Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Books: Here's Looking at You Volume 51 Number 4, July/August 1998
by Wijnand Van Der Sandan

[image] As a first step in reconstructing the face of Yde Girl, an Iron Age bog body, Richard Neave inserts pegs marking the depth of tissue into a model of the skull created based on CT-scans. (Courtesy Wijnand Van Der Sanden) [LARGER IMAGE]

John Prag, keeper of archaeology at the Manchester Museum, and Richard Neave, artist in medicine and life sciences at the University of Manchester, have spent more than 20 years reconstructing faces from complete and incomplete skulls found in archaeological excavations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Making Faces presents the results of their long collaboration with anthropologists, pathologists, facial surgeons, and other specialists. Far from being a dull manual for forensic anthropologists, this book is an inspiring, personal, and honest account of the authors' struggle to "put flesh" on the bones of ancient people, from anonymous bog bodies like Lindow Man and Yde Girl to the rulers of the ancient world, such as Philip II of Macedon, King Midas, and a Carian "princess" who may well be Ada I, adoptive mother of Alexander the Great. Along the way, the book touches on subjects as diverse as the muscles of the head, DNA analysis, classical portraiture, ancient medical texts, Etruscan burial customs, and the ethics of exhibiting human remains.

[image]Left, stages in the reconstruction of Yde Girl's face: initial layers of deep muscles and clay model nearing completion [LARGER IMAGE] (Courtesy Wijnand Van Der Sanden)[image]

Making Faces
John Prag and Richard Neave
256 pages. College Station:
Texas A&M University Press, 1997.
$39.95. ISBN 0-89096-784-9

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Wijnand Van Der Sandan, Drenthe, Netherlands, provincial archaeologist, is author of Through Nature to Eternity: The Bog Bodies of Northwest Europe.

© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America