Dante Alighieri Facial Reconstruction

September 21, 2010

This paper describes the multi-disciplinary approach to reconstruct the face of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321). Since Dante's sepulchre will be opened in 2021, the reconstructive process is based on morphological and metric data collected on the poet's cranium during the formal identification of his remains in 1921 by the anthropologist Fabio Frassetto, as well as on the resulting plaster model. Starting from this plaster model and a morphologically compatible reference mandible, since the original mandible was never found, a 3D digital model of the complete skull was obtained by reverse engineering and virtual modelling techniques. The most important aspect in this work was the method of virtual modelling proposed for the ex novo generation of the mandible. The physical model of the skull (cranium + mandible) was then produced by means of a rapid prototyping system. This model was finally used to recreate Dante's face via traditional facial reconstruction techniques currently used in forensic anthropology.

Benazzi et al. "The face of the poet Dante Alighieri reconstructed by virtual modelling and forensic anthropology techniques". J Archaeol Sci, 2009.