'A fascinating insight' - Forensic artists recreate the faces of Medieval Edinburgh residents from tram works skull finds

Forensic artists have created images of Medieval residents of Edinburgh - based on skulls found during tram works.

Forensic artist's image of a man whose skull was uncovered during tram works

The human remains, dating back 700 years, were found during excavations of a graveyard in Leith as part of the Trams to Newhaven project.

They were uncovered outside South Leith Parish Church and are believed to date from the 14th and 17th century.

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The faces of a man and woman – both aged between 35 and 50 – were created using a 3D scanner by masters students working in collaboration with the Edinburgh City Council’s archaeologists.

The face of a Medieval Edinburgh woman recreated by forensic artists

Early forensic analysis indicates that the woman may have suffered from nutritional deficiencies.

Excavations were carried out last summer in Constitution Street, where previous investigations showed that in the medieval period the church's graveyard extended across the road with graves surviving beneath the current road surface.

The team of archaeologists, who were working to remove any human remains that could be affected by the tram works, exhumed more than 360 bodies, dating from between 1300 and 1650, as well as finding the apparent remnants of the original medieval graveyard wall.

The remains are now subject to examination and analysis that will reveal information on the origins, health, diseases and diet of the people of medieval Leith.

Council archaeologist John Lawson said: ''These fantastic reconstructions help us connect directly with our forebearers.

"Often, we as archaeologists just see the physical remains but the work undertaken by Dundee University's forensic artists helps put the flesh, so to speak, back onto these remains and by doing so I feel brings them closer to us today.''

Councillor Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: "It's so interesting to see these images.

" It really makes you think about what life could have been like in Leith all those years ago and I look forward to finding out more from the experts analysing the remains found."

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, added: "These images give us a fascinating insight into the lives of the people who lived in our city centuries ago.

"The work being carried out now will not only shed light on the area's past but will help to conserve it for many years to come."

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