A render of what a Maltese woman may have looked like over 2,000 years ago was released to the public this week, only to be swiftly met with offensive comments about her looks from parts of the public.
Elsa, as she’s being called, is a facial reconstruction of a skull discovered in St Paul’s Catacombs, released by Heritage Malta. She is believed to be between 18 and 24 years old.
The striking image gives viewers a glimpse into the hidden past of the island – however, some trolls couldn’t miss the opportunity to leave some very questionable comments.
“Malta, the country where you can’t get away from sexism and misogyny. Even if you’re just the CGI image of a 2,000-year-old plus woman,” feminist activist Pia Micallef said online while sharing several screenshots of men’s comments under the image.
Among the images Micallef called out were: “she looks like she’d be good in bed” and “she looks like a ħamalla and looks horny to boot”.
Reacting to the statements, one person called the people leaving the comments “neanderthals” while another said: “what a disgraceful mentality some people have”.
The comments were made under a TVM article announcing the images. The article has since been taken down.
The images were created for a masterclass set to be streamed on Facebook showing the journey of facial reconstruction, from site to lab.
Elsa’s skull was discovered in August 2013, and her skeleton is estimated to date back to between the late 4th century BC and the 2nd Century AD.
The masterclass will be happening on 21st April at 6.30pm.
Entitled “Staring the Past in the Eyes: Discovery and Research on a Skull from St Paul’s Catacombs”, the masterclass will be delivered by a number of specialists, including David Cardona (Senior Curator of St Paul’s Catacombs), Michelle Padovani (Osteologist) and a group of Italian specialists led by Roberto Miccichè (Forensic Anthropologist).