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Ancient facial reconstruction created from one of Scotland's earliest Pictish graves

Updated: Apr 10, 2018

The face of an ancient Pict has been digitally recreated using evidence from a Pictish burial discovered in Highland Perthshire. For archaeology and history news alerts, sign up to the History Scotland newsletter.

In 1986, a long cist burial was uncovered at Bridge of Tilt near Blair Atholl in the Highlands, dating to 340-615AD, making it one of the earliest Pictish graves found in Scotland. The cist contained the skeleton of a man who had died in his forties. Analyses of his bones suggested that he was used to hard work. 

GUARD Archaeology Ltd, with support from Historic Environment Scotland, are working with several local community groups including Blair Atholl Country Life Museum, Perth Museum and Art Gallery, the Clan Donnachaidh Society, the local Community Council and local primary school to undertake further investigations and analysis based on the burial.

As part of this, the team worked with forensic artist Hayley Fisher to create a digital reconstruction of the man. This reconstruction, as well as the skeleton, is on display as part of ‘Picts and Pixels’ summer exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery.

Get involved with the Ancient Pict project

A sample from the skeleton is currently being assessed for DNA analysis and samples for isotope analysis will be taken to provide information on diet and where the man originated from. In addition, GUARD Archaeology will be undertaking fieldwork in Blair Atholl over the weekend of 18 - 21 Aug

ust 2017 with volunteers, which will include historical research, geophysical survey and trial trenching. Anyone interested in taking part should contact Bob Will at GUARD Archaeology.

For more on the work of GUARD Archaeology, visit their website.

(image copyright GUARD Archaeology LTD/Hayley Fisher)

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