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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 August, 2004, 18:10 GMT 19:10 UK
Anglo-Saxon 'princess' shows face
Mrs Getty, Cotswald District Council
Clues from the skull give clues to reconstruction of the face
State-of-the-art forensic techniques have been used to reconstruct the face of an Anglo-Saxon woman who had similar status to a modern princess.

The woman, nicknamed "Mrs Getty" after the oil mogulfor the 500 precious objects buried with her, was one of 219 bodies unearthed in Gloucestershire.

Mrs Getty, who died in the 6th Century, was surrounded by gilt bronze brooches, amber beads, silver and ivory rings.

Anthropologist Caroline Wilkinson made the painstaking facial reconstruction.

Dr Wilkinson, of Manchester University, is an anthropologist who has worked with the police and is a familiar face on the BBC's Ancestors programme.

Grave goods

A reconstruction of the woman in her coffin, complete with clothes, grave goods and hair, will appear at a permanent gallery at the Corinium Museum in Cirencester.

Mrs Getty's grave was discovered at an archaeological dig in 1985 at Butler's Field in Lechlade, Gloucestershire. The site is thought to have been used continuously during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Judy Mills of Corinium Museum told The Daily Telegraph newspaper:

Square-headed brooch, Cotswald District Council
Mrs Getty's brooch marks her out as a high-status burial
"We know that she was between 25 and 30, but we don't know what she died of. She had by far the richest grave with almost 500 precious objects buried with her.

"She also had a wooden coffin with stones packed around it. This meant she held very high status. The big square-headed brooch on her shoulder is a very rare find. It tells us she was important."

Facial reconstruction work is used by forensic scientists to trace missing persons and in surgical reconstruction.

Forensic artists reconstruct the face in clay using clues from the shape of the skull. They are also guided by standard tissue depths around the head which have been calculated from measurements on historic humans.

Some features, such as the shape of the eyes, ears and lips are based on a certain amount of educated guesswork.

Teeth unravel Anglo-Saxon legacy
17 Mar 04  |  Science/Nature
Appeal to keep Saxon treasures
08 Apr 03  |  Norfolk
Sutton Hoo treasures on show
13 Mar 02  |  England



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