Facial reconstruction of the Peruvian Moche Lord of Sipán

The skull of the Moche mummy discovered in 1987 in Huaca Rejada near Sipán in Peru, known as the Lord of Sipán, received a digital facial reconstruction despite its severe damage.

Skull of the Lord of Sipán skeleton (by Daily Mail Online)
Skull of the Lord of Sipán skeleton (by Daily Mail Online)

The Moche civilisation flourished in Peru between 50-700 AD with their central city placed at Sipán. It is believed that the individual, whose remains were dubbed  the Lord of Sipán was one of the rulers of this ancient civilisation. The mummy was first of few found at Huaca Rajada.  The man was quipped with headdresses, a face mask, a pectoral, necklaces, nose rings, ear rings and other precious stone and metal items, indicating he was of the highest rank within the society. The mummy is presently held at Royal Tomb of Sipán Museum in Lambayeque.

Skull during digital mapping (by Daily Mail Online)
Skull during digital mapping (by Daily Mail Online)

The reconstruction was made by a team of computer graphics and forensic scientists. The project included both anthropological analysis and 3D digital reconstruction. The skull is preserved in a very poor shape, being smashed into 96 fragments due to pressure of the soil under which it was buried. For the purpose of the study the fragments have been glued together. Moreover, a plastic wire-frame was mounted inside the skull cavity to stop the fragile cranial bones from falling apart.

Stages of reconstruction (by Daily Mail Online)
Stages of reconstruction (by Daily Mail Online)

The age of the individual was confirmed to being between 45-55 years at the time of death. The male individual had remarkably good oral health. He did not suffer from arthritis, neither had any degenerative disease. The experts say it’s likely he died from natural causes. The skull is said to bare typical features of pre-Columbian ancestry. The reconstruction process took six days and involved taking digital photogrammetric images to produce a 3D model on which later layers of muscles, skin and tone were placed.

The final reconstruction of the Lord of Sipán's skull (by Daily Mail Online)
The final reconstruction of the Lord of Sipán’s skull (by Daily Mail Online)

(after Daily Post Online)

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