The Facial Reconstruction of Simon Sudbury

The 3-Dimensional Clay Reconstruction

Pegging the Skull

The skull was mounted onto a pole in the Frankfurt Plane using plaster-of paris.  Tissue depth data was chosen depending on the age, sex, and ancestry of Simon.  In this case I used the average tissue depth data for a white European male aged 60+.  Tissue depth markers were placed at common facial anthropological points. 

The Neck

The neck was sculpted around the pole using a block of clay that was wide enough to support the head.  The sternocleidomastoid was formed by a large sausage-shaped piece of clay that was attached so as to appear vertical from the side, but sloping slightly inwards when viewed from the front.

The Temporalis Muscle

The temporalis muscle was built up by adding clay to the side of the skull, filling the space behind the zygomatic arch and progressively getting thinnner towards the inferior temporal line, recreating the natural curve of the head.

The Masseter Muscle

The masseter muscle was sculpted as a chunky rectangular piece of clay at the side of the jaw.  From the front, this muscle should be seen to curve gently towards the lower border of the mandible.

The Positioning of the Eye Globe


Projection of the eye.
The globes used to represent Simon's eyes were 25mm in diameter, which is the standard diameter for an adult.  These were positioned in each orbit so that they were slightly closer to the top than the bottom, and slightly closer to the lateral wall than the medial.
The projection of the eye was determined by creating a tangent between the middle of the upper border of the orbit and the middle of the lower border of the orbit.  The eye was then positioned in the orbit until the flat plane of the iris protruded to the tangent (Wilkinson and Mautner, 2003).

The Orbicularis Oris Muscle and Buccinator Muscles

The orbicularis oris was formed by initially rolling two pieces of clay into sausage shapes and placing them across the area where the upper and lower teeth would have been.  This muscle is formed as a thick oval shape to represent the space between the teeth and the muscle, and the muscle itself.  As there were no teeth present on the skull, the width of the mouth was determined by a perpendicular line radiating from the inner border of the iris (Broadbent and Mathews, 1957).  Two thinner sausage shapes were formed and placed above and below the mouth fissure.  This created the area where the lips attach, forming a 'J'-shape when the muscle is viewed from the side.
The buccinator muscle is a quadrilateral muscle that is formed by adding clay between the masseter muscle and the orbicularis oris, partially filling the space.

The Mentalis, Depressor Labii Inferioris and Depressor Anguli Oris Muscles

The mentalis was sculpted by adding two flat pieces of clay to the chin to form a conical-shape.
The depressor labii inferioris is a quadrilateral muscle, which was created by adding clay from the lower border of the mandible to the skin of the lower lip, overlapping the mentalis.
The depressor anguli oris is a fan-shaped muscle which was formed by adding clay from the lower border of the mandible to the modiolus where the muscle inserts, creating the lateral jaw-line.

The Orbicularis Oculi Muscle


The canthi of the eye.
The orbicularis oculi is a circular muscle which runs around the orbit of the eye.  This was sculpted by rolling a piece of clay into a sausage shape and placing it around the orbit before flattening the clay so it follows the shape of the orbit and bends in towards the eyeball.  The eyelids were then formed by creating two smaller sausage-shapes, which were positioned across the eyeball according to the position of the malar tubercle and lacrimal crest.
The eyelids were placed so they were resting on the upper and lower border of the iris, ensuring a gap was left between the eyeball and the inner and outer canthus where the eyelids meet.

The Nose


Maximum aperture width.
The nose was sculpted according to the description suggested when predicting the facial features.  Measurements were carried out using the standards set by Rynn et al (2009) to ensure that the nasal tip and the projection of the nose were accurate.  After the nose was sculpted, further measurements were used to ensure that the height, length and depth of the nose were correct.  The width of the nose was determined by the maximum aperture width (MAW), which is found to be three-fifths of the maximum nasal width.

The Levator Labii Superioris Alaque Nasi and Levator Labii Superioris Muscles

The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi (coloured in red) was placed as a thin strap-like muscle running laterally to the sculpted nose.
The levator labii superioris (coloured in orange) is sculpted as a flat, fan-shaped muscle which begins at the lower border of the orbit and inserts at the lower lip.

The Zygomaticus Major and Minor Muscles, and the Risorius Muscle

The zygomaticus muscles are both sculpted using thin strips of clay which are supported from behind by extra clay so that they don't collapse under the weight of the skin layer.  These muscles form the profile of the cheeks.
The risorius muscle is also sculpted using a thin strip of clay originating from the parotid fascia and inserting at the corners of the mouth.

The Parotid Gland

The parotid gland (highlighted in blue) was sculpted using irregular lumps of clay to create a lobulated mass that originates below the external auditory meatus and spreads across the masseter muscle remaining just below the zygomatic arch, and covers the area between the mandible and the sternocleidomastoid.

The Ears


The angle of the ear.
The ears were modelled according to the description predicted: large protruding ears that are adherent (meaning they dont have lobes).  The ears were postioned according to Gerasimov (1971), who stated that the angle of the ear can be determined by the angle of the jawline.

The Skin Layer

The final skin layer was applied according to the tissue depth pegs.  Care was taken to ensure that the strips of clay followed the underlying muscle structure.  The details of the face such as the mouth, eyes and eyebrows were modelled according to their predicted description.  As Simon was in his 60's when he died, extra clay was added in areas where natural sagging occurs such as under his eyes and chin.  The cheeks were made to appear sunken because in the skull assessment it was found that the posterior lower teeth would have been missing before he died.  The surface of the head and neck was smoothed and patted with a damp sponge to achieve a matted texture similar to the texture of skin.


Wilkinson, CM. (2010) Facial Reconstruction 2, FO52068, [Lecture notes] Skull Analysis, Depiction & Identification of the Dead.  University of Dundee, Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification, DATE.

Rynn, C.  (2010) Facial Reconstruction Workshop, FO52068, [Handout] No title, Depiction & Identification of the Dead.  University of Dundee, Centre for Anatomy & Human I dentification, DATE.

Wilkinson, CM.  (2004) Forensic Facial Reconstruction.  Cambridge University Press.

Photographs and Illustrations by Adrienne Barker