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Student uses wax to reconstruct face of druid from Stornoway

A student has recreated the head of one of Scotland’s oldest druids, thought to hail from Stornoway, using 3D wax reconstruction.

A masters student at University of Dundee, Karen Fleming revealed the face of the ‘Hilda’, who was believed to have been in her 60s when she died during the Iron Age.

The MSc Forensic Art and Facial Identification student, from Edinburgh, said that the toothless female displays many physical attributes that remain recognisable today.

She said: “Hilda was a fascinating character to recreate. It’s clear from the skull she was toothless before she died, which isn’t too surprising considering the diet of folk back then but it was impressive how long she lived.

“A female’s life expectancy at this time was roughly 31 years but it is now thought that living longer during the Iron Age is indicative of a privileged background.

“It’s impossible to know for sure when she died as we were unable to carbon date the skull, but assuming the information in the journal from 1833 is correct, Hilda passed away anytime between 55BC to 400AD and was of Celtic origin.

“I think she looks like many older women I’ve met in my life and I’m proud of that.”

The student said this year’s heatwave almost melted her creation, which was recreated from an ancient skull held at The University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum.

She added: “It’s funny to say it now but I had to keep parts of Hilda, like her wax modelled ears, in the fridge for most of the summer.

“As a mature student who commutes from Edinburgh, I often had to keep her cool in the car, strapped up in the passenger seat. I’m sure that’s a sight passersby won’t forget seeing.”

Hilda will go on display at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Masters Show, which will see more than 80 students showcase their work during the week.

The show runs from August 16 to 25.

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