Ancient Nabataean woman reconstructed in UK to be displayed in Saudi Arabia

Recreated women from 'mysterious civilisation' will be displayed at Hegra Welcome Centre in AlUla

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UK archaeologists, anthropologists and academics have worked for years on what is believed to be the first known reconstruction of an ancient Nabataean woman’s face.

The woman, known as Hinat, is thought to have died about the first century BC and her remains were found in a tomb on the outskirts of the ancient city of Hegra, in Saudi Arabia.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, forensic reconstruction experts and a 3D sculptor were involved in the reconstruction and after a 3D model was completed and validated in July 2020, work began on making moulds to produce a silicon bust.

The reconstruction will be displayed at the Hegra Welcome Centre in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, from February 6.

Dr Christopher Tuttle, a Nabataean specialist, said it was “the first chance we have to really envision what these people looked like”.

“One of the problems in Nabataean archaeology and the study of the people is we lack images of them," Dr Tuttle said.

“They’re not portrayed very often in their own art, and for many decades of people working at Nabataean archaeological sites, we didn’t have very many human remains.”

Dr Helen McGauran, project lead for the reconstruction, said: “They’re still a fairly mysterious civilisation to a lot of people.

“I hope that this project will enable people to engage with the faces, the characters, the story of the Nabataeans in a much deeper way than perhaps has previously been realised.”

The Nabataeans were a group thought to be from central Arabia who became wealthy as the result of trade.

Their civilisation was said to have been a diverse one, while they carved “fabulously elaborate tombs into the sandstone cliffs that surround Hegra”, according to National Geographic.

Perhaps their most famous work was the Treasury building in Petra, Jordan.

Updated: February 06, 2023, 6:56 AM