Fascinating 3D scans of ancient skulls and skeletons show how Poles have changed over the centuries
How have Poles changed since their medieval ancestors ruled the land? Did Slavs wander into modern Poland or were they native to those territories?
A new project of 3D scanning human remains and making them digitally available along with ancient DNA aims to help answer these questions.
Until now the valuable collection of bones, numbering about 3,000 skulls and skeletal remains, has only been available to a small number of researchers from the University of Łódź.
Now, under a new project, the remains of 200 people will be digitized to make them available for further research.
“Thanks to the application of the most modern technology, namely 3D scanning, we are in a position to scan both skulls and other skeletal bones and create a digital model from them, which will be available to almost everybody with the click of a mouse,” project leader Błażej Marciniak from the University of Łódź’s Biobank Lab told PAP.
The project involves digitising and making available online the genetic resources accumulated by the lab and the University of Łódź’s Anthropological Faculty, which is also engaged in the project.
The result will be an information platform called ‘e-Czlowiek.pl’ featuring the 3D images along with digital records of genomes, or ancient DNA sequences, of 200 people who lived from the early middle ages until the 19th century in the vicinity of Brześć Kujawski in the northern Kujawsko-Pomorskie province.
One of the characteristics researchers are interested in is height. It is known that people living in the early middle ages were relatively tall, compared with Poles from the 1960s.
Then there was a clear reduction in height lasting until the 19th century. Researchers want to find whether the height changes were a condition of the environment, so-called living conditions.
“Because it’s known that how we feed, how much we eat, how often we’re ill in childhood – it all influences our final body height,” explained the project’s Professor Lorkiewicz. “Was it also conditioned genetically?”