MSc Forensic Art

Elysia Greenway

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An Archaeological facial reconstruction of a 4th Century woman from the Danube Delta.

Created for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions project, Women at the Edge of Empire: Female Social Identity in the Lower Danube in 4-6th Centuries AD (WAEE), this masters helps to examine female identity and the experiences of ordinary women living in this time period. Very little is known about the women in this context as it has previously only been examined from male and military perspectives. Additionally, contemporary accounts do not directly address women. The WAEE is addressing this uninvestigated gap, with the aim to increase the visibility of women and to present them as active participants in a plural society by “investigating the (trans)formation, (re)articulation and (re)construction of female identity.

This thesis helps to deliver these goals by outlining the Roman occupation of the Ancient Ulmentum Garrison, conducting an osteological analysis of female excavated from the site, with subsequent isotopic testing and finally reconstructing the face, clothes and grave goods of the Ulmentum woman, known as M16. Thus helping to explore and reconstruct female identity in the 4th Century Danube Delta.

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Image 1 - Final Reconstruction from frontal view.

Image 2 - CT scan slice, 3D mesh of skull and a line drawing of the skeleton in situ.

Image 3 - Degenerative joint disease of the glenohumeral and knee joints.

Image 4 - Tissue depth markers and building of the facial muscles, nose and lips.

Image 5 - Development of the reconstruction. The neck, glands, scalp, ears and textures.

Image 6 - Painting the reconstruction and insertion of hair.

Image 7 - Close up 3/4 view.

Image 8 - Close up of the replicated bronze fibulae brooch and costume.

Image 9 - Multiple views of the reconstruction.

Image 10 - Superimposition of the skull over the reconstruction (Note: there is lens distortion in this image).

Creating the reconstruction of M16 from the ancient Ulmentum site was challenging due to the number of different techniques, pandemic restrictions and the short timescale. M16’s skull was digitised and 3D printed for the facial reconstruction. The condition of the remains were good, although the skull was partially damaged on the occipital bone, rami of the maxilla and the zygomatic processes. An osteological and palaeopathological analysis was conducted. Isotopic analysis was conducted by the University of Southampton.


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