Image made of Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe
Scientists have recreated an image of the face of the sister of Cleopatra, the last Egyptian pharaoh. A team of forensic art experts at Dundee University made the 3D computer image of Arsinoe, who was hated by Cleopatra, who lived 2,000 years ago.
Researchers undertook the work for a new documentary, Cleopatra – Portrait of a Killer, on BBC ONE. Scientists based the computer model on what are believed to be remains of Arsinoe found in Ephesus, Turkey.
The Unit for Forensic and Medical Art at Dundee used facial reconstruction and forensic techniques to generate images and models from human remains. In the case of Arsinoe, researchers took dozens of pictures of the skull found in Turkey. From these they generated a 3D computer model of the head, to which skin, hair and facial features were added.
Dr Caroline Wilkinson, who leads the unit, said: “The skull that was found is not complete but from examining the bone structure and shape we are able to add the lower part of the jaw and then render the skull as a full 3D model.”
The team also found that the skull and skeleton of Arsinoe may indicate that she had both European and ancient Egyptian characteristics.
Digital artist Janice Aitken, who added skin, hair and eye colour to the image said: “Although it is not possible to tell the exact skin, eye and hair colour from the skull, the historical background information and shape of the skull suggested a mixed ancestry.”
The forensic art team at the university was also responsible for reconstructing the face of German composer Bach last year.
If they really wanted to be sure she was Egyptian they could use isotope testing on the bones, but the Egyptian features of the skull do seem to support that she’s Arsinoe. Apparently Cleopatra had her murdered in her teens. She also did away with her two younger brothers. Yikes.