JUNEAU, Alaska — A Russian doctor has presented an Alaska park with a bust of Danish explorer Vitus Bering, whose name has become part of Alaskan history and geography.
Dr. Viktor Zviagin, an expert in facial reconstruction at the Russian Center of Forensic Expertise, was part of a joint Russian-Danish expedition in 1990 to Bering Island, where the skeleton of Bering was discovered, according to the Juneau Empire newspaper. The skull was then sent to Russia for reconstruction.
Last week, Zviagin presented a bust of Bering to officials at the Sitka National Historic Park to help celebrate the park centennial.
In an interview with the Juneau Empire, Zviagin said that during his study of the explorer's skull and skeleton he discovered that sutures in Bering's skull closed prematurely as a young boy, likely creating pressure and severe pain and headaches throughout his life.
Zviagin said it also resulted in hair loss at a young age.
His studies have finally provided a detailed face for Bering after early paintings actually depicted one of his relatives.
"The amount of his suffering is very visible in the face," Zviagin said. "He kept it all inside, internalized it. This is the true face of Vitus Bering."