Thursday, June 03, 2004


Well, not exactly. But scientists are working with the famous death mask declared to be Agamemnon's by Heinrich Schliemann to reconstruct the face behind it. They're also poking around with the DNA to gain insight into the time when Greek history began:
"These burials are unique in the Bronze Age," says Keri Brown of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. "These people seem to have cornered the market in gold, so how did they do this, who were they and how did they have this power?"

Working with the forensic science service, Brown and her team are turning to DNA fingerprints to solve the conundrum. Using genetic material painstakingly scraped from 3,500-year-old bones and teeth recovered from the graves, the scientists hope to establish whether the dozens of privileged individuals buried at Mycenae are part of the same family, or an unrelated collection of mercenary fighters. The answer will shine light on the social structure of one of the most influential periods in human history.

"If you like, this is where Greek history starts," says John Prag, an expert in Greek archaeology at the Manchester museum.

His group has already used facial reconstruction techniques to put flesh on the ancient bones and look for family resemblances, with some success. "We got a couple of pairs that were very clearly related but there comes a point where everybody's got two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth and we all look alike," Prag says.

It would be interesting if something similar might be done in the Bible lands in the future.

[Link via LRC]

No comments: