GARCHES, France – A team of scientists hopes to crack one of the many layers of mystery surrounding 15th-century French heroine Joan of Arc: Are the rib and other fragments purportedly recovered after she was burned at the stake for heresy really hers? The woman warrior-turned-saint remains omnipresent in the French imagination, nearly 600 years after her ashes were thought to have been thrown into the Seine River. A few remains were reportedly recovered from the pyre where the 19-year-old was burned alive. A team of 18 experts now plans a battery of tests to determine whether the remains € including a rib bone and some skin € indeed belonged to her. The results, based on recent advances in genetic research, could provide a boost for forensic scientists studying other historical remains. The tests, which will take six months, will not be able to say with certainty that the remains are Joan of Arc’s, because there is no known DNA sample from her to compare them with, said Dr. Philippe Charlier of the Raymond-Poincare Hospital in Garches, west of Paris. But the analyses will determine with “absolute certitude” if the remains are not hers, he […]

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