Two hundred twenty years ago today, a sad fate met Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI: the guillotine, at the advent of the French Revolution. Apparently, when beheaded, Louis bled a lot (and who can blame him?) and macabre witnesses dipped their handkerchiefs into the pool of blood.
One of them, a Maximilien Bourdaloue, was memorialized in time because a gourd was inscribed with the record of his dipping, and a handkerchief placed inside that gourd, which has since dissolved, leaving a dark spot inside.
Now geneticist Carles Lalueza-Fox, who also sequenced part of the oldest human genome on Earth from a 7,000-year-old skeleton, has turned his attentions to this gory memorial. The question was, could modern science prove it once held Louis’s blood?