Haven’t we seen Roo before? Digital reconstruction of 15th-Century Benedictine monk’s face show he looked like an elderly Wayne Rooney
- Image of medieval Benedictine abbot was constructed from well-preserved skull
- Abbot John of Wheathampstead’s is second face from 15th-century to be seen
- Digitally reconstructed images show the abbot faintly resembles Wayne Rooney
- Experts put together image with CT scans of remains and biographical details
A digital reconstruction of a 15th-century monk’s face have shown he faintly resembled an elderly Wayne Rooney.
The image of the medieval Benedictine abbot has been digitally constructed from a well-preserved skull.
Drawing on biographical details as well as the remains of Abbot John of Wheathampstead, experts put together the image with CT scans, The Guardian reported.
The remains were unearthed in December 2017 during excavations at St Albans Cathedral, Hertfordshire.
While some have said the digital reconstruction resembles Wayne Rooney, another has said Mikhail Gorbachev, or the former Labour home secretary John Reid.
Experts used a well-preserved skull, unearthed at St Albans Abbey in 2017, and biographical information to put together a digital reconstruction of Abbot John of Wheathampstead
One of those supervising the work, Professor James Clark from Exeter University, said it was the ‘first accurate representation’ of a monastic figure before 1500 in England, according to the BBC.
The excavation in 2017 took place with the aim of discovering as much as possible before a Welcome Centre for visitors was built, so that any findings weren’t damaged or disturbed.
In January 2017, they uncovered a 15-century skeleton which was identified as that of Abbot John of Wheathampstead, who died in 1465.
Experts were able to identify the body because of three papal bulls issued by Pope Martin V which were found accompanying the skeleton.
Scientific foundations and artistic visualisation were done by the team at the Face Lab, based at Liverpool John Moore University.
Biogrpahical information was provided from the documentary sources by Professor James Clark at Exeter University.
Some have said the reconstruction faintly resembles Wayne Rooney but Professor Caroline Wilkinson said, while the ears resemble Rooney, the face proportions are similar to Mikhail Gorbachev
In a post on the St Albans Cathedral website, Professor Clark wrote: ‘It is a genial face, suggesting a gentle, even a warm and engaging character; and faintly familiar: this could be the friend or neighbour of many years’ standing, perhaps the stalwart member of the parish congregation.
‘Like any of those, it is a face that speaks of life experience; of the passage of time; of service given.’
He added: ‘The facial reconstruction of the abbot equally enhances our view of medieval England.
‘His is only the second face from the fifteenth century to be seen, nearly ten years after Richard III was revealed before the nation’s eyes.
‘Abbot Wheathampstead is also only the second churchman of medieval England to be the subject of research of this kind.’
Director of Face Lab based at Liverpool John Moores University Professor Caroline Wilkinson, who led the project, said she doesn’t think the reconstruction looks like anyone in particular.
She said the only similarity between the reconstruction and Rooney are the ears, while similar proportions in the face could make it resemble Gorbachev.
Abbot John was known for his florid complexion, according to Professor Clark, unkindly described as ‘girlish blushing’.
He suffered with chronic health conditions from his fifties, which was reportedly in his spleen, kidneys, liver and stomach and he only walked with a walking stick.