Mesolithic Greece: Face of 9,000-Year-Old Teenager Reconstructed

Jovialis

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Mesolithic Teenager 7000 BC

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Child Greek girl from 5th century BC Athens.

If these are accurate depictions, than I certainly agree with the reconstruction artist, that hard features disappeared overtime, in favor of smoother ones.

The meticulous process, based on a skull from a Greek cave, reveals how our facial features have changed over the millennia.

Her name is Avgi, and the last time anyone saw her face was nearly 9,000 years ago. When she lived in Greece, at the end of the Mesolithic period around 7000 B.C., the region was transitioning from a society of hunter gatherers to one that began cultivating its own food.

In English, Avgi translates to Dawn—a name archaeologists chose because she lived during what's considered the dawn of civilization.

Little is known about how she lived and died, but now archaeologists can see the ancient woman's prominent cheekbones, heavy brow, and dimpled chin.

Avgi's face was revealed by University of Athens researchers at an event at the Acropolis Museum on Friday.

To reconstruct her face was no small feat. An endocrinologist, orthopedist, neurologist, pathologist, and radiologist were all needed to accurately reconstruct what Avgi would have looked like. The reconstruction team was led by orthodontist Manolis Papagrigorakis, who noted at the museum event that while Avgi's bones appeared to belong to a 15-year-old-woman, her teeth indicated she was 18, "give or take a year," said Papagrigorakis.

In addition to the team of doctors, the university worked with Oscar Nilsson, a Swedish archaeologist and sculptor who specializes in reconstructions. He's worked on bringing so many ancient faces back to life that he even has a favorite period to work on: "the Stone Age," he says.

"[The Stone Age is] this enormously long period so unlike our age, but we are physically so alike," he adds.

Nilsson starts with her skull, which was unearthed in 1993 at Theopetra cave, a site in central Greece which has been occupied continuously for some 130,000 years. Researchers take a CT scan of the skull, and a 3D printer then makes an exact replica of the scan's measurements.

"Onto this copy pegs are glued, reflecting the thickness of the flesh at certain anatomical points of the face," he says.

This allowed him to flesh out Avgi's face, muscle by muscle. While some of her features are based on skull measurements, others, like skin and eye color, are inferred based on general population traits in the region.

It's not the first time Papagrigorakis, Nilsson, and the University of Athens team has brought an ancient face back to life. In 2010, they reconstructed the face of an 11-year-old Athenian girl named Myrtis who lived around 430 B.C. In the almost 7,000-year period between Avgi and Myrtis, facial structure appears to soften.

"Avgi has very unique, not especially female, skull, and features. Myrtis, still a child, does not differ at all in the features we find around us today," says Nilsson. "Having reconstructed a lot of Stone Age women and men, I think some facial features seem to have disappeared or 'smoothed out' with time. In general, we look less masculine, both men and women, today."

Not much is known about the circumstances of Agvi's death, but archaeologists know that Myrtis died from typhoid in an epidemic that devastated fifth-century Athens; it's a disease that still kills thousands today.

As 3D modeling technology advances, archaeologists are using the technique more frequently to reconstruct ancient faces. In December, researchers reconstructed the face of an ancient Peruvian queen, and last January, the world finally saw the man behind the famous 9,500-year-old Jericho Skull.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/archaeology-agvi-greek-stoneage-facial-reconstruction/
 
Ι waited for thatAvgi is very familiar, I amazed from her close set small eyes simillar of that of Grifin Warrior, which I consider as hunter trait. I would say her type is still present and that we didn't change so much...The reconstruction is a masterpiece! -Maybe one of a kind. The colours of the skin and hair is very succesfully combinated. Great work.
 
If this is supposed to be a WHG type the eyes should be blue shouldn't they? I wish someone would do an autosomal analysis and then correlate that with the reconstruction.
 
If this is supposed to be a WHG type the eyes should be blue shouldn't they? I wish someone would do an autosomal analysis and then correlate that with the reconstruction.

I agree, the skin should be darker as well.

Like La Braña 1

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I did not know that WHG had blue eyes, that also means that all -of them- had blue eyes;
About the option the sample to be a SHG; that works the same;


About the "hunter trait", seems to fired you. I mean that a close set of eyes usually reveal hunter qualities.
At least that happens to other mummals .If you ever see horse, cows, sheeps etc you noticed that they have a wide range angle beetween and the bulb of the eyes are projected so they have the ability for more peripheral vision. The cows watching you almost from behind without need to have a big turn their neck.
The narrow set of eyes are more representative to hunters like cats, wolves, bears, lions etc for other reasons...
Anyway
So take it as a metaphor, or parabole whatever. I just meant that looks wild and primitive. That's all
Hope not to be charged for fake news.
 
This is her skull:

View attachment 9674


I'm not competent to judge whether they did a good job or not.


By way of contrast here is a contemporaneous skull, only this one is from Jericho in the Levant. Of course, these farmers also descend from hunter-gatherers, just different kinds of hunter-gatherers. It's quite different. I wonder why no one has attempted a reconstruction?

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This is also a reconstruction of a supposed Mesolithic European, this time from the Netherlands, around 5,000 BC, so later. I'm presuming she's from a hunter-gatherer community which didn't admix with the farmers.She has a slightly Siberian like almost Amerindian like look to me in the wideness and sharpness of the cheekbones and the overall bone structure. Looking at the skull of La Brana, I never thought that was a very good reconstruction, apart from the pigmentation, but who knows precisely how these people looked.

