Mona Lisa's Bones Unearthed?

Team finds intact skeleton in former Florence convent
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2012 10:46 AM CDT
Mona Lisa's Bones Unearthed?
Researchers dig into underground tombs inside the Convent of St. Ursula, in Florence, Italy, Wednesday, May 11, 2011, during a media tour.   (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)

We may be getting a little closer to discovering the secret of Mona Lisa's smile. Experts on Tuesday unearthed an intact skeleton beneath the floor of a former convent in Florence, and say this one could indeed belong to Lisa Gherardini. The tomb hunters last year said they had proof Gherardini was buried in the convent in 1542, but a skeleton dug up that same year wasn't that of the Leonardo da Vinci model.

"Until we have conducted carbon-14 testing, we cannot date with certainty the era in which this person lived," says the lead researcher of the current skeleton. He told ABC News that they also plan to DNA test the bones using the bones of Gherardini’s two sons for comparison. But ANSA reports that there's already one encouraging sign it could be the real deal: The team also found a 15th-century altar base. During that period, the dead were typically laid to rest near such a base, and "after 1500, only two women were buried here: Mona Lisa Gherardini, in 1542, and another noblewoman, Maria del Riccio," says the team. (More Mona Lisa stories.)

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