The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Discovered skull in St Paul’s Catacombs brought to life using facial reconstruction

Wednesday, 14 April 2021, 14:19 Last update: about 18 days ago

A skull discovered at St. Paul's Catacombs has been brought to life using facial reconstruction, and Heritage Malta will be streaming a masterclass on Facebook that follows the journey, from site to lab, of this creation.

Heritage Malta wrote, in a statement, that the journey started on the 22 August 2013, when a skeleton belonging to a female between 18 and 24 years of age was discovered within the access shaft of a shaft-and-chamber tomb. This was surrounded by a remarkable assemblage of grave goods.


Based on tomb typology and pottery studies, the skeleton was estimated to date back to between the late 4th century BC and the 2nd Century AD, according to Heritage Malta.

The masterclass will highlight the various techniques used to understand past burial practices and the studies that went into creating a biological profile of the individual from the bones.

Heritage Malta said that "the combination of this biological profile and the conservation of the skull ultimately resulted in sufficient information for specialists to create a facial reconstruction, giving a face to our past."

Entitled "Staring the Past in the Eyes: Discovery and Research on a Skull from St. Paul's Catacombs", the masterclass will be delivered by a number of specialists, including David Cardona (Senior Curator of St. Paul's Catacombs), Michelle Padovani (Osteologist) and a group of Italian specialists led by Roberto Miccichè (Forensic Anthropologist).

The masterclass will be streamed live on Facebook on Wednesday 21 April at 6:30pm.

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