A man's body will be exhumed in South Australia more than 70 years after it was mysteriously found on Somerton Beach near Adelaide.

Known as the 'Mystery of the Somerton man', one of South Australia's most puzzling cold cases will be put under the microscope when the man's corpse is dug up on Wednesday following approval by Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

The man's body was found on Somerton Beach on December 1, 1948 but has never been identified and remains an open inquiry.

Canadian film designer Daniel Voshart used new technology to form updated images of what the Somerton Man may now look like. Picture: Daniel Voshart
Canadian film designer Daniel Voshart used new technology to form updated images of what the Somerton Man may now look like. Picture: Daniel Voshart

SA Police's Major Crime Investigation Branch is in control of the investigation.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said extracting DNA from exhuming the body was just the beginning of a lengthy investigation into the Somerton Man's identity.

"Following recovery of the remains, Forensic Science SA will attempt to recover a DNA profile from the man," Detective Superintendent Bray said.

"If a DNA profile can be obtained, and subject to the amount and quality of the DNA, a forensic case meeting will be held to formulate the most appropriate DNA strategy which will then require considerable investigation work to have any chance of identifying the man or where he originated from."

Forensic Science SA's Assistant Director, Operations Anne Coxon said: "The technology available to us now is clearly light years ahead of the techniques available when this body was discovered in the late 1940s.

"Tests of this nature are often highly complex and will take time, however we will be using every method at our disposal to try and bring closure to this enduring mystery."

The body is being exhumed from its gravesite. Picture: supplied SA police
The body is being exhumed from its gravesite. Picture: supplied SA police

Attorney-General Chapman said she believed the Forensic Science SA (FSSA) team was capable of identifying the man after 70 years of mystery surrounding his death.

"For more than 70 years people have speculated who this man was and how he died," she said.

"It's an enduring mystery - but I believe that, finally, we may uncover some answers, thanks to the combined expertise of SA Police and FSSA."

Originally published as Creepy image 70 years after death

Somerton Beach near Adelaide. Picture: AAP/Mark Brake
Somerton Beach near Adelaide. Picture: AAP/Mark Brake