The face of a 4,000-year-old dog has been brought back to life by a team of researchers and forensic artists.
In 1901, archaeologists found the 4,000-year-old remains of at least 24 dogs in Cuween Hill chambered cairn on Orkney, off the northern coast of Scotland.
Now, a team of scientists at Edinburgh University’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies has CT-scanned one of the Cuween Hill canine skulls.
This enabled the researchers to make a 3D print, which was in turn used by forensic artist Amy Thornton to create a realistic model of the dog’s head, building up muscle, skin and hair in the same way she would approach a human head.
The dog is the size of a large collie, and has features reminiscent of a European grey wolf, the Cuween dog has much to tell us, not only about ceremonial practices and the symbolic significance of the dog in Late Neolithic Orkney but also about the appearance of domestic dogs in the third millennium BCE.
The reconstruction was originally created in clay using traditional methods, with a 3D print of the Cuween Hill skull as the base to build the anatomy on to. The completed sculpture was then cast in silicone and finished with the fur coat resembling a European grey wolf, as advised by experts. The resulting model gives us a fascinating glimpse at this ancient animal.