Sometimes, scientific discoveries and feats raise not only answers but also questions, and the recently-unveiled replica of pre-Inca ruler Lady of Cao is no exception. The resin likeness of the mummy's original face has hit headlines around the world, leaving many wondering about the process behind its reconstruction. Engineer Juan Jose Soto, a member of the team in charge of said facial reconstruction, explains the 10-month process involved state-of-the-art technology: cutting-edge 3D printing and laser scanning on both the mummy’s face and body remains.
"By loading this information onto a computer, we have been able to recreate the tissues and muscles to calculate her face's volume," the expert told El Peruano official gazette. But it was not all about the past. The study also documented the resemblance between the pre-Hispanic leader and current populations settled in northern Peru, where the 1700-year-old mummy was discovered over 10 years ago.
"We have compared [the physical traits of] close to 30 women to get a range of colors and textures. The face and skull shape have remained fairly similar," he explained. Luis Graterol, regional representative of 3D measurement firm Faro Technologies, echoed this view noting locals have remained "ethnically the same" for 1700 years.
The said study also revealed the presence of Lady of Cao's Moche kingdom descendants in the area where she was found. The highly-accurate life-size reconstructed face was revealed on Tuesday during a ceremony led by Peru's Culture Minister Salvador del Solar and his Foreign Trade and Tourism peer Eduardo Ferreyros.
"The Lady of Cao discovery showed the political and religious role of females in the rich culture of northern Peru, while the current event presents a combination between the future and past" the Culture head stated at the time. The replica will remain on display thru July 17 at the Culture Ministry's hall in Lima’s San Borja district.
The 3D reconstruction of her face was carried out by Wiese Foundation and El Brujo archaeological site, in partnership with Faro Technologies, 3D Systems, Grupo Abstract and ARQ 3D.