Stunning Reconstruction Reveals The Face Of A 1,200-Year-Old Peruvian Queen


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Oscar Nilsson

A report in National Geographic has described how the face of a Peruvian Queen dating back 1,200 years has been reconstructed.

Known as the Huarmey Queen, the woman was believed to be 60 years old. Her remains were found in a tomb called El Castillo de Huarmey, located on the coast of Peru, back in 2012.


Scientists have now been able to reconstruct her face. Archaeologists Mi?osz Giersz and Oscar Nilsson looked at the skull’s construction and used datasets to estimate the thickness of muscle and flesh on the bone. Her face was then built around a 3D-printed model of her skull.

Nilsson used photographs of indigenous Andeans living near the tomb for reference. After 220 hours of work, he recreated what she looked like. He even used real hair from an elderly Andean woman, bought from a Peruvian wig market, to reconstruct her haircut.

“If you consider the first step to be more scientific, I gradually come into a more artistic process, where I need to add something of a human expression or spark of life,” Nilsson told National Geographic. “Otherwise, it’d look very much like a mannequin.”

The 3D-printed skull. Oscar Nilsson

Her tomb was located on a site that was once a temple complex for the Wari culture, which lived there for centuries before the Incas moved in. In total, 58 noblewomen were buried in the tomb, including four queens or princesses.


There are a few clues that the Huarmey Queen was among the elite. First, she was buried in her own private chamber, and surrounded with luxuries including a ceremonial ax and a silver goblet.

Her skeleton suggested she had spent most of her life sitting, possibly weaving, with textiles at the time more desirable than gold or silver. And some of her teeth were missing, with the decay hinting that she had regularly drunk a sugary drink only the Wari elite were allowed to drink, called chicha.

The reconstruction of her face is now on public display at the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, Poland, available for anyone to see.

This isn’t the only reconstruction news we’ve heard lately. Yesterday, it was revealed that the face of a Scottish soldier had been digitally recreated, showing what this man from the 17th century looked like.


[H/T: National Geographic]

Oscar Nilsson


Oscar Nilsson


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