News Focus7th World Congress On Mummy Studies

In the Hands of Mummy Experts, Ancient Faces Gain New Life

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Science  22 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6041, pp. 402-403
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6041.402

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When standing before the desiccated face of an ancient mummy, archaeologists and museum visitors alike often have the same question: What did this person look like in life? Experts in the art and science of facial reconstruction use a host of sophisticated techniques to find out, from stable isotope studies to hair analysis to computed tomography scans. At the meeting, researchers presented several outstanding examples, including a British boy from the 18th century and a warrior from the Amazonian rainforest who died more than 80 years ago.

  • * Heather Pringle is a contributing editor at Archaeology magazine.