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Read, Watch and Listen

Exploring Dickens on Race

Read about Dickens’ shifting and conflicting perspectives on race and how they are due to be revealed in a forthcoming book

Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam

AHRC funded a research project at the British Museum that underpinned their 2012 international exhibition Hajj: Journey to the heart of Islam

Glasgow Memories

Read about how a fascinating repository of unique interviews about people's working lives in the twentieth century is bringing the past to life in Glasgow

Putting Portus on the map

Read about a major international collaboration that's exploring one of the most important archaeological sites in the world

How green is the Bible?

There are few issues of such pressing political and ethical importance as the impact of human activity on the environment.

3D bust of Ivan the Terrible, Tsar Ivan IV (Gerasimov, 1955)

Dr. Mikhail Gerasimov pioneered research into facial anthropology and developed the technique known as the anatomical method. His research had a significant influence on current facial depiction practice, and focused on an understanding of facial anatomy and the importance of muscle structure and position for the production of a recognisable likeness. Image used with permission of Elizaveta Veselovskaya, Moscow Institute of Sciences.

Reliability assessment (Helmer, 1993)

A double blind accuracy study was carried out by Prof. Dr. Richard Helmer. Two researchers reconstructed 12 skulls following a plan based upon the skull morphology. Each reconstruction (examples A & C) was then compared to an ante-mortem photograph of the subject (examples B) using resemblance ratings from five observers. The results suggested the reconstructions were closer resemblances to each other (50% approximate) than to the subjects (42% slight). Image courtesy of Wiley-Liss Inc.

Tissue depth data

The variation in facial tissue depths between sexes, ages, ethnic groups and different nutritional states has been studied over the last 120 years. Facial tissue depth markers are added at the beginning of the facial depiction process and commonly include 15-34 anatomical points on the skull surface. Image provided by Face Lab, Liverpool John Moores University.

2D method of facial reconstruction – Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor in the USA developed a 2D method involving drawing over a frontal image of the skull. This process included the addition of tissue depth pegs to the skull prior to taking the photographs. Images of the April Lacy case (1982) from Oklahoma City, courtesy of © Karen Taylor.

3D manual method of facial depiction from skeletal remains

The ‘manual method’ is a term applied to a depiction process involving materials such as clay or wax applied by a sculptor onto a skull or skull replica. Initially tissue depth pegs are attached to the skull, then the facial muscles are sculpted following anatomical standards and finally soft tissues and skin are added and aged appropriately to create a finished depiction. Image provided by © Ludo Vermeulen.

Technological advances - Laser scans

Laser scanners and clinical imaging (CT, MRI) have allowed practitioners to use non-invasive replication techniques to reduce the damage to human remains. 3D prints can be produced quickly without a messy plaster or silicone casting processes, or a digital reconstruction can be produced using specialist computer software. Portable laser scanners allow practitioners to visit the remains on site rather than transporting them. Image provided by Face Lab, Liverpool John Moores University.

Technological advances - 3D printing

Advances in 3D printing technology has been embraced by practitioners over the past two decades. It is now possible to print a 3D replica of a skull utilising laser scan or clinical image data before the facial depiction process takes place. Alternatively a 3D replica of a finished bust can be printed and then painted, with eyes, wigs and clothing added, if a physical copy of the reconstruction is required. Images provided by PDR Cardiff (www.pdronline.co.uk).

Automated facial depiction from skeletal remains

An automated facial depiction from skeletal remains system utilises a 3D laser scan collection of skulls and faces. This system created average faces and skulls for different sexes, ages and ancestry groups and then utilised morphing algorithms to warp the relevant average face to the unidentified skull.  Image courtesy of Dr Maria Vanezis (University of Glasgow).

Assessment of accuracy using living subjects

A blind accuracy study, using CT data collected from a living subject, superimposed the facial depiction with the subject’s face (using the skull for alignment) and the contour map represents the differences. Blue represents good accuracy (<2mm) and the largest error (>5mm) is red/orange. 67% of the facial depiction is blue. Image courtesy of Caroline Wilkinson and Chris Rynn, University of Manchester; Myke Taister and Heather Peters, FBI Academy; Stephen Richmond, Cardiff Dental School.

Realistic faces from archaeology

Examples of highly realistic facial depictions created using the 3D manual methods. Left-Right:

  • Lady from the Early Middle Ages, the Netherlands © Maja d’Hollosy (www.skullpting.com)
  • Tut Ankh Amen © P.Plailly, Elisabeth Daynes (www.daynes.com)
  • Phillip II of Macedon © Richard Neave and John Prag (University of Manchester)
  • Richard III © Professor Caroline Wilkinson and Janice Aitken (University of Dundee)

Realistic digital faces from archaeology

Examples of highly realistic facial depictions created using 3D digital methods. Left-Right:

Austria - Vienna

Vienna. XXth International Conference of the Red Cross. Vote during the last plenary session. From 27 September to 9 October 1965.

1965-10 © Fédération / SCHIKOLA, Gustav

South Africa

The Boer War 1899-1902. Group Portrait.

© ICRC archives (ARR)

Spain - Barcelona

Spanish civil war, 1936-1939. Barcelona. People queuing in front of the delegation to fill in requests.

© ICRC

Spain - Madrid

Spanish civil war, 1936-1939. Madrid. The Red Cross Central Hospital.

1937 © CR Espagne

Nigeria - Udo

Biafra conflict. Udo, Swedish Red Cross distribution center. Before a food distribution.

