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27 February 2007
Prehistoric Sicilian woman gets face

The face of a late Stone Age woman who lived in Sicily (Italy) has been reconstructed by a sculptor working with anthropologists at Palermo University. The skeleton of the woman, who lived 14,000 years ago, was discovered in a cave near Messina in 1937, along with the incomplete skeletons of six other humans, presumably her family.
     The face was reproduced using reconstruction techniques that calculate the appearance of features from the form of the cranium. The same techniques have been used recently to recreate the faces of Egyptian pharaohs and Italy's own Count Ugolino, a 13th-century Tuscan noble whose bones were found in 2001. Artistic licence was used when deciding to give the ancient Sicilian the same black hair common in modern women from southern Italy.
     Thea, as she has been nicknamed, spent most of her life hunting, or gathering fruit and plants. At 165 cm, she was tall for her time. Experts estimate that when she died she was about 30, much older than the normal life expectancy in the late Stone Age. "This means that she must have had a healthy and regular lifestyle," said Valerio Agnesi, director of the 'Gemmellaro' museum where the face, along with a recreation of her cave environment, is now on display.

Source: ANSA (27 february 2007)

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