ART AS DATA: Informing pre-historic facial depictions in Central America
It is nearly impossible to depict with certainty ancient hairstyles, costumes and skin decorations for facial reconstructions of pre-historic human remains; simply because decomposable materials often do not exist in the archaeological record. I propose that clues to visualize ancient people beyond the reconstructed flesh can be gathered from associated artefacts that survive to the present day. For this project, these are the ceramic effigies and grave goods found with the pre-Columbian burials.
In ‘ART AS DATA’ ascertaining material culture as data offers opportunities to increase the accuracy of facial depictions of ancient pre-historic peoples. Ceramic clues and additional archaeological data have informed a ‘most probable’ depiction of an ancient person discovered in a burial site at La Regla in Costa Rica.
Is the ‘most probable’ possible? With this line of inquiry, I arrive at the intersection of art and science, between objective scientific method and the subjectivity of art. This research study aims to establish a method of convergence for facial reconstruction artists and archaeological scientists, whereby an ‘ART AS DATA’ approach can establish reasonably accurate, non-biased, visual depictions of ancient Central Americans evidentiary of their indigenous culture and in their time.