Jul 5, 2017 | By Benedict

Scientists in Peru have used 3D printing to reconstruct the face of the Lady of Cao, an ancient female leader who died 1,700 years ago. The woman’s remains were found at a ruined pyramid near Trujillo in 2006.

3D technologies are playing a huge role in teaching us about ancient history. Just a few weeks ago, we learnt how a team of 3D scanning experts in Italy had recreated the face of a man who died in the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD. Despite the extensive fracturing of the victim’s head, the experts were able to deduce the man’s age, social standing, and even produce a faithful recreation of what he probably looked like.

The Vesuvius project was a marvel of 3D scanning, but now it’s 3D printing’s turn. In Peru, scientists have used 3D printing to reconstruct the face of the Lady of Cao, an ancient female leader of northern Peru’s Moche culture who died 1,700 years ago. The preserved remains of the Lady of Cao were found in 2006 at a ruined mud-brick pyramid called Huaca Cao Viejo, near Trujillo, having been preserved thanks to the dry atmosphere in the tomb.

The scientists working on the 3D printing project were able to reconstruct the woman’s face after analyzing her skull structure and remains—a process that took a whole 10 months. It is believed that Lady of Cao died from childbirth complications in her 20s, while her limbs were covered with tattoos of snakes, spiders, and other supernatural images. The lavishness of her burial site has led some historians to believe she might have been a priestess or a political ruler.

Parties involved in the 3D printing of the Lady’s face included a number of archaeologists, the Wiese Foundation, and global imaging company FARO Technologies, best known for its advanced 3D scanning products.

“We are privileged to announce this strange combination of the future and the past,” commented Salvador del Solar, Peru’s minister of Culture. “Technology has allowed us to see the face of a political and religious leader from a culture from the past.”

The Lady of Cao was buried with a crown, as well as gold and copper items. Also found in the grave were a number of weapons, including two war clubs and 23 spear throwers. Rather scarily, a strangled adolescent was also found near the Lady’s remains, prompting some to believe that this person may have been a sacrifice to help guide to the Lady into the afterlife.

The 3D printed recreation will be displayed in Peru's Culture Ministry in Lima until July 16. It will then be shown at the museum at El Brujo.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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