Reconstructed face of medieval skeleton may reveal Ireland’s ‘Helen of Troy’

Mabel BagenalExperts are set to reconstruct the face and probable appearance of a high-ranking Medieval female, whose skeletal remains were unearthed at the end of last month during excavations at Dungannon’s Castle Hill.

It is hoped that the project, conducted by experts at Galway University, will reveal more about her true identity, and help bring tourists and local people face to face with the past.

The skeleton, dating back to the Medieval Period, was found nearly complete and in a good state of preservation, which means the most advanced studies of forensic anthropology can be performed on it.

Referring to her as a ‘WAG of her day’, a source at the archaeological dig said: “It appears she was married to a high ranking male given the respect afforded to her at her burial. There is even speculation that she might have been a wife of Hugh O’Neill.”

One possible identity for the mystery skeleton is that of Mabel Bagenal, O’Neill’s third wife, a protestant beauty who was known as Ireland’s ‘Helen of Troy’ and became O’Neill’s implacable enemy, before dying in Dungannon in 1591.

So far, archaeological experts have determined that the skeletal remains were those of a woman in her late forties or fifties, of slight build and short stature.

Read the full story at Tyrone Times

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