London: Archeologists have found a skeleton buried beneath the floor of a convent in Florence, Italy, and they believe it belonged to the model who posed for Leonardo`s da Vinci`s mysterious masterpiece – the Mona Lisa.
The medieval Convent of Saint Ursula in Florence was the burial site of Lisa Gherardini, wife of the wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, who modelled for Da Vinci.
In Italy the Mona Lisa is known as La Gioconda, the Daily Mail reported.
Most modern historians agree that the lady depicted in the Mona Lisa was Lisa del Giocondo, who became a nun after her husband’s death. She died in the convent on July 15, 1542, aged 63.
An archeological team began digging at the abandoned convent last year.
They first found a crypt they believe to have been Lisa’s final resting place and soon after they unearthed a female-sized human skull.
The skull was found five feet under the convent`s original floor along with other fragments of human ribs and vertebrae.
And this week, they found a human skeleton.
The bones will undergo tests to establish if they match the skull found last year.
Scientists will then compare the DNA in the bones with the remains of the model`s two children who were buried nearby in an attempt to authenticate the discovery.
Once they have verified the skeleton and skull belong to the model forensic artists will attempt to reconstruct her face to see how it compares to the 500-year-old version painted by da Vinci - and perhaps solve the riddle of the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile in the process.
“We don’t know yet if the bones belong to one single skeleton or more than one,” said Archeologist Silvano Vinceti, who is in charge of the dig.
“But this confirms our hypothesis that in St.Ursula convent there are still human bones and we cannot exclude that among them there are bones belonging to Lisa Gherardini,” Vinceti added.