Entries in Bones (3)


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


Bones of John The Baptist Possibly Discovered

Credit: Oxford University(NEW YORK) -- A team of researchers believe a knuckle bone found buried beneath a Bulgarian church may belong to John the Baptist, the New Testament prophet who heralded the ministry of Jesus.

The archaeologists from Oxford University were surprised that the bones dated from the first century AD, the time of John’s life, and the DNA was consistent with a person of Near East heritage.

Scientists cautioned that although the bones discovered in a marble sarcophagus on the remote Black Sea island Sveti Ivan, Bulgarian for John the Baptist, bare intriguing similarities to those belonging to the biblical martyr, it is impossible to conclusively prove they are John’s remains.

“We were surprised when the radiocarbon dating produced this very early age. We had suspected that the bones may have been more recent than this, perhaps from the third or fourth centuries. However, the result from the metacarpal hand bone is clearly consistent with someone who lived in the early first century AD,” said Oxford archaeologist Thomas Higham in a statement.

“Whether that person is John the Baptist is a question that we cannot yet definitely answer and probably never will,” he said.

When first excavating the site two years ago, Bulgarian researchers discovered alongside the sarcophagus another small box made from volcanic ash and bearing an ancient Greek inscription referencing John and his feast day as well as a personal prayer asking God to “help your servant Thomas.”

Researchers believe Thomas may have been the person assigned to transport the relic to the island. They believe the box came from Cappadocia, a region of modern day Turkey. Bulgarian scientists believe the bones themselves may have come from the ancient city of Antioch, where a relic of John’s right hand is believed to have been kept until the tenth century.

There is some historical evidence, researchers say, to support a theory that John’s bones were removed from Jerusalem and brought to Constantinople, called Istanbul today, then the capital of the Roman Empire, in a box resembling the sarcophagus found on Sveti Ivan.

A National Geographic Channel program about the discovery premieres on June 17.

John the Baptist, venerated as a saint in many Christian denominations, was a New Testament Jewish prophet whom Christians believe heralded the ministry of his relative Jesus. According to the Bible he was martyred by decapitation on the orders of King Herod.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vatican Mystery: Recently Discovered Bones Those of Missing Girl?

Comstock/Thinkstock(ROME) -- It will be at least a week before investigators know if the mysterious bones uncovered near the tomb of notorious crime boss Enrico De Pedis are linked to the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee who disappeared nearly 30 years ago.

The bones, some of which are said to predate Napoleon, were found during an inspection of the crypt at the Roman basilica of Saint Apollinaire, where the Rome-based Magliana gang boss was buried in 1990 after being gunned down.

In 2008, reports were leaked to the press that his girlfriend had allegedly accused the gang boss of killing Emanuela Orlandi, who went missing in 1983.

Anonymous calls to the press over the years have called on inspectors to look inside De Pedis’ coffin to see whose body was inside. The Vatican approved this move in an effort to stop endless rumors of the Vatican’s involvement in the unsolved mystery of the girl’s disappearance.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio