Archaeologists are digging up a Tuscan convent and have found some skeletons that might include the remains of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, also known as Mona Lisa. She’s still lovely after all this time.
One investigator has been going through the bones, trying to identify the dead woman, so they can apply forensic reconstruction to her skull.
I mean, we already know what she looked like. I can understand general historical research on Renaissance remains, but pawing through the graveyard to find one famous person simply to reconstruct a face we’re already familiar with seems peculiarly ghoulish — nothing but a sensationalistic game. What question does this answer, what do we learn from this pointless exercise?
Fortunately, I’m not the only one who wonders about that.
But not all experts are convinced by the claims of Dr Vinceti and his team. Dr Kristina Killgrove, an anthropologist at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US, said on her blog: "Although the excavation is being carried out in a professional manner, Vinceti’s quest to dig up the ‘real’ Mona Lisa is not grounded in scientific research methodology." She added: "The news media’s breathless coverage of it threatens to signal to the public that archaeologists are frivolous with their time, energy, and research money."
Maybe, once they identify the skull, they can send it off to the Louvre and mount it on the wall next to the painting. <sarcasm>That’ll be informative.</sarcasm>