Face-to-face meeting at Expo 2020 with a Serbian healer from 10,000 years ago
Serbian scientists have brought history to life in an Expo pavilion that gives visitors the opportunity to interact with a model shaman who lived around 10,000 years ago.
A digital reconstruction animated the facial expressions of prehistoric man whose skeletal remains were found in eastern Serbia on the banks of the Danube.
Visitors line up to interact with the model in the country pavilion, where software captures their facial expressions and asks the former healer to reflect them on a big screen.
Organizers hope face search technology will help digitally reconstruct famous historical figures and allow wider use in a wide range of industries, not only in education and museums, but also in games and entertainment. .
Professor Sofija Stefanovic, who led the team of scientists behind the exhibition, spoke with The National on how bone analysis of ancient skeletal remains helped them understand prehistoric man’s diet, movement, and appearance.
Scientists have combined forensic knowledge with osteology – the study of bones – to animate the answers.
Giving a structure to the face of an ancient man and allowing Expo visitors to “breathe life into it” will engage visitors, said Stefanovic.
She said there were limitless possibilities for the applications of technology.
The exhibition kick off begins with a tour of the pavilion and queues for children and adults.
“I wanted to see how far he could move his neck and if his eyes were blinking,” said Rezan Sharaf, 12, of Egypt.
âI’ve felt since he’s been sleeping for thousands of years, it’s good to wake him up with a lot of action,â he said.
Unique burial place
The project, Digital Ancient People, constructed the face of the man whose remains were discovered at the Lepenski Vir site in eastern Serbia in the late 1960s. His skull was kept in a laboratory in Belgrade.
Anthropological analysis shows that he was around 55 years old when he died, was 178 cm tall, weighed around 70 kg, and his diet consisted mainly of fish.
Researchers believe the man was a shaman due to the position in which the skeleton was found.
Professor Stefanovic said the skeleton was found lying on its back with the legs in the lotus position – an indicator of its important role in the community.
“This unique burial position is often interpreted as a position in which individuals whose role was more spiritual for society are buried,” said the associate professor of the department of archeology and philosophy at the University of Belgrade.
“His burial position is very similar to the body position during meditation and for this reason some scientists believe that this position may indicate that he was a shaman.”
Cinematographic and historical projects
The creators animated and revived the human face using clay, digital reconstruction and a 3D printed replica.
âIn museums, this approach can transform the presentation of ancient peoples to the public and allow visitors to experience their emotions and interactions live,â said Prof Stefanovic.
“For governments, this is an opportunity to create digital models of important historical figures and to bring history to life.”
Realistic digital models of ancient peoples could also be used in the film and game industry, she said.
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Updated: December 26, 2021, 12:02