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The face of a young Greek woman who died 9,000 years ago has been fully reconstructed

Credits: Oscar Nilsson

Using advanced modern technologies, a team of researchers have succeeded in precisely reconstructing the face of a Greek adolescent who died 9,000 years ago. The meticulous process reveals how our facial features have changed over the course of the millennia. 

The young woman, thought to have been 18 years old when she died, has been named Avgi by the researchers. The name means “dawn”, in reference to the era in which she lived, around 7,000 years before Christ. This period corresponded with the Mesolithic age, when humanity moved from being hunters to being farmers.

Reconstructing Avgi’s face with precision was made possible through studying her skull, discovered in 1993 at the bottom of the Theopetra cave, an archaeological site in central Greece. During the past week, her face was revealed in the Acropole Museum by Athens researchers -a hard face with strong features.

In order to reconstruct the face, the team was composed of an endocrinologist, an orthopedist, a neurologist, a pathologist, a radiologist and an archaeologist. They used a 3D printer to create an exact replica of the skull, and they then had to reconstruct the muscles one by one. As regards the hair and the skin colour, the researchers based them on the typical characteristics of the population at the time. Oscar Nilsson, the Swedish archeologist on the team, explained to the National Geographic:

It is interesting to see the advanced technologies and new techniques that are now at our disposition, which allow us to know much more about the faces and appearances of the people who lived on earth thousands of years ago.