Italians Think They've Found Caravaggio's Bones

Italian researcher Antonio Moretti, left, flanked by history detective Silvano Vinceti, centre, shows to Porto Ercole's Mayor Arturo Cerulli the detail of a skull inside the crypt of San Sebastiano cemetery, in Porto Ercole, Italy, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. Descending into a dark crypt, Antonio Moretti went digging through bones. The job may not be fun but the stakes are high. Moretti, and a team of fellow scientists and academics want to solve the mystery surrounding the death of one of Italy's greatest artists: Caravaggio.
AP Photo/Enzo Russo
Italian researchers say they believe they have found the remains of the artist Caravaggio 400 years after his death and that he died from sunstroke while weakened by syphilis.

The researchers announced results Wednesday of their year-long project, saying bones dug up in the place where Caravaggio died are likely his. However, they acknowledge there is only an 85 percent probability they are right and they can never be fully certain.

Caravaggio died in 1610 aged 39. His bones were never located and the cause of his death never ascertained. Suggested causes have ranged from sudden fever to syphilis.

The researchers conducted carbon dating and DNA testing on the bones.