How Welsh Scientists Rebuilt This Iron Age Man and Turned Him into Henson

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

How Welsh Scientists Rebuilt This Iron Age Man and Turned Him into Henson


Byline: By MADELEINE BRINDLEY Western Mail

The face of an Iron Age man killed more than 2,300 years ago has been brought back to life by Welsh experts. Using the latest technology, the Welsh team was able to reconstruct the head of the murdered man, known as Clonycavan Man. The discovery of Clonycavan Man had already hit the headlines last week when it was found that, 23 centuries before Gavin Henson took to the rugby pitch with a gelled upswept look, the Iron Age man found in an Irish peat mine sported a similar look. Ned Kelly, head of antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, said, 'The man appeared to attempt to give himself greater stature with the hair gel, which was a resin imported from France.'

Now Clonycavan's 3D model, which includes that hair and eyes too, will be featured in the first programme of the new BBC2 Timewatch series, to be broadcast on Friday..

The programme follows the uncovering of the well-preserved human remains near Dublin, in February 2003, to the reconstruction by the Cardiff-based National Centre for Product Design and Development Research.

The team used the same process to reconstruct Clonycavan Man's face as it has used to complete similar reconstructions, including building the face of an Egyptian mummy.

Dominic Eggbeer, a research assistant, said, 'We were able to build a physical model based on a digital reconstruction of the face, which could then be painted by hand.

'To me, when the face emerged from the machine, he looked like he could have been someone living today.

'I couldn't really tell the difference between a man of today and a person who last lived 2,300 years ago. He looked just like modern man.'

The reconstructed head will eventually be housed in the National Museum of Ireland, as part of an exhibit devoted to Clony- cavan Man and the remains of a second Iron Age man - Old Croghan Man - who was discovered 25 miles away just months later.

Even though the bodies were not complete - Old Croghan Man is just a decapitated torso - the remains were so well preserved, the finger prints were clearly visible.

One expert said the quality of Old Croghan Man's fingerprints were as good as those you would expect to find on a body which was only a few days old. …

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