by Olga BAZANOVA, journalist
Faces of Ages Long Past (Nauka Publishers, Moscow, 2006) is a collection of sorts presenting 249 sculptural and graphic portraits of representatives of various civilizations who had lived hundreds and thousands of years ago. The book sums up the results of five decades of work by Galina Lebedinskaya, Cand. Sc. (Biol.). It was owing to the author's reconstruction of our ancestors' appearance on the basis of skeletal remains that she managed at long last "to see" what they looked like.
Mikhail Gerassimov, Dr. Sc. (Hist.)*, an anthropologist, archeologist and sculptor, has made a most important contribution to the elaboration of a method for the restoration of facial features on the basis of the skull, which has made it possible to compare visually the physical types of the people of past epochs and of our days. A subtle morphologist and artist, he discovered a certain correlation between the features of the bone structure and soft tissues that has formed the basis of his concept. Control tests conducted by Gerassimov and his disciples confirmed the accuracy of this approach. So it was used henceforward to study the evolution of formation and development of man's physical appearance, change in racial types in the course of migration and amalgamation of nations and also to determine someone's identity on the basis of the skull in criminological practice.
In 1950 Mikhail Gerassimov set up an anthropological reconstruction laboratory at the Institute of Ethnography
* See: M. Gerassimova, H. Medvedev. "Reincarnating Images of the Past," Science in Russia, No. 5, 1998. - Ed.
Process of graphic reconstruction of face.
of the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology named after N. N. Miklukho-Maklay), thus laying the foundation of research in this field in Russia. The fact is that Galina Lebedinskaya, who had a thorough knowledge in the sphe ... Read more