Science

1200-year-old Queen’s face was rebuilt by archaeologists

Archaeologists have discovered a lot about “Queen Huarmey” over the last five years since discovering her tomb at El Castillo de Huarmey in Peru.

They discovered that she belonged to the Wari, pre-Inca tribe and lived about 12 centuries ago. They know that she lived until the age of 60 and that although she was only one of the 58 nobles – including 4 queens – found in the remarkable untouched grave, she clearly distinguished herself from each other.

Her body, surrounded by jewels, gold earrings, a bronze ax, a silver bowl and gold weaving tools, was found in a private ward. Her skeleton revealed she had a strong body and spent most of her life sitting, suggesting she was a weaver – a place of outstanding reputation in the Wari tribe, which respected textiles more than gold and silver.

However, they had no idea how she looked like. Till now.

Earlier this year, National Geographic archaeologist, Milos Girce, who found the tomb together with Peruvian archaeologist Roberto Pimenel Nita, asked Swedish archaeologist Oscar Nilson to reconstruct Queen Huarmey’s face.

And Nilson did it. After creating a three-dimensional model of the woman’s skull, he used well-known data sets to estimate the thickness of the muscles and flesh over the bones. Then, with photos of indigenous Andean inhabitants living near the ancient grave, he rejuvenated her face by hand. He also used real hair from older Andean women to reconstruct her haircut. It took 220 hours, but it was worth the effort.