A life-size 3D model of an elderly woman smiling while clutching a walking stick appears like a modern grandma taking a stroll around her community.
In truth, this lady existed in Norway close to 800 years ago, and the figure that you see here is a sculpted life-sized reconstruction based on her skeleton.
Through her Facebook page on October 7th, Ellen Grav, an archaeologist working at the University Museum of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), exposed the world to the lifelike replica that had been given the name “Tora.”
The image of Tora is being shown in an exhibition that is being held at the museum of NTNU. (The name Tora was chosen by respondents to a survey of the general public that was carried out by NRK, a Norwegian broadcasting organization.)
Tora was born in the latter part of the 1200s in the city of Trondheim, which is located in the middle of Norway. According to the museum, during that time period, the medieval metropolis was quickly expanding and was populated by individuals engaged in a variety of commercial activities.
Even though there are no written records of Tora, archaeologists were able to put together a tale about her life based on indications from her skeletal remains and the location where her body was excavated. This medieval woman lived in the Middle Ages.
Grav shared this information with Live Science in an email, saying, “We know that she was buried in the graveyard near the street where the merchants resided.” “This points to the possibility that she grew up in the household of a wealthy businessman.”
Archaeologists have a strong suspicion that the people who were interred in this graveyard belonged to a rich social class.
Grav stated that “we do feel that she must have lived a fairly nice life for her time” because Tora lived to be about 65 years old, which is considered very ancient for the period. “We do believe that she must have enjoyed a somewhat good life for her time.”
The discovery of a spinal abnormality in Tora’s bones led Grav and the other members of her team to the conclusion that Tora walked with her back arched. In addition to this, she was missing all of her bottom teeth and had done so for a significant portion of her life prior to passing away.
The archaeologists saw that Tova’s spine was curved, and she was lacking teeth. Grav explained that these characteristics suggested “evidence of hard effort and lifetime wear on the skeleton.”
Grav collaborated with Thomas Foldberg, a Danish film industry makeup artist, to bring Tora’s appearance as close as possible to that of a real person.
Foldberg focused on Tora’s skeleton in order to assist generate a 3D model of what this medieval woman may have looked like. This is in contrast to the majority of face reconstructions, which entail utilizing either X-rays or CT scans.
According to Grav, Foldberg utilized silicone for Tora’s skin and “hand painted liver stains and other spots” on her body. Tora’s hair was also “hand painted” by Foldberg.
Grav stated that each every follicle of hair in the brows, lashes, and facial hair were secured with a single thread of adhesive. “This is a genuinely remarkable piece of artistic work.”
Marianne Vedeler, a textile professor at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Oslo in Norway, conducted research using archeological discoveries from the region that corresponded to the time period in which Tora lived. This study was used to create Tora’s outfit. Vedeler then enlisted the help of a few local dressmakers to create an ensemble for the model.
“Tora’s outfit was produced for us by Nille Glaesel, who is an expert seamstress of Viking and medieval gowns [located in Norway],” Grav added. “She used historical techniques to make the dress for us.” “She spun the yarn, woven the cloth in, and dyed it using Rubia tinctorum, which is also referred to as rose madder.
Following that, she finished the outfit by hand sewing it after [Vedeler’s] reconstruction. Additionally, she crafted the shoes. Since we have a significant number of shoe artifacts from Trondheim, it was not difficult for us to determine how the shoes should seem.
Grav stated that it was very crucial for them to give the audience the sensation of a cordial greeting in order to better link them with the medieval human. This is shown in Tora’s face, which is warm and welcoming.
“People usually have the tendency to assume the medieval eras were gloomy and heavy, but there was also pleasure and happiness throughout that time period, people loved each other, and some even lived for a very long time.”
Although Tora’s life was difficult, I’m sure she enjoyed some moments of happiness along the way. I really hope that people realize that they were humans just like us, that they looked like us, that they had sentiments just like us, and that they were people just like us as well.”
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