What did a teenage girl look like 9,000 years ago? Here is her face, reconstructed from bone fragments found in a cave in Greece

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Credit: Oscar Nilsson
Swedish sculptor Oscar Nilsson reconstructed the face of an 18-year-old young woman, dubbed Avgi, whose 9,000-year-old bones were found in a cave in central Greece. Read more about the facial reconstruction.

Step 1

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A plastic 3D-printed skull was made based on scans of the original bones found in Greece. Nilsson used this replica as the base for his sculpture.

Layers of clay

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Plastic pegs guided Nilsson as he added clay muscle to the face.

Molding muscle

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He faithfully recreated each individual muscle between the bone and the skin. Because of this meticulous process, each sculpture takes about 220 hours from start to finish.

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Scientific sculpture

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For his reconstructions, Nilsson bases the thickness of the muscle and fat on scientists’ determination of the age, sex, weight, and ethnicity of the person he’s trying to recreate.

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Avgi opens her eyes

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Half of the skull is finally covered with clay “skin.”

Avgi complete

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A much more lifelike silicone “skin” is finally added over the face, complete with pores and wrinkles. Not much is known about Avgi’s life, but Nilsson hopes viewers could feel a connection with her by seeing her face.

Megan Gannon has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor’s degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow Megan on Twitter @meganigannon


A version of this article was originally posted at Live Science and has been reposted here with permission. Live Science can be found on Twitter @LiveScience

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