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The face of Ancient Greece


Wits links the past and present again, giving an identity to the dead.

Wits researchers were involved in what has been called the most important Greek archaeological discovery in 65 years – the Bronze Age tomb of the so-called Griffin Warrior, filled with a “fabulous hoard of wealth”. Prof Lynne Schepartz and Tobias Houlton (School of Anatomical Sciences) reconstructed the face of the warrior, “one of the powerful men who laid foundations for the Mycenaean civilization, the earliest in Europe”.

Using this expertise closer to home, the School has recently launched a Human Variation and Identification Research Unit. Its director is the School’s Head, Prof Maryna Steyn (PhD 1994), who has also recently been appointed an associate editor of the South African Journal of Science.

The unit’s work includes a component of service to the community, helping to identify dead bodies. The Mail & Guardian recently published a series of in-depth articles on “South Africa’s Forgotten Dead”, supported by Wits’ Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism Fund.