Sunday, January 27, 2019

"No Wait, This is the Real Ava!" - Smithsonian

Holy something

You'll remember Ava, one of the most diligently studied and interesting Beaker women ever.  Now with ancient DNA it is revealed her hair was straight and dark.  Update!

Via The Smithsonian

"Ava" (Hew Morrison via the Smithsonian)
I think any aspiring archaeologist should look to Maya Hoole as an example as how things should be done.  Many times over.  You take something ancient and you learn as much about it as is humanly possible and don't stop.  Respect and humanize the people you study and let the facts do the talking as the picture develops.

Many thousands of Beakers sit on the shelf; shoveled out of the ground by dudes with a coiled whip on the belt.  Ava was no warrior; her grave contains no copper or gold.  Her grave was nearly forgotten.  Now she is the most interesting woman in Britain.  The face of the mysterious Beaker Enigma.

Ginger Ava, before DNA informed coloration (Hew Morrison)

See also,

"Facial Reconstruction of Late Beaker Ava'

"Ava's Scapula: Supper, Supplication or Sound?'

"One of the Beakers DNA Tested"

"Archaeosoup Interviews Maya Hoole"

"Ava of the Highlands"


  1. You can't determine hair texture from DNA. Not yet that is. And she most definitely did not have brown skin. Beaker folk had white skin.

  2. Avas A and B in one facial image for comparison: (with an intended even level of saturation and contrast)

    I expect we'll see more revisions as our understanding of these variants change (we certainly don't know if she had straight her or wavy yet, though! That's sort of an arbitrary choice at the moment).

  3. 99% of reporting on Ava is good. I'm a naysayer. But, will they ever say that the Beaker people (her people) represent the beginning of modern British-like genetic makeup or that they are the main ancestors of modern Britons. Seems, like British media like to make famous prehistoric individuals distant & alien and not connected to the modern people.

    1. yeah, I don’t know that the average Brit makes that connection either. It’s a lot different where we live because there is very scant archaeological traces of anything and was uninhabited for vast amounts of time. Our history here is short and even though I’d be hugely excited about a local discovery, I know it’s someone else’s history.
      Weirdly though, Europeans have that same detachment in their own backyard., maybe that was until now there was uncertainty about their connection to local archaeology?