Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This paper examines the results of artificial cranial deformation on the human skull in relation to the human face and the use of three-dimensional printing in the making of skull casts. Forensic facial reconstructions, following the American Method, were performed on three Native American skulls from the Late-Mississippian period, excavated from the Humber Site and on loan from the University of Southern Mississippi, in order to see whether or not the artificial deformation radically changed the faces of the individuals. Skull casts were made out of ABS plastic using rapid prototyping technology, as the original skulls were too fragile for traditional methods. The reconstructions were completed at the LSU FACES Lab under the direction of Ms. Mary Manhein, Ms. Eileen Barrow, and Ms. Nicole Harris. The majority of changes in the facial region caused by the artificial deformation were found in the formation of bones adjacent to the cranial vault. This is the area where the deformational pressures would be the greatest. The superior border of the eye orbit was found to be less projecting than normal, with the consequence that the placement of the eyes for the facial reconstruction was too shallow. The American Method relies upon both the superior and inferior edges of the orbit for the placement. Changing the placement of the eyes in the American Method using only the inferior border of the orbit compensated for the changes in the bone structure and allowed for the correct positioning of the eye and a better depiction of the individual. Rapid prototyping skull casting has tremendous potential for damaged modern and ancient skulls. However, higher resolution scans and casts are needed for this technique to be accepted in both the academic and law enforcement communities.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Manhein, Mary H.