Forensics Put a Face to a Stone Age Boy’s Remains

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The face of a teenager who died 7,500 years ago has been brought back to life through methods that combine forensics and art, the University of Stavanger in Norway announced yesterday. The remains of the Viste Boy—so named because he lived in Norway’s Vistehola cave—were discovered in 1907 and represent the most complete Stone Age skeleton ever found in the country. Jenny Barber, who performed the reconstruction, said she thinks it’s so accurate that people who knew the youth might be able to recognize him in her model.

In law enforcement, forensic artists use drawing, digital imaging and skeletal analysis to recreate crime scenes and identify victims. As technology improves, these tools have become increasingly beneficial for researchers seeking to offer a glimpse at our earliest ancestors. That’s what Barber, a forensic art student at the University of Dundee in Scotland, hoped to accomplish when she began examining the Viste Boy’s brittle and fragmented skull.

“The goal has been to create something as similar as possible to the original,” Barber explained. “That’s what facial reconstruction is all about—identification and recognition of a unique person.”...

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