10,000-year-old face reconstructed

Published 20 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The face was recreated by the sculptor Oscar Nilsson.

The Bredgård Man died almost 10,000 years ago and his skeleton is one of the oldest found in Sweden. Now his face has been reconstructed using modern technology.

The man’s remains were discovered in Västergötland in the 1990s and are unique because the entire skull is preserved. DNA analysis has shown that the man was a mixture of southern and eastern hunters who came to Scandinavia about 11,000 years ago.

Using modern technology, sculptor Oscar Nilsson was able to recreate the Bredgård Man’s face.

– It is breathtaking. Sweden’s oldest face gives you goosebumps, he says in SVT’s tax-funded series Vetenskapens värld: Vetenskapen bakom Historien om Sverige.

Oscar Nilsson worked with a 3D-scanned copy of the skull and reconstructed the face muscle by muscle. Bredgårdsmannen is described as having a very masculine appearance with broad cheekbones, a square lower jaw and large muscle attachments in the neck.

– I can see where the muscle attachments were and it leaves small reliefs on the skeleton, says Nilsson.

Two hunting groups

What was unique, however, was that the temporal muscle attachments were located high on the head. In modern humans, they are traditionally located lower on the skull.

– I have never seen this before, says the sculptor.

Modern technology has shown that the southern hunters were probably slightly darker skinned but had blue eyes, while the eastern hunters were probably lighter skinned but had more varied eye colors. The analysis shows that the man had blue eyes, light hair, and a skin color that was probably the result of a mixture of the two origins.

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