Facial Reconstructions Of Famous People In History Bring Them (Almost) Back To Life

History is often viewed as distant and irrelevant to our modern lives, but we should all remember that people in the past weren’t all that different from us. Some of the clues they left us about their lives are fascinating. Nowadays, with modern techniques and technology, it’s easy reconstruct the faces of these historical people, based on portraits and skeletal remains.

St. Anthony of Padua

Via Cicero Moraes at Wikimedia Commons

St. Anthony was born in Portugal, and spent his life as a Franciscan monk dedicated to preaching the gospel and other good works.  A digital 3D reconstruction of his skull was carried out recently, revealing a surprisingly kind and thoughtful face.

Richard III

Via The Richard III Society

Richard III was King of England from 1483 to 1485. He ruled at a particularly unstable period known as the War of the Roses or the Cousins’ War. His grave was recently found in a parking lot and data from his skull allowed a detailed facial reconstruction.

Nicholas Copernicus

Via Lisby at Flickr

Copernicus was a well known Renaissance mathematician whose remains were found in Frombork Cathedral, Poland in 2005.


Via National Geographic

King Tut was only 19 when he died 3300 years ago. His tomb was discovered in 1922, and proved to be the most intact Egyptian tomb ever found. All of his burial treasures are on display today at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities.

Robert The Bruce

Via The University of Glasgow

Robert the Bruce was one of Scotland’s most fearsome kings, fighting a war of independence against the English. His facial reconstruction reveals a stocky warrior who suffered from leprosy towards the end of his life.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Via The University of Dundee

Mary was by birth the rightful Queen of Scotland and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth I. She grew up in France but soon returned to Scotland to reclaim her throne. She lost her life after being imprisoned and beheaded by Elizabeth, for fear that she may usurp the English Throne.


Via The University of Melbourne

No one knows what Meritamun’s real name is, as her mummified head was found without a body. All researchers know is that she lived about 2000 years ago and was about 18-25 when she died. She was also very fond of honey or sugar, due to the tooth decay found on her skull, and suffered from anemia which may have been the cause of her death.

Featured image by Bridget McKenzie via Flickr/ CC BY 2.0