Reconstruction of 750-year-old skeletons could tell story of Medieval Aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council is in talks with a leading forensic anthropologist to turn the discovery of medieval skeletons into a historic centrepiece for Aberdeen’s new world-class art gallery.

Discussions are taking place with the Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification Professor Sue Black, who could carry out a 3D map of the remains to create an impression of what he or she may have looked like.

It could also be possible to cast a bronze model or digital recreation of the reconstruction to be exhibited in the state-of-the-art new gallery complex due to open in 2017.

Professor Black, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen, has identified the victims of some of the world’s gravest conflicts and natural disasters including working with United Nations in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Grenada.

The professor was awarded an OBE for her work in the international response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami which killed 230,000 people across 14 countries.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing hailed the prospect of working with Professor Black as elevating the project to a new level.

She said: “As well as bringing one of the greatest regional galleries in the world, we could now have one of the finest natural history exhibitions in the country on display.

“Sue Black is the world’s leading forensic anthropologist and to have her engaged in this project elevates our work to a new level and opens the door to new possibilities.”

“These people pre-date Robert the Bruce and were alive when Henry III was on the English throne – it is fascinating to think that we could get a glimpse into their world and to consider how Aberdeen has changed through the centuries.

“The analysis that is being done will provide a unique insight into the people that have lived right here in Aberdeen centuries ago.

“It is all the more special to think that they are our forefathers.”

In March of this year, 92 skeletons believed to date back to the 13th Century were unearthed from under Aberdeen Art Gallery during the £30million redevelopment works.

Archaeologists also found artefacts and treasures such as coins, coffin fixtures and textile ceramics and are currently carrying out analysis in London to determine the condition of the bodies.

This analysis coupled with the reconstructive work carried out by Professor Black could offer more historical detail about social issues such as disease, war or famine in that time period.

Aberdeen City Council is currently fundraising for the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery into a leading attraction for the North-east of Scotland and the wider UK. For those wishing to donate visit: www.aagm.co.uk/donate or call 01224 523670

Donations can also be made by texting AAGM001 to 70970 to donate £5, and AAGM001 to 70191 to donate £10