Remembering St Brice's Day, 13 November 1002: reconstructing faces from human remains
  • Date 13 November 2023 - 5.00 p.m.
  • Location Auditorium, Garden Quad, St John's College

Caroline Wilkinson

In this lecture, Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of the Forensic Research Institute (FORRI) at Liverpool John Moores University, will describe the reconstruction of faces from human remains for forensic identification and archaeological investigation and will provide historical context along with a description of methods and related research. Examples from archaeological investigations will illustrate the discussion, including Kings and Queens (Richard III, Mary Queen of Scots, Robert the Bruce and Ramesses II) together with cases from British history.

The lecture will also present the use of these methods in disaster victim identification and the forensic investigation of unidentified remains. The presentation will culminate in a description of the young Viking from St John’s and show examples of the method and final depiction.

This lecture is part of a series of events at St John's on 12 and 13 November remembering St Brice's Day on 13 November 1002. Register for the lecture and see the full programme of events here.

St Brice Day massacre reconstructed skeleton_edited

Professor Caroline Wilkinson is Director of the Forensic Research Institute (FORRI) at Liverpool John Moores University. She is a chartered forensic anthropologist Level I (craniofacial specialism) by the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) and is an experienced forensic practitioner.

Caroline is also Director of Face Lab, a LJMU research group that carries out forensic/archaeological research and consultancy work including craniofacial analysis, facial depiction and forensic art. Craniofacial analysis involves the depiction and identification of unknown bodies for forensic investigation or historical figures for archaeological interpretation. Face Lab research relates to facial identification, craniofacial reconstruction, preserved bodies and facial animation.

Caroline received a NESTA fellowship at the University of Manchester to develop a 3D computerised facial reconstruction system for use in forensic and archaeological depiction. She was also Head of Human Identification in the award-winning Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification at the University of Dundee.

Caroline has appeared in multiple television series, including Meet the Ancestors (BBC), History Cold Case (BBC), Expert Witness (C4), Real Crime (C5), Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2022 (BBC) and Secrets of the Dead (PBS).