Producing the likenesses of these people from nineteenth-century Frankfort took hours of painstaking attention to scientific detail, combined with artistic vision. In modeling the three-dimensional busts, the forensic artist applied clay to laser-made plastic casts of the skulls.
Muscle, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, veins, and fat lie beneath the skin on our faces. But before the forensic artist could correctly fashion these people’s faces, she had to know exactly how thick the tissue would have been. That information came from two different sources. One was charts and documents that report the average tissue depths for both sexes and for people of different ethnic heritage. The other source was the human bone analysis of the Old Frankfort Cemetery population, which identified the age, sex, and ethnic heritage of the person.
Tissue depth varies slightly from person to person, and changes with a person’s weight. From other information about these people provided by the project’s biological anthropologist, the artist knew whether to make the person strong and muscular or underweight.