Being Human # 2: Reconstructing identity – a new look at the ancient dead

Something I wrote for ‘Stories from the Museum Floor’, as part of the #BeingHuman series.

Stories from the Museum Floor

Being Human #2: Reconstructing identity – a new look at the ancient dead

Continuing the idea of what it is to be human … The representation and construction of identity is all around us – the age of the ‘selfie’ perhaps displaying this more overtly than ever. The image, particularly of the face – just as the fingerprint – has become a signifier of our identity, and a reflection of our humanity. Being human, more so today than ever before, includes being an individual. And although the technologies associated with the face as a means of identification may be new, the idea of visually representing identity dates back millennia.

 Likewise, the curiosity connected with discovering and representing the faces of our ancestors is not a new thing; whether this is looking at old photos and seeing whether we have inherited our grandparents’ ears, or analysing our DNA to trace…

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