How Old Do I Look?

Rameses II

You may have seen the latest app released by Microsoft – it’s a new facial analysis tool called How Old Do I Look?, which uses “state-of-the-art, cloud-based algorithms” to recognise human faces and then estimate an age and gender.

Naturally it doesn’t always get it right (you may have noticed poor old Ramesses II has been identified as a girl), and the results have sparked both joy and outrage amongst those who have tried it. (Just check out #HowOldRobot).

Not content with trying it out on our own faces, here at DV we thought we’d have some fun with this and see if it could meet the challenge of guestimating the age of some well-known historical rulers…

Queen Nefertiti:

Born 1371 BC – Died 1331 BC. The famous bust below is thought to have been made c. 1340 BC when she was 31 years old…


On the face of things it doesn’t look too bad, it’s calculated her as 8 years older, but then again it also thinks she’s a man… Well, she does have very handsome features.

Alexander the Great

Born 356 BC – Died 323 BC. Here’s a “youthful” representation of his face discovered in Alexandria.

Alexander the Great

Oh… What would he have looked like if he had lived another 8 years to be 41!?

Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi

Born 259 BC – Died 210 BC. Qin Shi Huangdi was the first Emperor of China after it’s unification in 221 BC. Since he only made it to the age of 49 this seems a little harsh…

Qin Shi Huangdi

If it’s any consolation Qin Shi Huangdi, it got your gender right…

Julius Caesar

Born 100 BC – Assassinated 44 BC. This bust was made after 44 B.C. probably sometime between 30-20 B.C.

Julius Caesar

Spot on! Caesar was 56 when he was assassinated in the senate on the Ides of March.

King Richard III

Born 1452 AD – Died 1485 AD. This facial reconstruction was recreated by Caroline Wilkinson, Professor of Craniofacial Identification, from a 3D scan of Richard’s skull.

Richard III

Close again, Richard was 33 when he died, but apparently didn’t look a day over 29.

Queen Elizabeth I

Born 1553 AD – Died 1601 AD. This portrait was painted c.1588 AD when Elizabeth was 35. Considering she was keen to retain the look of a young, virgin queen in her portraits, this result probably wouldn’t have gone down well…

Elizabeth I

This just goes to show what all that lead in Elizabethan make-up could do to your face!! Yikes.

King Charles II

Born 1630 AD – Died 1685 AD. This portrait was painted c. 1675 when Charles was 45. He certainly looks 45… possibly older.

Charles II

36!? If you didn’t already doubt the accuracy of this, this would certainly make you reconsider.

Queen Victoria

Born 1819 AD – Died 1901 AD. Or should that be King?… This photograph was taken when she was 68 in 1887.


Woohoo! Looking good Queen Vic! We’ll ignore the fact it thinks you’re male…

So there we have it! Its accuracy is certainly questionable, but it definitely makes for a good laugh! Oh, and in case you we wondering…

… It got me bang on!

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Written by Rosanna Ring

Rosanna is one of DigVentures' intrepid Community Archaeologists. She's busy turning Barrowed Time (our dig at Morecambe's Bronze Age burial mound) into a real seaside adventure, and getting the Pop-Up Museum on the Prom ready for you to visit!

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