MSc Forensic Art & Facial Identification

Claudia Pitcher

Over the majority of the last 400,000 years, Neanderthals lived and thrived on the same areas of land that we walk on today. The Old Man of La Chapelle has now been brought back to life for another time by creating a digital craniofacial reconstruction. Using digital software allows a comparison between the skull and the soft tissue to be continuously undertaken. Consequently, this leaves less room for error than when a physical reconstruction takes place. The discovery of the Old Man of La Chapelle has been an important piece of history, because he is one of the major finds that suggests that Neanderthals might have had burials. He also suffered from osteoarthritis which, when shown in a previous reconstruction, is thought to have pioneered past impressions of Neanderthals - that they were less human and more like apes with hunched shoulders and brutish characteristics. This view has now been invalidated by new advances in technology through studying Neanderthal DNA, the possibilities of speech, and the sophisticated way they built their tools to hunt and survive. This exhibition shows the final 3D textured digital reconstruction and the process of how it was made in order to show the nature and essence of this historic Neanderthal man.

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MSc Forensic Art & Facial Identification

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