This is a retouched picture of the Mona Lisa, a painting by Leonardo DaVinci, currently housed at the Louvre museum in Paris, France. It has been digitally altered from it's original version by modifying its colors.

Maybe Mona Lisa? Buried Skeleton Found by Archaeologist

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TUE 22 JAN 2019 03:15 PM.

Maybe Mona Lisa? Buried Skeleton Found by Archaeologist:

Archaeologists close in on the real Mona Lisa: Have bones of Da Vinci’s model been discovered in Florence? 

Archaeologist’s searching for the remains of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa have uncovered a skeleton that may belong to the mysterious woman.

The skeleton was excavated in a Florence convent where researchers are searching for the remains of Lisa Gherardini Del Giocondo, the women believed to be the model for da Vinci’s famous painting.

Based on an early look at the cranium and pelvis, the skeleton appears to be female, Bologna University anthropologists Giorgio Gruppioni told news agencies.

However, more study is needed to determine if the skeleton is, in fact, female, much less whether she lived and died around the same time as Del Giocondo.

The researcher’s were led to the church by historical records, including Gherardini’s death certificate found a few years ago.

She reportedly spent her last 2 years (until her death in 1542) at St. Ursula in Florence after her husband’s death.

The documents note that there is a crypt beneath the church floor where Gherardini would have been buried. [Weird Ways We Deal with the Dead]

Researchers plan to continue the excavation of the skeleton.

If the bone do belong to a woman and are from the right time period, the archaeologists will attempt to extract DNA from the skeleton to compare it with the remains of 2 of Del Giocondo’s children, buried in a separate cemetery.

They also hope to reconstruct her face to compare it with that of the Mona Lisa painting.

But some outside researcher’s are skeptical about the validity of the project.

Writing for the archaeology website Past Horizons, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill anthropologists Kristina Killgrove pointed out that facial reconstruction is an unreliable art.

Many attempts at facial reconstructions have been done on famous specimens, from King Tut to the paleo Indian Kennewick Man to a bog woman named Moora, Killgrove wrote.

“In spite of what the researchers who commissioned the reconstructions say,” Killgrove wrote, “the alternate faces of each of these three long dead people bear only a passing similarity to one another, even though they were based on the same relatively complete skull.”

Monty Dobson, an archaeologists at Drury University in Missouri, said the unearthed skeleton “is in pretty rough shape, by the looks of it,” which would make a reliable facial reconstruction difficult.

It would not be surprising if the skeleton turns out to be someone with Del Giocondo DNA, Dobson said, given that historical records suggest that the researchers are digging in the family’s crypt. Even so, he said, the connections to the Mona Lisa are tenuous.

“It is kind of a circular argument there,” Dobson told LiveScience. “You have identified this individual, okay, that is terrific, but they are still grasping to make links between this individual and the Mona Lisa.”

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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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