Recreating the Face of Jewish Settler in St Maarten

Once 3D printing had a role in only a few high brow industries. However with passing time not only is 3D printing technology being used by a number of industries, it is also finding increasing application in high end research in the field of archaeology and health care. The latest use of 3D printing was in the reconstruction of the skull of a long deceased Jewish settler in the St Maarten islands in the Caribbean.  Not much was known about the earliest Jewish settlers in the Caribbean. However when archaeologist stumbled upon a non- descript and unknown cemetery in St Maarten’s did the researchers came to know that the Jewish community had settled in the islands as early as the discovery of the New World.

When the New World was discovered by Christopher Columbus, there was a mad scramble to colonize these lands by the British, Portuguese and the Spanish. The Dutch had established a colony in St Maarten. Along with Dutch, a lot of Jewish Settlers also landed on the islands to escape persecution in mainland Europe.  Most of cemeteries of the Catholic and the Protestant communities were well known; the Jewish cemeteries were lost with the passage of time and were soon forgotten. It was only when an enthusiastic group of historians were trying to unearth the history of the Jewish Settlers in St Maarten stumbled upon a Jewish Cemetery did they finally had the conclusive proof that the earliest settlers in the island included Jewish settlers also. The cemetery was located in a populated part of the city and it was not possible to unearth all the remains. However the archaeological experts were able to extract one skeleton.

The authorities wanted to showcase the contributions made by the Jewish community down the history of St Maarten. The archaeological department wanted to give a realistic and life -like image, rather than displaying the skull of the long dead settler. This is where the 3D printing service comes to the picture. 3D printing service has been playing a big role in forensic science by reconstruction of dead persons from the skeleton remains. The authorities from the archaeological department in St Maarten enlisted the help of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department in the United States to reconstruct the face of the dead settler. Once the face was reconstructed by 3D printing service and hardened with resin, it was painted and is today on display in Saint Maarten as a testimony of the earliest settlers to the island.

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