A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Relic Is Not of Guillotined French King

Friday, April 25, 2014


MADRID, SPAIN—DNA taken from residues in a gourd said to have held a handkerchief stained with the blood of the French King Louis XVI does not match what is known about the monarch who lost his head to the guillotine in 1793. “When the Y chromosome of three living Bourbons was decoded and we saw that it did not match with the DNA recovered from the pumpkin in 2010, we decided to sequence the complete genome and to make a functional interpretation in order to see if the blood could actually belong to Louis XVI,” Carles Lalueza-Fox of the Spanish National Research Council explained to Science Daily. The DNA taken from the gourd belonged to a brown-eyed individual who was average in height for the time period. Historic records indicate that the king was the tallest man in the royal court, and that he had blue eyes. For an in-depth account on an earlier study that made the same conclusion, see ARCHAEOLOGY's "French Revolution Forgeries?