LSU helps give Monitor crewmen faces

The phases of facial reconstruction of two sailors of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor are seen in the auditorium of the US Navy Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. In an effort to identify two Civil War sailors recovered from the shipwreck of the USS Monitor, Louisiana State University's FACES Laboratory worked with NOAA to complete forensic facial reconstructions on the two lost men recovered in 2002 by NOAA and the United States Navy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The images of two Civil War sailors who served on the famed ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, were brought back to life by LSU and unveiled to the public Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

The project coincides with the 150th anniversary this week of the historic Battle of Hampton Roads, when the USS Monitor battled the Confederate CSS Virginia, which was built on the hull of the USS Merrimack.

The showdown marked the first time iron-armored ships clashed in naval warfare and signaled the end of the era of wooden ships.

LSU’s Lab for Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services was tasked with digitally reconstructing the faces of two of the sailors whose remains were recovered in 2002 aboard the wreckage of the Monitor. The Monitor was lost at sea more than nine months after dueling with the Virginia.

Mary Manhein, director of the LSU FACES Lab, participated in the Washington, D.C., ceremony. She said the hope is the reconstruction of the sailors’ faces will help them be identified.