a religious ritual. This particular skull had a flat clay base, like a pedestal, the eye sockets were filled with shell, and the rest of the skull was filled with soil.

Using a combination of X-rays and micro-CT scans, the scientists completed a facial reconstruction that would, the scientists say, not be out of place in a crowd of people today. The reconstruction is in stark contrast to the remains of the skull, as the images show.

The reconstruction took two years to complete, partly because the lower jaw was missing. The scans revealed a broken nose and broken and rotting teeth, and scientists were able to use the teeth to determine that the man was more than 40 when he died.

The reconstruction is now part of the British Museum exhibit.

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