Recon Face
Facial reconstruction
Individualising the skull
Various ways to correlate a skull with the living individual exists. The most accurate of these is the use of dental records. But whereas dental records are accurate, the dentist and patient still has to be connected to one another. Skull-photo superimposition is also useful to rule out suspected individuals where a certain skull-face configuration prove to be impossible. Again, the individual has to be identified.

This is where facial reconstruction can play an important role. Using a combination of tissue thicknesses and muscles, very good results has been obtained. This technique builds upon:

All these contribute to the accuracy of the reproduction. It is important to remember that the accuracy of the reproduction is not the most important factor for recognition. The proportions of the face help in recognition. This makes positioning of the mouth, nose, eyes, and their widths - relative to each other - the important consideration. Ears are important for identification, but not for recognition.

How do people recognise faces? Little data is available. It is known that the brain picks up on differences when a photo and reconstruction is seen together - similarities when each is viewed alone. The purpose of forensic reconstruction is to provide an image which will spark something when the right person saw it (Pragg and Neave, 1997; George, 1993)

Using a combination of anatomy and measurements might not be 100% correct but it is not just guessing. A balance between the artist and science is obtained. At the same time it must be remembered that the methodology for archaeological reconstruction varies from that of a forensic reconstruction (Pragg and Neave, 1997). There is most often no way to compare the accuracy of an archaeological reconstruction. On the other hand, most workers report a high rate of success for forensic cases (Pragg and Neave, 1997; George, 1993; George;1987)

These pages will give a simplified explanation for beginners. It is hoped that this will form a lattice on which you can build. As in any discipline, it is important to keep learning. For more detailed explanations consult the list of references.

Elements in facial reconstruction

  1. Landmarks for tissue thicknesses
  2. Muscle of the face - origins and insertions
  3. Soft tissue thicknesses
  4. Facial features and proportions
  5. Steps in reconstruction
  6. Casting a skull to work from
  7. References
  8. Facial analysis
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