The face of one of Egypt’s greatest rulers, Ramses II, has been restored 3,200 years after his death, the Daily Mail reports. The new scientific reconstruction is the work of Egyptian and British specialists. Scientists have used a 3D model of the skull, and to restore its features. They then “rewind” the aging processes almost half a century back to show what the ruler looked like in his prime. The result is the first fully scientific reconstruction of the pharaoh’s face, based on a CT scan of his actual skull.
The face of the pharaoh was beautiful, with characteristic features – a pronounced nose and a powerful jaw, notes Prof. Sahar Salim – one of the researchers from Cairo University and the author of the 3D model of the skull. However, scientists are faced with the problem of the lack of information about the color of the eyes, hair and skin of the ruler, as well as about some individual features in his appearance – small wrinkles, moles, etc. In order to recreate a portrait as close as possible to the image of Ramses II, the researchers also studied the written sources about his rule that have survived to this day. The project is the second of its kind led by Sahar Salim recently, following the scientific reconstruction of the face of Pharaoh Tutankhamun completed by royal sculptor Christian Corbett.
Caroline Wilkinson, director of the Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University, who restored the face of Pharaoh Ramses II, gives a step-by-step account of the process. “We take a CT model of the skull, then from the database of pre-modeled facial anatomy we import and modify to fit the skull. We build the features from the surface of the skull to the surface of the face, through the muscle structure and fat layers, and finally through the skin layer.” The specialists also had preserved mummified soft tissues of the pharaoh’s face, which they also worked with. According to them, about 70% of the facial reconstruction surface has less than 2 mm of deviation from the real shape.
Ramses II, called by Egyptologists of the 19th century and Ramses the Great, ruled over Egypt for 66 years (1279-1213 BC). Some modern theologians consider it to be the pharaoh who was flooded by the Red Sea when Moses parted it in the flight of the Jews from Egypt. In reality, however, he lived to a ripe old age. He left behind a number of military victories and magnificent buildings.
He is also remembered for the colossal statues he commissioned and his massive building program. During his long reign, Ramses II is believed to have built more temples and fathered more children than any other pharaoh of Egypt.
Advances in science now allow the reconstruction of the faces of ancient rulers by extracting DNA from their mummies, promising new attractions for tourists.