The Face Of A Man Brutally Murdered 1,400 Year Ago Has Been Reconstructed


The face of a man murdered in the Scottish Highlands around 1,400 years ago has been digitally reconstructed, helping anthropologists and forensic scientists solve how his grisly death came about. The details of the story were shared on


Scientists were looking for a response to the question of exactly how this man, whose skeleton was unusually well-preserved, died.

Along with finding evidence that the cave had been used for iron-smithing, they unearthed a skeleton that appeared to have been placed on his back in a cross-legged position with his limbs weighed down by heavy beach rocks.

The unusual scenario captured the curiosity of the researchers and they took the body back to their lab for further research.

Radiocarbon dating of the bones showed that he died sometime between 430 and 630 CE.

This means he would have been part of the Picts.

They were a collective of tribes in Scotland who repelled the conquests of both the Romans and the Angles up until the 10th century CE. They were named “the Picts” by the Romans, which derives from the term “painted or tattooed ones.”

Analysis has showed massive fractures to his face and skull, which indicated at least five heavy blunt force impacts.

Project leader and forensic anthropologist Professor Dame Sue Black explained that:

“The first impact was by a circular cross-section implement that broke his teeth on the right side,”

“The second may have been the same implement, used like a fighting stick, which broke his jaw on the left. The third resulted in fracturing to the back of his head as he fell from the blow to his jaw with a tremendous force possibly onto a hard object perhaps stone.”

The cherry on top of this study is the digital reconstruction of the face, which created through a blend of anatomical science, anthropology, forensic art, and imaging technology.

How this man's final days played out remains a mystery to the researchers. However, the forensic anthropologists hope that further excavations of the cave and more detailed analysis of the bones will provide some answers.

Here is the face:
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