Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A response to the King Tut facial reconstruction

A very short article on the Contra Costa Times website's Letters Page. This is buried in the middle of a page, and the URL doesn't seem to work very consistently so I have reproduced the full letter here:

"Deceitful propaganda:

The recent artistic recreation of King Tut's head is a deceitful travesty of Egyptology. Forensic artists who recreate faces of historic personalities are accustomed to identifying anonymous murder victims when only skeletal evidence is available. The best forensic artists are amazingly accurate and their recreations often match well with murder victims' photographs. Therefore, those artists are credible and valuable when called on to recreate ancient historic figures.

However, in such cases, the artist's credibility is maintained only if the historic figure remains anonymous to the artist. This eliminates the tendency for prejudice. Two years ago, such credibility remained intact when the first recreation of Tut was done, because that artist didn't know his subject's identify. The face he sculpted, based on provided data, looked decidedly Negroid; similar to all ancient sculptures made of Tut when he was alive. The most recent recreation of Tut, ordered by Zahi Hawass, Egypt's secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, looked more like an Arab. That recreation was the result of a team of artists; some of them knew who the subject was. That taints the process and reeks of a set-up. Obviously, the recent recreation of Tut is not scholarship. It's propaganda".
(By Frederick Franklin, Richmond)

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