Previously, we had covered the reconstruction of Ava, a young woman who lived around 3,700 years ago, in Achavanich, the northern tip of Scotland. Well, this time around, we go further back in history, harking to the Neolithic period 9,000 years ago. To that end, researchers have been able to reconstruct a young girl given the moniker of Avgi (‘Dawn’), who lived during circa 7000 BC – thus being among the first inhabitants of what is now considered mainland Greece. Corresponding to the end of the Mesolithic Period, Avgi probably resided at the Cave of Theopetra in Thessaly, Central Greece. The ancient address was discerned by the proximate burial place, where the remains revealed how the girl met her unfortunate demise at an early age of 18 to 25.
The reconstruction was revealed at the Dawn at the Dawn of Civilization seminar, held at the Acropolis Museum, with the project being headed by Manolis Papagrigorakis, Orthodontist and Assistant Professor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Other experts ranging from endocrinologists, orthopedists, neurologists to pathologists, and radiologists, took part in the fascinating endeavor to recreate the visage of the Neolithic inhabitant of Greece. According to the presentation made at the aforementioned event –
Avgi had a height of 1.57 m. while the anthropological examination brought up evidence of mild alterations of inflammation, possible anemia or scurvy, as well as suspicions of an endocrine or metabolic problem. She also had remarkable prognathism, while dietary studies suggest food consumption from an inland environment rather than a marine one.
Now in terms of history, the Cave of Theopetra was among the first of the cavernous spaces that had been archaeologically excavated in Thessaly and is the only one to date with Mesolithic deposits. The remains of Avgi (whose name symbolizes the dawn of civilization in Greece) were identified and analyzed way back in 1993, while the present-day recreation involved an international team including Oscar Nilsson, a forensic artist based in Sweden. Prof. Konstantinos Bourazelis at the University of Athens, commented on Papagrigorakis’ achievement –
Distant times are not easily at the center of interest, thus we are facing big gaps. There, you have found a key place of activity and with your scientific ability you have managed a small ‘miracle’: ‘Resurrecting’ people, bringing them closer to us and providing us with a detailed representation of data as it has never been achieved before.