Watch how Reverse Engineering Reconstructs Face of 9500-year-old Man

Technology
Watch how Reverse Engineering Reconstructs Face of 9500-year-old Man Plastered skull by virtusincertus with CC BY 2.0

Technology these days seems limitless, as illustrated by how an engineering marvel has reconstructed the face of a 9,500-year-old skull. The skull gives present-day humans an idea what pre-historic humans look like.

The ancient skull, called the Jericho Skull, has become the most important artifact displayed at the British Museum. Researchers have revealed that the skull was decorated and carefully prepared for a special ceremony thousands of years ago.

Neolithic Period Skull

According to the Museum, the skull dated back to the Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, roughly between 8,200 BC and 7,500 BC. There have been no definite answer as to why ancient people would revere that much, but researchers argued it is connected to cult practices at that time.

Although the cranium has lost some of its parts, especially on the facial area, museum curators molded it with plaster. Its left eye is made of the other half of a bivalve shell. On its left eye, an incomplete shell is placed.

The skull was unearthed by archaeologist Kathleen Mary Kenyon in Tell es-Sultan, near Jericho in 1953, hence the name. The following year, the British Museum bought the artifact from the British School of Archeology in Jerusalem.

Jericho is a city near the West Bank, particularly the Jordan River. It was mentioned in the Bible as the popular reference Wall of Jericho. The Israelites circled the wall for days while shouting for the walls to fall down.

Reverse Facial Reconstruction

But the reverse engineering procedure on the Jericho Skull did not go smoothly all the time. Most attempts from archaeologists to reconstruct the skull’s face proved futile, including some of Kenyon’s attempts, the National Geographic reported.

Not until 2009, when the team used micro-CT scan to create a model by visualizing human remains. The model became the starting point in creating the plaster to complete the skull, enough to be recognizable.

Scientists involved in the project likened the process to going back the neolithic period. The completed facial reconstruction of the Jericho Skull will be displayed as the main star in the Museum’s exhibit called “”Creating an ancestor: the Jericho Skull” on February 19, 2017.

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