The Jericho Skull

See the steps researchers took to reconstruct the face of the man inside the 9,500-year-old Jericho Skull.

Researchers have reverse-engineered the ancient ritual practice that created one of the British Museum's most important artifacts—the Jericho Skull—revealing the face of a man whose remains were decorated and venerated some 9,500 years ago.

The Jericho Skull is also considered the oldest portrait in the museum's collection, and, until recently, its most enigmatic: a truncated human skull covered in worn plaster, with eye sockets set with simple sea shells that stare out blindly from its display case.

Now, thanks to digital imaging, 3-D printing, and forensic reconstruction techniques, specialists have recreated the face of the individual inside the Jericho Skull—and it turns out to belong to a 40-something man with a broken nose.

The Jericho Skull is one of seven plastered and

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