The stunning 3D face of ‘jawless’ Stone Age man whose head was found on a SPIKE revealed
It is likely that the world never understands why the head of the man from Stone Age is on a stake and tossed into an underwater grave, but now it will see his face.
The technology of 3D face reconstruction was used by a forensic artist to put together the features on an 8,000-year-old jawless skull to depict one individual with a pointy nose, a broad stir, and a long beard. The facial muscles and skin were formed using different factors such as the man’s weight, height, and ethnicity.
The skull was one of at least 12, including an infant, found in what was once a prehistoric lake in Sweden and experts believe the group may have been murdered during an ancient ritual.
In a note, Nilsson said to DailyMail.com: ‘ I rebuilt the face with a forensic reconstruction technique based on the expected depth of tissue of several anatomic landmarks of the skull alongside the rebuilding of the facial muscles. ‘
‘There are also reliable techniques to reconstruct specific parts of the face: the nose, the eyes and the mouth, from information and traces on the skull.’
The original findings, from researchers at Stockholm University and Sweden’s Cultural Heritage Foundation (CHF) in 2018, is the first evidence that Stone Age hunter-gatherers displayed heads on wooden spikes.
‘Here, we have an example of a very complex ritual, which is very structured,’ lead researcher Dr Fredrik Hallgren, from CHF, told Daily Mail.
‘Even though we can’t decipher the meaning of the ritual, we can still appreciate the complexity of it, of these prehistoric hunter-gatherers.’
Why this man, and the others, met such a horrific death may stay a mystery, but Oscar Nilsson, a Sweden-based forensic artist, has shown us what the ancient victim looked like.
‘The Stone Age, and the Mesolithic period, is absolutely a favorite period for me. However these individuals from the Mesolithic genetically are so alike us today, the culture, the way they saw their world yet are so different from our understanding, beliefs, and values. So alike, but so distant,’ explained Nilsson.
‘Moreover, the finding from Motala is so special: the skulls of 10 individuals were placed on wooden poles, just above the ancient lakes´surface.
‘Furthermore, they all had several healed traumas from violence. Stone Age was violent, but this is something else, one can almost suspect that the violence was ritual. Unusually frequent anyway.’
Also, his DNA was so well preserved that it was possible to get information on the colors of hair, eyes, and skin. Nilsson took a computer tomography scan of the skull and printed a 3D replica in vinyl plastic, Daily Mail reported.
Because the jaw was missing from the skull, he had to take a measurement of where it once was in order to reconstruct it. Although there is no evidence of what the man wore, Nilsson made choices on the wardrobe and haircut based on items found in the grave.
Archaeologists uncovered remains from a range of animals including brown bears, wild boars, red deer, moose, and roe deer. The man’s hair was reconstructed to be short with a longer portion pulled back in a small ponytail.
Meanwhile, the white chalk decorating the man’s chest is a piece of artistic license, based on the fact that many Indigenous groups today use chalk for body paint, Nilsson said.
‘It’s a reminder we cannot understand their aesthetic taste, just observe it.’ We have no reason to believe these people were less interested in their looks, and to express their individuality than we are today.’
Researchers uncovered the man’s skull, along with the 12 others, in 2018. Seven of the adults likely died in agony and had suffered serious trauma to their head before they died, which researchers suggest were the result of non-lethal, violent blows.
These may have been the result of interpersonal violence, forced abduction, warfare, and aids of socially-sanctioned violence between group members. The bodies were placed atop a densely packed layer of large stones in what would have been an elaborate underwater burial between 7,500 and 8,500 years ago.
Only one of the bodies still had a jawbone when it was buried, which experts suggest were removed as part of the burial ritual.