Scientists recreate faces from Upper Lusatia using 400-year-old skulls found in graves
Extraordinary digital images of a young woman and a young man are being exhibited in Poland after research conducted on human skulls found in an early medieval stronghold.
The appearance of the former inhabitants of Upper Lusatia - - a historical land located on what is today both sides of the Polish-German border - was reconstructed by anthropologists, archaeologists and visual artists.
The images are on show as part of an exhibition showcasing the work of a Polish-German scientific and educational project “1,000 years of Upper Lusatia - people, towns, cities” at the Municipal Museum in Budziszyn.
Three reconstructions were made by a team headed by prof. Barbara Kwiatkowska from the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław (UPWr) in cooperation with visual artists from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław.
Two male skulls and one female skull were found in Göda in western Saxony.
The older man's appearance was recreated in the form of a full-bodied realistic bust.
Dr. Paweł Konczewski, an archaeologist from the UPWr said: "Radiocarbon dating of human remains showed that the cemetery in the courtyard of the stronghold functioned between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 17th century, that is, at the time when the stronghold had already been abandoned.”
After its discovery almost a century ago, it was thought that the burials dated back to the early Middle Ages, which was why they were included in the team’s 1,000-year-old Polish-German border research project.
“It turned out that these graves are much younger than previously thought,” Konczewski said. “It is another example that it is worth re-analysing past archaeological discoveries with the use of modern research tools.”
The majority of Upper Lusatia (in German - Oberlausitz) belongs to the German state of Saxony, comprising the Bautzen and Görlitz districts.
The Polish part, east of the Neisse (Nysa) River, is part of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship. The largest city in the region is Görlitz/Zgorzelec, shared between Germany and Poland since 1945.
The name Lusatia superior was first recorded in a 1474 deed.