Researchers created a model of a medieval woman from Trondheim, Norway, using skeletal remains discovered in the country.
A hunchback and toothless Norwegian woman who died at the age of 65 during the Middle Ages has been brought back to life using modern technology.
An analysis of the woman’s skeleton revealed that she had osteoarthritis and gout in her final few years, so the researchers created the silicon model to represent the ailments.
“Tora” was born at the end of the 1200s in Trondheim, Norway. Trondheim was a small city, but it was densely populated, with up to 4,000 people living there at the time.
Her bones were discovered during the 1970s in the cemetery belonging to the main street, Kaupmannastretet. According to NRK, based on where the Tora was buried, researchers believe she was a member of a merchant family on the city’s shopping street Kaupmannastretet.
Researchers used the elderly woman’s skeleton to create the silicon model, and then Danish artist in special effects make-up Thomas Foldberg brought her to life by adding liver spots, wrinkles and human hair. This model is now display at the NTNU University Museum.
Ellen Grav, an archaeologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) University Museum, introduced the world to the lifelike model via Facebook.
The orange dress is modelled on an actual dress found in Uvdal Stave Church from the same period. It was hand-dyed using Rubia tinctorum, also known as rose madder or dyer’s madder, and weaved as it would have been in the Middle Ages.
“We can probably be criticized for not knowing that she looked exactly like this. But there’s something about guessing and fantasizing and allowing yourself to be fascinated by the fact that she actually could have looked just like this,” archaeologist Grav says to NRK.
Archaeology is often centered on artifacts. NTNU’s University Museum has wished to show what real people looked like – and not just kings or men, she explains.