“Søgnekvinnen” – Norway’s Oldest Human Skeleton

SøgnekvinnenShe was found in 1994, three feet below sea level in Søgne Municipality outside Kristiansand. A man was cleaning the seabed when he spotted an object in the mud. He thought it resembled an old jar, and thought it might fit on the mantelpiece. He took it out of the water and lifted it toward the sun, but it was not a jar.

Beside the skull, a leg bone and thigh bone from the same individual was found. The skeletal remains derived from a woman aged 35 to 40 years, and C14-dating shows that she lived about 8600 years ago. The “Søgne Woman”, also known as “The Lady from the Sea” and “Sol’”, is therefore the oldest skeleton of human ever found in Norway.

A computed tomographic scan was conducted. A special X-ray machine stored a number of slices of the skull. The images were then assembled into a three dimensional model. Scientists measured the soft tissue at specific points in the faces of eight women, calculated an average, and used it as a template for the imposition of the soft parts of the digital skull.

Her nose and lips were modeled with a certain artistic freedom. Since the skull was missing the lower jaw, it had to be improvised. The skeleton suggests that the woman was about five feet (156 centimeters) tall, while the teeth indicate an age of 35-40 years old. The woman’s diet was based on sea food like fish, shellfish, crabs, seals and whale. Her teeth had no cavities, but they were worn. This may indicate that she had used them as a tool, for example to process skin and leather.

-I think the visualization can help increase the people’s curiosity. Just bones can be so abstract. For us it was a point to make the past less distant, to show that the Stone Age was a vibrant part of our history. The image we made shows a woman who looked like you and me. She would fit right into the population, senior scientist Berit Sellevold at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) told in an interview.


Text modified by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews

Photo: Kulturnett

Source: Store Norske Leksikon, Wikipedia

Categories: Culture, History

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