Amazing reconstruction depicts “lonely youngster” who perished in Norwegian cave 8,300 years ago and had a malformed head.

About 8,300 years ago, a teenage boy with an unusual skull and short stature may have scampered along the rocky coast of what is now Norway, pausing to regain his balance as he clutched a fishing rod. Now, a new full-body reconstruction of the Stone Age teenager — nicknamed Vistegutten, Norwegian for “the boy from Viste” — is on display at the Hå Gamle Prestegard museum in southern Norway.

The boy’s reconstruction was a months-long project, but researchers have known about Vistegutten since 1907, when archaeologists found his remains in a Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age, cave in Randaberg, along Norway’s western coast.

A few things stand out about the 15-year-old boy: At 4 feet, 1 inch (1.25 meters) tall, he was short for his age, even by Mesolithic standards; a condition known as scaphocephaly meant that his skull had fused too early, forcing his head to grow backward instead of sideways; and he may have died alone, as his remains were found as if he had been leaning against a cave wall.

“Either he was placed like this after his death, or he actually died in this position,” Oscar Nilsson (opens in new tab), a forensic artist based in Sweden who created the boy’s likeness, told Live Science in an email. “This can give the impression of a lonely boy, waiting in vain for his friends and family to show up … but we know nothing about how he died.”

The boy from Viste lived along the windy Norwegian coast, “so I worked quite a lot to make it look as if the wind blows in his hair and clothes,” Nilsson said. (Image credit: Oscar Nilsson)

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