begins with the skull, sometimes unidentified, and the anthropologist's
analysis of it for age, sex, and with less certainty, race. With
this information, the reconstructive sculptor consults tables of
soft tissue thickness, and glues soft-tissue markers on pre-determined
points to indicate how thick the clay should be built up on the
skull at those points.
tissues are the muscles, cartilage, fat and skin that clothe the
skull in life and produce the face by which we recognize each other.
Artificial eyes are placed in the sockets, and the clay is laid
on to the level of the markers. The sculptor then uses his or her
knowledge of facial anatomy and certain clues provided by skull
measurements, to finish the face. The pictures show two skulls on
which I reconstructed faces in the advanced portion of Betty Pat's
course at Scottsdale Artists School in Arizona, May 1999. The white
pegs are the soft-tissue markers. Click on the small pictures to
see larger versions. The first four pictures show the stages of
recontruction of a 17-year-old girl's face. The last two show a
five-year-old boy's skull with soft tissue markers added, then the
reconstruction half-removed to show the relationship of soft tissues
to the bony structure underneath.
in the year I had another rare opportunity: I was able to visit
Gerasimov's laboratory in Moscow, The Ethnological and Anthropological
Laboratory of the Russian Republic. There I saw dozens of faces
from Russia's past: Ivan the terrible; my friend from Kiev, Yaroslav
the Wise; Ulug-beg, grandson of Tamerlane, the Tartar leader who
conquered Russia in the 1300s.
The picture below is of a face I reconstructed for the Anchorage,
Alaska Police Department in April 2000. They had found a skull near
a road in the city and had never been able to identify it. When
I brought this in, they immediately called the television station
and broadcast it with a request for anyone recognizing the face
the trail was cold, since this was an estimated 10 years after the
woman's death. Also, certain evidence led the coroner to guess that
she was not local. So this one has remained unsolved.