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Researchers recreate face of Anglo-Saxon girl with unique gold cross.

Face of Anglo-Saxon Teenage Girl Revealed

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have unveiled the face of an Anglo-Saxon teenage girl who died over 1,300 years ago. This fascinating discovery was made during a recent excavation in Trumpington, England. The girl, believed to be a member of the aristocracy or even of royal descent, was buried in a rare bed burial, one of only 18 found in the United Kingdom.

Using advanced skull analysis techniques, the researchers were able to reconstruct her face. The forensic artist, Hew Morrison, described the process as captivating, noting that her left eye was slightly lower than her right eye, a distinct feature that would have been noticeable during her lifetime.

Although her hair and eye color remain uncertain without DNA analysis, the reconstructed image provides a strong indication of her appearance. The University of Cambridge report explains that Morrison relied on skull measurements and tissue depth data for Caucasian females to create the lifelike representation.

The burial, discovered a decade ago, has provided valuable insights into the girl’s status and religious beliefs. She was interred with an ornate gold and garnet cross, known as the “Trumpington Cross,” which suggests her early conversion to Christianity. This cross is comparable to the one found in the coffin of St. Cuthbert, a renowned saint in northern England.

Further analysis of the girl’s bones and teeth revealed that she likely migrated from the Alps, possibly southern Germany, to England after the age of seven. The change in her diet, with a decrease in protein consumption before her death, indicates the challenges she faced in adapting to a new environment.

The reconstructed image of the girl, along with the Trumpington Cross and the decorative headboard of her burial bed, will be on display at the University of Cambridge’s exhibition, “Beneath Our Feet: Archaeology of the Cambridge Region,” from now until April 2024. This remarkable find brings the past to life and offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of Anglo-Saxon England.



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