Glasgow & West Scotland

Face of Copper Age 'Thankerton Man' revealed

Thankerton Man Image copyright Dundee University
Image caption The image was constructed from the remains of Thankerton Man

Scientists from Dundee University have recreated the face of a young man who lived more than 4,000 years ago.

The skeleton of "Thankerton Man" was found in a stone cist - a type of burial chamber - at Boatbridge Quarry, Thankerton, South Lanarkshire, in 1970.

It was radiocarbon-dated to between 2460BC and 2140BC and thought to have been that of a man aged 18 to 25.

The reconstructed image will go on show at the Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum, which opens on Tuesday.

The reconstruction was produced by specialists from Dundee University's Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) who worked from detailed analysis of the skull.

Caroline Erolin, lecturer in forensic and medical art at CAHID, said: "Given its age, the skeleton of Thankerton Man was in excellent condition, which allowed us to get a strong impression of how he may have looked.

"Once we built the basic shape of his face we then looked at historical data to get a better idea of how a man would have looked at that time. For instance, we know they had the ability to shave."

'Magnificent piece'

The estimated height of the man was around 1.8 metres (5ft 11ins), which is regarded as tall in Copper Age terms.

The cist contained a finely-decorated beaker which had held food or drink for the deceased's journey into the afterlife.

The pot and skeleton are curated by National Museums Scotland.

Dr Alison Sheridan, principal curator of early prehistory at National Museums Scotland, who provided archaeological advice, praised the reconstruction.

She said: "This is a magnificent piece of work that really brings the past to light. It has spurred us on to arrange the DNA analysis of this man's remains."

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