Behind the Mona Lisa: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including the bloody remains left by Caesar
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2015 5:33 AM CST
Tourist take pictures for Leonard de Vinci's La Joconde painting, Mona Lisa, at the Louvre museum in Paris, France, Thursday, Nov.19, 2015.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

(Newser) – A major shipwreck find makes this week's list:

  • Beneath the Mona Lisa: Will the real Mona Lisa please stand up—or at least send us a signal from within the paint layers? The art world is buzzing over a French scientist's claims that he discovered a portrait lurking beneath the top layer of the world's most famous painting. After 10 years of research, here's how Pascal Cotte describes what is underneath the surface.
  • The 'Holy Grail of Shipwrecks' Has Been Found: Off the coast of Colombia, the gold, silver, gems, and jewelry carried by the Spanish galleon—which was sunk by the British in 1708—are thought to be worth anywhere from $1.5 billion to $17 billion, making it one of the largest treasures ever lost at sea. Find out which Nobel-winning author documented the galleon in one of his books.

  • Stonehenge May Have Been Erected in Another Country: Stonehenge may reside in England, but it "was a Welsh monument from its very beginning." So says Professor Mike Parker Pearson in reference to what is a big step forward in our understanding of Stonehenge. Here's what bluestones, burnt hazelnuts, and charcoal have to do with the new finding.
  • Researchers Discover How Not to Be a Jerk While Texting: Researchers showed 126 undergraduates a bunch of texts featuring an invitation and a reply. Participants rated replies that featured this certain piece of punctuation as less sincere; on the flip side, researchers found that adding another type of punctuation to a text reply bestows a higher degree of perceived sincerity on the message.
  • Archaeologists Find Remnants of Caesar-Led Massacre: Scientists say they've confirmed that Julius Caesar stepped on what is now Dutch soil, claiming they've uncovered the remnants of a battle fought in 55 BC in the southern part of the country. Two Germanic tribes reportedly came to Caesar seeking his protection, and he went well beyond denying their request.
Click to read about more discoveries.