Caroline Wilkinson

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Caroline M. Wilkinson FRSE (born 27 October 1965) is a British anthropologist who has been a professor at the Liverpool John Moores University's School of Art and Design since 2014.[1] She is best known for her work in forensic facial reconstruction and has been a contributor to many television programmes on the subject, as well as the creator of reconstructed heads of kings Richard III of England in 2013[2] and Robert the Bruce of Scotland in 2016.[3]

Wilkinson holds a PhD in facial anthropology from the University of Manchester (2000), and from 2000 to 2005 led the Unit of Art and Medicine at the university.[4]

She first became known to television audiences as a result of her regular appearances on the BBC series Meet the Ancestors,[5] and also appeared on History Cold Case while working at the Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee (2005 – 2014).

Facial reconstruction[edit]

In 2013, Wilkinson, then a professor of craniofacial identification at the University of Dundee, created a facial reconstruction of King Richard III, whose remains had been uncovered in a carpark and positively identified using DNA.[2]

In 2014 Wilkinson was brought in to help identify the Beachy Head Lady. She immediately recognised the skull as being that of a Sub-Saharan African, a view subsequently confirmed unprompted by two other experts.[6][7]

In December that year, Wilkinson created a facial reconstruction of Saint Nicholas, working from anatomical knowledge, tissue depth data, and the latest reconstruction technology.[8] From his skeletal remains, it was known that his broken nose had "healed asymmetrically, giving him a characteristic nose and rugged facial appearance".[9]

In 2016, Wilkinson helped create facial reconstructions of Robert the Bruce, using a skull believed to have belonged to the Scottish king. Two versions were created, one standard one and another based on the belief that he had suffered from leprosy.[3]

She is the author of several works on the subject of facial reconstruction.


In 2012, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh[10]. Wilkinson was awarded the Combined Royal Colleges medal of the Royal Photographic Society in 2016, for "outstanding contribution to the advancement of medical photography or medical imaging."[11]


  • "Juvenile forensic facial reconstruction – a detailed accuracy study" (with Whittaker, DK). Proceedings of the 10th Meeting of the International Association of Craniofacial Identification, Bari, Italy; 98-110 (2002)
  • "Measurement of eyeball protrusion and its application in facial reconstruction." (with Mautner, SA.) J For Sci 48 (1) 12-16 (2003)
  • "The reconstruction of faces showing healed wounds."(with Neave, RAH) J Archaeological Science 30; 1343-1348 (2003)
  • "The relationship between the soft tissues and the skeletal detail of the mouth." (with Motwani, M and Chiang, E.) J For Sci. 48 (4) 1-5 (2003)
  • "In vivo facial tissue depth measurements for White British children". J. Forensic Sci 47 (3): 459-465
  • Forensic Facial Reconstruction (Cambridge University Press, 2008) ISBN 0-521-09012-1
  • "Craniofacial Identification" (Cambridge University Press, 2012) Co-editor. ISBN 978-0-521-76862-7


  1. ^ "Prof Caroline Wilkinson". Liverpool John Moores University. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Richard III: Facial reconstruction shows king's features". BBC News. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b Hannan, Martin (8 December 2016). "Digital technology reveals the face of Robert the Bruce". The National. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  4. ^ Lacey, Hester (30 January 2015). "Facial reconstruction: interview with a forensic pioneer". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain: Caroline Wilkinson. Accessed 12 February 2013 Archived 12 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Beachy Head Lady was young sub-Saharan Roman with good teeth, say archaeologists". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Centuries old Beachy Head Lady's face revealed". BBC News. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Real face of Father Christmas revealed at St Nicholas Primary School", Liverpool Echo, 5 December 2014. Accessed 27 March 2015
  9. ^ BBC News - "Father Christmas: Saint Nicholas' face revealed", 6 December 2014. Accessed 27 March 2015
  10. ^ "Professor Caroline Mary Wilkinson FRSE - The Royal Society of Edinburgh". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  11. ^ "RPS Awards 2016". Royal Photographic Society. 19 September 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.

External links[edit]