Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roman man's face finally revealed at Caerleon museum

The face of a wealthy Roman citizen who lived in south Wales has been revealed nearly two millennia after he died

Using the latest technology, experts have produced a portrait of the man whose skeleton was uncovered 18 years ago in Caerleon, near Newport.

Archaeologists are trying to fill in more details using forensic techniques employed by police.

The image of the man was unveiled at the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon on Thursday.

The remains from around AD200 were uncovered by builders who were working on the nearby Newport university campus in November 1995.

Analysis showed the skeleton was that of a well-preserved man of about 40.

Since it was put on display in 2002, the skeleton has become one of the museum's most popular exhibits, so staff decided to find out more about the man and create a portrait to honour him.

Efforts to build a picture of how the man may have looked began three years ago.

First, scientists carried out isotype analysis on the enamel of one of the skeleton's teeth. That revealed the man in the coffin had spent his childhood years, between the age of five and eight, in the Newport area and that he was probably a local boy.

Curatorial officer Dr Mark Lewis said the man was living at a time when the Caerleon Roman fortress was at its height, having been established for 125 years. It would have been supplying the legion, serving up to 6,000 soldiers.

"The fact that the man had been buried rather than cremated as most of the people were at that time was a clue to the fact he was probably well off," he said.

More to read and original post at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-21009520