The reconstructed face of a woman who lived around 7000 BC will be revealed at the Acropolis Museum on January 19.
“Avgi” is the newest reconstruction by a team under University of Athens professor of orthodontics Manolis Papagrigorakis and follows that of “Myrtis”, the girl that died during the plague in Athens in the 5th century BC. Myrtis was exhibited in 2010 and became an international sensation.
Avgi was named after “the Dawn of civilization”, as the woman whose skull provided the basis for the reconstruction lived at the time human beings transitioned from food collectors to food cultivators.
In a feature for the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) magazine “To Praktoreio”, professor Papagrigorakis said that his interest in reconstructions stemmed from observing the faces of people or statues and noting jaw structure.
The reconstruction of Avgi’s face involved several medical specialties, he said, including an endocrinologist, an orthopedic, a neurologist, a pathologist and a radiologist.
Following a request by archaeologist Efi Baziotopoulou-Valavani, Papagrigorakis said his team researched the cause of the plague that decimated Athens in 430 BC (during the Peloponnesian War) from ancient DNA, with the help of a Greek dentist/biologist/geneticist.
In 2006, the team established that the cause of the plague was typhoid fever, he said. “Myrtis” was found in a mass grave from that era.
The team has worked with Swedish sculptor Oscar Nilsson, whose studio specializes on historical body reconstructions.
Currently, the team is working on the reconstruction of the skull of a girl from Feres in Magnesia prefecture, who was about 5.5 years old when she died in the 5th century BC. Her remains were found in a marble tomb, and she has been named Idyle.
Another of the team’s projects includes the reconstruction of a “microbial map” of Classical-era Greece.