The face of an Anglo-Saxon girl who died over 1,300 years ago reconstructed

The face of an Anglo-Saxon girl who died over 1,300 years ago was reconstructed in Trumpington, Cambridgeshire.

The skeleton of the Anglo-Saxon girl was buried in a wooden bed and was unearthed in 2012, along with a gold and garnet cross on her chest.

Dr. Sam Leggett, an archaeologist, said, “I’m used to dealing with faceless individuals, so seeing what she looked like was really beautiful.” Forensic artist Hew Morrison created the likeness using the young woman’s skull measurements and tissue depth data for Caucasian females.

“Her left eye was slightly lower than her right, about half a centimeter – it would have been quite noticeable in life,” he said. Analysis of the bones and teeth provides information about the girl’s life.

Researchers already knew from previous analysis that she had suffered from an unknown illness before her death.

Photo: Cambridge University Archaeological Unit

Dr. Leggett, who assisted in the isotopic analysis at the University of Cambridge, said, “She was probably quite unwell, making a long journey to a completely foreign place – even the food would have been different – it must have been frightening.” Born near the Alps, likely in southern Germany, she moved to the Cambridgeshire fenland at some point after turning seven.

Furthermore, her diet changed when she came to England.

Dr. Leggett stated, “We know that the protein level dropped, indicating that she consumed more meat and dairy products in Trumpington than when she was in southern Germany.”

Studies published by Cambridge University last year revealed that Anglo-Saxon kings were mostly vegetarian before the Vikings settled in England.

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