Reconstruction is part of research project aimed at gaining insights into the anonymous poor of the medieval city
The face of a Cambridge man who died more than 700 years ago has been reconstructed as part of a project to gain insights into the anonymous poor of the medieval city.
The 13th-century man, known as Context 958 by researchers, was among hundreds whose remains were found in a graveyard under what is now the Old Divinity School of St Johns College.
The cemetery was attached to a hospital and independent charitable foundation for poor and infirm residents between 1200 and 1500, and is one of the largest medieval hospital cemeteries in Britain.
Archaeologists and other specialists are seeking new information on the poor who lived in the city, about whom there is little documentary evidence.
Prof John Robb, of the department of archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University, said: We really dont know much about ordinary poor medieval people and their lives. Most work has focused either on upper middle classes or on celebrity bodies such as Richard III.
Studying the skeletons of the unwashed masses thus has potential to tell us lots of things we would never learn from the written record.
The bodies found beneath St Johns were mostly adults and might have included impoverished scholars and labourers.
The facial reconstruction has been done by Dr Chris Rynn, a lecturer at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee. He applied forensic techniques to estimate the face structure, combining tissue depths and facial anatomy.