Entries in Archaeology (2)


Mona Lisa’s Bones Beneath Italian Church?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FLORENCE, Italy) -- The bones of Mona Lisa, the woman who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s famous masterpiece in the 1500s, may be located beneath an altar in an Italian church, according to researchers.

Archaeologists in Florence have discovered skulls and human bones in the former convent of St. Ursula. The bones are about 200 years older than the woman believed to be Mona Lisa, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Now, lead researcher Silvano Vinceti tells ABC News that the scientists are hopeful the Mona Lisa’s remains may be found beneath a recently-discovered altar in the church.

Da Vinci’s famous painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of merchant Francesco del Giocondo, who posed for da Vinci in the mid-1500s. Gherardini joined the St. Ursula convent after Giocondo died and was buried there after her 1542 death, according to ANSA.

The bones will be tested at the University of Bologna for DNA matches to the bones of Mona Lisa’s two sons, Vinceti told ABC News.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Remains of Shakespeare’s Pre-Globe Theater Uncovered in London

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Archaeologists in London have discovered the remains of William Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre, home to his theater company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, before they moved to the famous Globe Theatre.

The discoveries include the walls that formed the theater’s gallery and the yard within the actual playhouse. Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) say the discovery is believed to be one of the best preserved examples of Elizabethan theater in the U.K.

The remains were unearthed in Shoreditch, an area in northeastern London, during construction for a residential and commercial development project run by Plough Yard Developments and the Estate Office Shoreditch.

“This is one of the most significant Shakespearian discoveries of recent years,” a spokesman for Plough Yard Developments said in a statement. “Although the Curtain was known to have been in the area, its exact location was a mystery. The quality of the remains found is remarkable and we are looking forward to working with MOLA, local community and Shakespearian experts to develop plans that will give the public access to the theatre remains as part of a new development.”

The Curtain Theatre was opened in 1577 and was London’s second playhouse, according to MOLA. It was the main venue for Shakespeare’s plays between 1597 and 1599. Archaeologists believe that Romeo and Juliet was first staged at the Curtain.

Archaeologists from MOLA will continue to excavate the site and the developers hope to make the discovery open to the public.

“This is a fantastic site, which gives us unique insight into early Shakespearian theatres,” Chris Thomas, leader of MOLA’s archaeological team, said in a statement. “We are delighted that Plough Yard Developments plan to preserve the remains in place and open them up to the public as there are few similar sites across the U.K.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio