Stories bone tell

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cause of death unknown, place of burial unknown, yet researchers are 85% sure that they have found the remains of 17th Century artist Michaelangelo Merisi, who is known as Caravaggio. Silvano Vinceti, a cold case historian, and a team of archaeologists found documents which suggested that Caravaggio was buried in San Sebastiano Cemetery in Porto Ercole. The first hurdle was that the San Sebastiano Cemetery was built over in 1956 and the bones moved to the municipal cemetery. After excavations in the municipal cemetery the team found 9 potential sets of bones of which number 5 fitted the physical characteristics of Caravaggio.

The next step was to head to the town of Caravaggio to compare the bones with the DNA of the local people. No descendants were found but families with the same surname were 50 to 60% compatible with the bones. This coupled with the amount of toxic lead in the bones lead Vinceti to conclude that the bones are Caravaggio. It is remarkable what researchers can find out from bones.


Image: From The Guardian - The remains of Italian painter Caravaggio are presented during a press conference in Ravenna, Italy. Photograph: Enzo Russo/AP

Reference: Kington, T The Mystery of Caravaggio's Death Solved at Last - Painting Killed Him The Guradian, 16 June 2010, accessed here

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