14th-century woman’s face revealed by Whithorn Priory

THE face of a 14th-century woman buried on a bed of seashells at Whithorn Priory will be revealed today as part of Wigtown Book Festival.

The woman’s features have been recreated in a three-dimensionial (3D) animation, with sound.

Her face is being unveiled ahead of “Bishops, Bones, and Burials”, a Whithorn Trust event that will take place on Friday as part of the book festival.

Adrian Maldonado, who leads the “Cold Case Whithorn” project for National Museums Scotland, will be joined at the event by cranio-facial anthropologist Chris Rynn, and Kirsty Dingwall of Headland Archaeology.

Animations of a cleric with a cleft palate, and Bishop Walter of Whithorn, who died in 1235, have also been created.

The “Cold Case Whithorn” project has re-examined 52,000 items excavated from Whithorn Priory.

Maldonado said: “The famous excavations at Whithorn were a huge leap forward in the archaeology of Christianity and, amazingly, they continue to bring new insights into life in medieval Scotland.

“These graves were discovered decades ago, when they could not have anticipated the kinds of questions we can now ask.

“In addition to generating critical new scientific data about health and diet in the past, the people of medieval Whithorn continue to inspire stories.

“What could be a better testament to the value of curating archaeological collections in museums?”

The researchers don’t know why the woman, who was in her 20s, was buried on a bed of shells.

Wigtown Book Festival runs until 2 October.

Read more news and reviews on Scottish Field’s culture pages.

Plus, don’t miss an interview with fiddle makers Colin and Findlay Tulloch in October’s luxury issue of Scottish Field magazine.