Now that's one handsome fellow!
Scientists have reconstructed the face of a prehistoric man believed to have lived near the site of Stonehenge about 500 years before the iconic monument was completed.
The likeness of "Stonehenge Man," as well as a detailed back story pieced together through forensic analysis, is part of Stonehenge's fancy new visitor center, which opened in December.
Who was Stonehenge Man, and where did he come from?
The 5,500-year-old skeleton was discovered in the 1860s in an opulent mausoleum not far from Stonehenge, New Scientist reported. The well-preserved remains have since undergone a series of elaborate tests and examinations, which have one by one filled in the blanks of Stonehenge Man's life.
Swedish sculptor Oscar Nilsson used the length of the skeleton's bones to estimate the man's weight and age, which then helped determine the fleshiness of the reconstructed face, according to New Scientist. Estimated to be between 25 and 40 years old, Stonehenge Man was probably muscular and, of course, hairy.
"I had to give him a beard -- there were no razors then," Nilsson told the magazine.
A detailed analysis of Stonehenge Man's teeth provided a wealth of additional information about how and where the Neolithic male lived, The Independent reported. Analysis of isotopes of the elements strontium and oxygen in the man's dental enamel suggests that he was born "west or north-west of the Stonehenge area, probably in Wales" and moved east when he was about two years of age.
By his early teens, Stonehenge Man had moved back and forth several times, all the while remaining relatively healthy and eating a lot of meat and dairy products -- unusual for the time period, according to the Independent. Despite dying fairly young, Stonehenge Man's impressive burial mound suggests he was among the region's early Neolithic elites.
Built in multiple stages beginning around 3000 B.C.E., Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the biggest puzzles in Neolithic archaeology. Stonehenge Man's new face is part of Stonehenge's new, £27 million visitor center, which opened to the public on Dec. 18.
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