Thanks to a student from the University of Dundee in Scotland, we now know what the ancient druid named “Hilda” looked like approximately 2,000 years ago. Karen Fleming, who is a MSc Forensic Art & Facial Identification student, reconstructed the face with wax after studying the druid’s skull which had been held at the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum. In fact, Hilda was one of six “Druids of the Hebrides” skulls that were given to the Phrenological Society of Edinburgh back in the year 1833.
“Hilda was a fascinating character to recreate,” expressed Fleming. Hilda is believed to have lived in the Western Isles approximately 2,000 years ago during the Iron Age. Her remains are thought to have been discovered at Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis (off the north coast of Scotland).
Interestingly, she was around 60 years of age when she died – nearly double of that time period’s life expectancy of 31 years for females. The fact that she lived such a long life indicates that she was more than likely from a privileged background. There were no teeth attached to the skull which means that she was toothless when she passed away.
Since carbon dating was not performed on the skull, the exact date of when Hilda lived and died is unknown, but according to information that was found in the journal from 1833, it is believed that she passed away between 55 BC and 400 AD and that she was of Celtic origin.
As for the history of the Druids, not much is really known about them besides information given by second-hand sources such as Julius Caesar. Druids were mentioned as far back as 2,400 years ago, but they slowly died out when Christianity was spreading approximately 1,200 years ago. They lived in the area that’s known today as United Kingdom and France. One of their best qualities was that they were “great thinkers” which led many of them to become teachers, judges, philosophers, and some were even considered to be mediators between Gods and humans.
Hilda is currently on display at the Masters Show at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design where over 80 students are demonstrating their work. You can see pictures here of the wax recreation of Hilda the druid that was created by Ms. Fleming.