Forensic artists in Scotland have reconstructed the faces of two people from Edinburgh who lived around 700 years ago.
A team of two used skull fragments from the grounds of South Leith Parish Church in the north of the Scottish capital.
The skull fragments were digitally scanned to create a 3D virtual copy on computer software that the team used to reconstruct other lost parts of each skull.
This skeletal reconstruction enabled scientists to recreate facial features such as the size and shape of the nose and chin.
The facial reconstructions show a man and a woman who were both between 35 and 50 years old at the time of death, possibly as early as 1300.
Early forensic analysis suggests that the woman may have suffered from nutritional deficiencies.
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Facial reconstructions show what people who lived in Leith up to seven hundred years ago might have looked. Pictured the man who was between 35 and 50 years old at the time of death
Early forensic analysis suggests that the woman may have suffered from nutritional deficiencies
The amazing facial reconstructions were performed by Viviana Conti and Elysia Greenway – two forensic arts graduates from Dundee University.
They say more of their reconstructions, based on other remains of the South Leith Parish Church, will be made available to the public in the near future.
“We used Artec 3D scanners to digitize the skulls discovered in excavations outside of South Leith Parish Church,” Greenway said on her blog.
‘We digitized, analyzed and reconstructed several reconstructions. However, only a handful have currently been released to the public. In this area you will find more faces from our common past!
“The facial features such as the nose were estimated by reading the skeletal features and using various computational techniques.”
For the images, fine details such as hair, coloring and wrinkles have been added via Photoshop.
Greenway also ran the image of the man through MyHeritage’s deepfake tool to “bring the medieval individual to life.” The results are on her blog.
Edinburgh City Council archaeologist John Lawson told MailOnline that the two skulls used for the reconstructions are still in the process of forensic evaluation and are due for carbon-14 dating.
“However, from our 2008 excavations we know that burials will be between 1300 and 1650, although they are likely to be in the late 15th to 16th centuries,” he said.
The reconstruction of the man shown above includes the original scan based on the skull fragment
The skeletal remains were uncovered during the excavation of the 14th-17th century medieval cemetery as part of the “Tram to Newhaven” project, which will add another three miles to the Edinburgh tram line.
The excavations were carried out in front of the church on Constitution Street in Leith in the summer of 2020.
Earlier investigations at the site revealed that the church’s cemetery stretched across the street in the Middle Ages and graves survived beneath the current street surface.
The team of archaeologists worked to remove any human remains that might have been affected by the tram works.
In the end, they found remains of more than 360 people dating from 1300 to 1650, as well as the obvious remains of the original medieval cemetery wall.
The remains are now being examined and analyzed to provide information on the origins, health, diseases and diets of the people in medieval Leith, according to the University of Dundee.
Forensic art students Viviana Conti and Elysia Greenway used special 3D scanners to create digital versions of skulls discovered during excavations outside of South Leith Parish Church (pictured here).
“These images give us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people who lived in our city centuries ago,” said Councilor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Officer for Edinburgh City Council.
“The work now being carried out will not only shed light on the region’s past, but will also help preserve it for many years to come.”
The work was carried out as part of an ongoing internship with the Archaeological Service of the City of Edinburgh.
Conti and Greenway worked closely with project subcontractors GUARD Archeology to complete the work.
The couple also recorded two vlogs for the Trams to Newhaven YouTube account explaining the research methods.
The first vlog is embedded above while the second has just been released.
AI TOOL SEEMS TO BRING THE DECEASED BACK TO LIFE
Examples from MyHeritage show how historical figures like Queen Victoria, Mark Twain and Florence Nightingale are brought to life. The technician uses modern input to animate photos of the deceased
Genealogy website MyHeritage unveiled a bizarre new online tool in early 2021 that can be used to animate old photos of deceased family members.
The free deepfake technology called Deep Nostalgia takes every photo and animates the subject’s face – with strangely realistic and unsettling results.
Examples from MyHeritage show how historical figures like Queen Victoria, Mark Twain and Florence Nightingale are brought to life.
Deep Nostalgia was developed by researchers at Israel-based company D-ID, which specializes in re-enacting videos using deep learning.
Anyone can use the tool on the Deep Nostalgia website by uploading an image or dragging and dropping it. However, you will need a MyHeritage account to see the results.
Read more: MyHeritage’s deepfake tool animates photos of dead relatives and historical figures