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I don't know if the pigmentation for the above.

A Mesolithic woman from southern Sweden:
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Since we now know Minoans were up to 86% Early Anatolian farmer, I guess we have some idea of their looks.

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Here's the reconstruction, which I modified to have La Braña 1's pigmentation.

Edit: My TV monitor which my PC is hooked up to makes the colors look "cooler". I checked this pic on my phone and the colors look a bit more saturated than I intended.
 
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Here's the reconstruction, which I modified to have La Braña 1's pigmentation.

I doubt that the 9 ka mesolithic Aegean was WHG.
There was obsidian coming from Melos to the Peleponesos 15 ka.
I guess these guys were related to EEF.
The mesolithic Greek mtDNA resembles the Boncüklü and Tepecik-Ciftlik mtDNA.
Even up to the Iron Gates there was 1 individual with mtDNA K1.
 
The first one, with blue eyes could easily pass as a Basque woman especially the eyes and is actually very beautiful even for modern standard. But i also somehow doubt that Aegean HG were blue eyed because of the proximity with anatolia.
 
I don't think the Mesolithic Greek looks particularly "Basque". The stronger jawline, the small but somewhat flat and wide nose, the big chin... I don't know, but those "stronger" traits I think can be found among some women around the Baltic Sea nowadays. Compare for example with Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana and Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka.
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"hard features disappeared overtime, in favor of smoother ones."

No wonder. If you've got photos of your great-grandparents, just take a close look. It's quite impressive how the harsh lives they lived show through their features. At age 40, they looked 60. So it's hardly surprising that people who lacked all our mod cons should be a bit stern-looking.
 
I don't think the Mesolithic Greek looks particularly "Basque". The stronger jawline, the small but somewhat flat and wide nose, the big chin... I don't know, but those "stronger" traits I think can be found among some women around the Baltic Sea nowadays. Compare for example with Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana and Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka.
220px-Violeta_Urmana_.jpg

violeta-urmana_1.jpg

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Rebeka1_Janis_Deinats_1-664x443.jpg

The first one, in particular, looks similar to the Netherlands hunter-gatherer woman except for the pigmentation. The second one is a bit different, imo.

I'm not sure about the woman who is the subject of this post. I wish we had some dna for her. She doesn't look very EEF to me at all, particularly in terms of the jaw and chin, and in the shortness of the nose, but ancient autosomal dna would tell us more. She may have had some, or maybe she was very much like the people at the Iron Gates, or the Ukraine.
 
I had more those two Basque girls in mind, those women that you post looks more roundish than the reconstruction.969952e468a9a856d1eecbb8946ff792.jpg0c31a759097df864ff111ee94f01653d.jpg
 
I think that overall it is a good job, but the musculature of her face is just too much. Even the most masculine testosterone loaded bodybuilder doesn't have layers of muscle as thick as hers.
Since the artists are working with clay and materials like it I guess its hard, but a millimetre too thick and give very dramatic results.

For example In photoshop i tried to make the layers just a tiny bit thinner and opened her eyelids just a bit wider to see if it would change her appearance at all.
The mouth i think is the clearest example of way too much muscle.

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Left is original, right is very slightly altered
 
What is actually the most interesting its her eyes, i would not say it somehow looked like an epicanthus, but not very far.
 
She also somehow remind me of that eastern european HG reconstruction, maybe made by Gerasimov. View attachment 9693
 
Yeah Johane is right, she is a bit masculine looking
 
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K1 has been found in both Balkan HGs and Early farmers so it's up in the air who she was related to, either way brown eyes is probably a better match than blue eyes, the earliest samples from Iron Gates were all brown eyed.

Her rugged features conpared to more modern people reminds me of the "wild types" used to describe the robust physical composition of early settlers of the Americas. The difference being that instead of relative masculine and feminine features being more pronounced in either sex masculine features were accentuated across both sexes. There's an old Russian saying that you chose a wife from behind, meaning that her looks are less important than her physical build. The same might have been true for Hunter gathers and differences between the sexes were less pronounced, at least in Europe.
 
I had more those two Basque girls in mind, those women that you post looks more roundish than the reconstruction.View attachment 9687View attachment 9688

Yes, now I see that there is indeed some similarity in the tall and thin face, perhaps also at least partially that large chin. But I still don't see many similarities in terms of nose, mouth and eyes. As Angela said, it should be very interesting to see what autosomal DNA admixtures she had. She does look quite distinctive. Not very typical EEF, not very WHG, not very EHG.
 
Yes, now I see that there is indeed some similarity in the tall and thin face, perhaps also at least partially that large chin. But I still don't see many similarities in terms of nose, mouth and eyes. As Angela said, it should be very interesting to see what autosomal DNA admixtures she had. She does look quite distinctive. Not very typical EEF, not very WHG, not very EHG.
Hum ! i know thats kind of hard to believe, but i always wonder if local physical traits were in fact very persistent in population at least until the Neolithic. I mean by that whatever the change of autosomal DNA or mtdna and y-chromosome haplogroups over the years, maybe Mesolithic Ukraine for exemple looks physically like Sunghir or Kostenki saying the Vestonice cluster but with addition of new traits. I remember to have see a skull from Schela Cladovei mesolithic looking really similiar to the Oase 1 or for some extend the Skhul and Qafzeh one and another from Eastern European HG looking 80% neanderthal like... I wonder how much is really the change in physical characteristics between a deep population and a newcomer population in paleolithic and mesolithic wich had very low demographics.
 

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