Researchers reconstruct face of Cambridge skeleton

Caithlin Ng 23 March 2017

The face of an unidentified medieval skeleton found buried beneath St. John’s College in 2012 has recently been reconstructed by researchers.

The skeleton, labelled Context 958, is believed to have belonged to a man who died around the age of 40, over 700 years ago. He was found buried on the grounds of the Hospital of St John the Evangelist, a charitable institution that accepted those who were ill or homeless.

The research team was headed by Professor John Robb, a Fellow at Peterhouse College and a Professor of European Prehistory. The researchers analysed the skeleton’s bones and teeth to unearth details about him, including the fact that his diet was rich in protein, more usually found in that of wealthy people.

“[This] may suggest that he was in a trade or job which gave him more access to these foods than a poor person might have normally had,” said Professor Robb.

“But, we are interested in him and in people like him more for ways in which they are not unusual, as they represent a sector of the medieval population which is quite hard to learn about – ordinary poor people.”