The Face Of A Canary Island Guanche Woman, Reconstructing Ancestors

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Reconstruction of a Guanche settlement of Tenerife (CC BY-SA 3.0) and reconstructed face(Provided by author) Deriv.

The Face Of A Canary Island Guanche Woman, Reconstructing Ancestors

The narratives of history relate the fates and dates of nameless, faceless people who came before us, often reduced only to numbers, but when forensic facial reconstruction puts a face to history, the personalized features tell a story of what it was like to be human, way back then. In such a way a skull, previously only referred to as ‘individual A-46’ in the Anatomical Museum at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, became a Guanche woman, in the hands of Karina Osswald, a forensic reconstruction artist.

The precolonial inhabitants of Tenerife in the Canary Islands came to be known as the Guanches, sharing common origins with the Berbers of the North African coastline, probably the northern Africa Amazigh clans, mainly from Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania and Libya. It is believed that they arrived on the archipelago some time during the first millennium BC. The compelling image of the Guanche woman so gripped Ancient Origins author Gustavo Sánchez Romero, who was born on Tenerife, that he traced and interviewed the artist Karina Osswald. 

Guanches on Tenerife. (R. Liebau/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Guanches on Tenerife. (R. Liebau/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

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