Publication details

The woman from the Dolní Věstonice 3 burial: a new view of the face using modern technologies



Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Upper Palaeolithic, Burial Paleopathology, Facial reconstruction, Moravia
Description South Moravia (Czech Republic) has provided numerous Upper Palaeolithic—Gravettian sites (33–22 kyr BP) with a great deal of human skeletal remains. One such site is the well-known burial of a gracile, 36- to 45-year-old female, found in Dolní Věstonice I in 1949. Palaeopathological examination of the female’s skull showed extensive pathological damage with significant asymmetry of the facial area as a result of a traumatic injury in childhood. The goal of this article is to summarise all information and make a virtual reconstruction of the original skull including a facial reconstruction. The condition of the skull from grave DV 3 was generally very poor and fragmentary; it was restored in the 1950s. We used computer tomography (CT) analysis and a 3D scan of the skull. For the 3D reconstruction of the face, we used a method based on prediction rules by G. Lebedinskaya. The results of the new CT analysis confirm an irregular formation of the braincase. For the first time, we can compare the original state of the skull with the reconstruction. On the basis of the results of artistic facial reconstruction, we can present the “real” face of a woman who is 25,000–27,000 years old. This combination of CT and 3D data allowed us to create a new 3D virtual model. Though the facial reconstruction took into account the post-traumatic condition of the woman’s face and the asymmetry of the bones is obvious, the degree of asymmetry is subjective.

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