The face of one of Scotland’s oldest druids has been revealed in a stunning new 3D wax reconstruction by a Tayside student.
The toothless Iron Age woman, nicknamed Hilda by her creator, is believed to have been from Stornoway and to have been aged around 60 when she died.
Karen Fleming, an MSc forensic art and facial identification student at Dundee University, based the head on an ancient skull held at Edinburgh university’s Anatomical Museum.
It is described as one of six Druids of the Hebrides skulls presented to the Phrenological Society of Edinburgh in 1833.
Ms Fleming 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.”
She said Hilda’s longevity was an impressive feat since the typical female’s life expectancy at the time was around 31 years.
It is thought she may have come from a privileged background.
It is not possible to know exactly when Hilda died since Ms Fleming was unable to carbon date the skull.
However, she estimates it would have been between 55BC and 400AD, and that she was of Celtic origin.
On her creation, she said: “I think she looks like many older women I’ve met in my life and I’m proud of that.”
Reproducing Hilda’s features in wax meant the recreation almost melted during this year’s hot weather.
Ms Fleming said: “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 summer.”
And as a mature student commuting from Edinburgh, she had to keep the wax reconstruction cool and strapped into the passenger seat in her car.
Ms Fleming said: “I’m sure that’s a sight passers-by won’t forget seeing.”
Hilda will go on display at this year’s Dundee University Masters Show, which runs from August 16 to August 25.