Face of 7,000-yr-old Iranian woman reconstructed


A mysterious skeleton discovered in Tehran last year proved the city is much more ancient than first thought.

Face of 7,000-year-old Iranian woman reconstructed
Experts have reconstructed the face of 7,000-year-old skeleton found in Tehran 
[Credit: Mohammad Reza Rokni, Archaeology Research Center]

Now experts have reconstructed the face of the 7,000-year-old remains to reveal the Iranian capital’s oldest known resident for the first time.

According to their reconstruction, she had a strong rounded chin, large lips and black hair.

The researchers scanned specific points on the woman’s skull as well as using data from modern faces to generate the likeness, which one expert believes is 95 per cent accurate.

Archaeology student Mahsa Vahabi discovered pottery buried beneath Molavi Street near Tehran’s Grand Bazaar last November.

Further excavations revealed the skeleton, which was later dated to approximately 5,000 BC.

Mohammad Reza Rokni, an expert at the country’s Archaeology Research Centre, created a 3D model of the skeleton.

He told Mehr News: ‘We used whole parts of the skeleton and the principle of symmetry… to reconstruct the missing parts or parts that are unfit for the reconstruction.’

Face of 7,000-year-old Iranian woman reconstructed
The 7,000-year-old skeleton was found beneath a busy street in Tehran last year 
[Credit: Islamic Republic News Agency]

The team pinpointed 11 points on the woman’s skull, such as the position of her eyes, nose, ears, lips and chin and used the data to create an accurate 3D model.

‘To reconstruct the face we added a digital version of missing parts mounted on the 3D model’ and added texture to make it look realistic, he said.

No trace of hair was found with the skeleton so the team drew on local people’s appearance to guide them.

They also used images from pottery found in Cheshmeh Ali, a late Neolithic and Chalcolithic village in northern Iran to come up with the woman’s hairstyle

Despite some artistic interpretation, Dr Rokni believes the reconstruction is 95 per cent accurate.

Mohammad Esmail Esmaili Jolodar, who originally led the excavation, said: ‘The remarkable find has pushed the history of residence in Tehran back to 7,000 years ago.

‘Earlier, the oldest archaeological finds in Tehran belonged to Gheytarieh Hills in the northeast and were 3,000 years old.’

Author: Sarah Griffiths | Source: Daily MailOnline [June 19, 2015]


  1. I don't think the hairstyles of today's locals would be a good source of inspiration for the facial reconstruction – this lady is very unlikely to be ethnically similar to a modern Iranian. She is from a time before the Persians, Medes, Assyrians and probably the Akkadians. Who knows what culture she belongs to. A mugshot of a facial reconstruction is all very well but ancient DNA would be much more interesting from a scientific point of view.