© ICRC / VATERLAUS, Max

Afghanistan - Khyber Pass

Khyber Pass. Convoy of the ICRC from Peshawar to Jalalabad. Convoy of 22 trucks carrying 14 tons of flour each.

1994-05-19 © ICRC / GASSMANN, Thierry

Somalia - Mogadishu

Mogadishu. Internally displaced persons receive food from the ICRC in a joint operation with the Somali Red Crescent.

ICRC website, Operational Update, 31/08/2012

Somalis have continued to suffer the consequences of major food insecurity and conflict over the first half of 2012. Despite the difficult situation, the ICRC has delivered food to 1.4 million people in the country since the beginning of the year.

2012-07 © ICRC / WARSAME, Omar B.

Somalia - Bossasso prison

Bossasso prison. An ICRC delegate is conducting an interview without witness with a detainee.

These interviews allow the ICRC to assess the detention conditions. The ICRC has visited places of detention in Somalia since 2012.

2014-11-05 © ICRC / YAZDI, Pedram

Somalia - Mogadishu

Mogadishu. Internally displaced persons camp. 800,000 people - refugees and displaced persons - are living in huts and ruined buildings in the capital.

2006-12-03 © ICRC / SCHAEFFER, Benoît

Afghanistan

James Nachtwey photographed detainees held by the Afghan authorities like the man in this photo. Sasha, an ICRC interpreter based in Kabul, accompanied him. Afterwards, Sasha spoke of what he had learnt:

"I discovered that many of them had held on to their sense of themselves, that they had emerged intact from some very difficult situations. Sometimes, I ask myself: 'In a situation like theirs, would I have done as well?' How they managed to preserve their dignity: this is the astonishing thing for me."

2009-03, © ICRC/VII / NACHTWEY, James

Fundamental Principles

Fundamental principles of the Red Cross adopted unanimously by the XXth international conference of the Red Cross in Vienna, October 1965.

1965-10 © ICRC archives (ARR)

Afghanistan - Kabul

Kabul. Women and children attending a course on mine awareness.

ICRC provides local mine safety training classes in schools, clinics and mosques throughout Afghanistan. The training courses are provided for men, women and children alike so that Afghans have a clear knowledge of what to avoid in the field.

2006-09-11 © ICRC / AHAD, Zalmaï

Manual marking the UK launch of 'Conovid'

A reworked booklet, focusing on patient FAQs, was circulated in October 1961, anticipating the Family Planning Association’s provision of ‘Conovid’ at select branches, and limited availability (subject to a fee) through the National Health Service. January 1961. Drug Reference Manual No. 85. Searle / 'Conovid'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Superimposition of the newly emblematic round over a couple walking in the snow invokes the nascent role of pharmaceuticals as protectors of marital cooperation

Searle, facing imminent competition in the UK market, sought corporate synonymy with ‘the Pill’. “Conovid oral contraceptive. The responsible answer to a universal problem". Journal ad. [detail], Practitioner, January 1962. Searle / 'Conovid'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Available through select Family Planning Association clinics from summer 1962, 'Anovlar' was heralded as the latest 'no-baby pill' in the press

Company literature, however, proclaimed a pro-baby function, by presenting ‘Anovlar’ as calendrical management tool for precision reproductive forecasting. 1963. Patient’s FAQ booklet. Pharmethicals [Schering] / 'Anovlar'. By kind permission of the Schering Archives, Bayer AG. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Metronomic and horological imagery was common in early Pill advertising

Here, a pendulum infers the rational march of Searle’s research, underpinning new ‘Ovulen’ as ‘the logical outcome of 11 years leadership in oral contraception’. However, mechanical analogies for contraceptive progress in what Marshall McLuhan called the ‘electric age’ were fast becoming outmoded. 1964. Physician's circular / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Journal insert from 'Practitioner'

This creative reminder-style advert imitates a skeletal molecular diagram in combination with the female gender symbol as visual shorthand for Searle’s alternative oral progestin, ethynodiol diacetate [‘Ovulen’]. The goal was an oral contraceptive universally “accepted by women of many different socio-economic and ethnic types”. June 1965. Die-cut bookmark [reverse] / Searle, 'Ovulen'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Alliance through contraception

“If the husband prefers to take charge and be responsible for birth control, he will want to use withdrawal or a sheath. If the wife takes the responsibility she has a wide choice. In either case the needs and views of the other partner will have to be considered”. 1966. Physician's circulars / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

A Somerset folksong, 'Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron' [c.1900] provides the hebdomadal basis for this mailing campaign.

With express reference to 21-day regimens, it is suggested that the domestic schedule of the sixties housewife might be matched to routine self-administration of oral contraceptives. 1966. Physician's circular, No.4 in a series of 7 / Parke Davis, 'Norlestrin-21'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

"Life is not restricted, but enriched".

This campaign utilises a contemporaneous resurgence in child psychology, marking the young, healthy multipara as facilitator of family well being; once enabled as a strategic contraceptor, pregnancies are viable and desired, and emotional privation is negated all round. 1966. Physician's circular, No.3 in a series of 4 / Syntex, 'Norinyl-1'. By kind permission of Roche. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

Phase one of this campaign suggested that a housewife's hebdomadal domestic schedule could anchor the routine self-administration of oral contraceptives.

In these alternate instalments, figure and ground are reversed; "Thursday's girl has a full calendar, but she has less need for a calendar since taking her Norlestrin 21-tablet course”. c.1967. Physician's circulars / Parke Davis, 'Norlestrin-21'. By kind permission of Pfizer. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0