THE long-lost remains of the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes have been found by forensic scientists in Madrid.
Best known for his book, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, Cervantes passed away in 1616, aged 68, and was buried in the Convent of The Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid. However, his remains were mislaid in the late 17th Century after they were moved during rebuilding work at the convent.
Now experts working at the convent say they have rediscovered the remains during excavation work on a forgotten crypt. In a niche, the forensic scientists discovered the bones of a number of adults. The discovery appears to match records which had stated the author had been buried along with several other people, including his wife.
However, it may prove very difficult to identity which of the remains are those of the author. “The remains are in a bad state of conservation and do not allow us to do an individual identification of Miguel de Cervantes,” said scientist Almudena Garcia Rubio. But he does not doubt the importance of the find: “We are sure what the historical sources say is the burial of Miguel de Cervantes and the other people buried with him is what we have found.”
DNA tests will now be carried out in an effort to clearly identify which of the remains are those of Cervantes. Plans are already being drawn up for a new tomb to be built at the convent so that he can be reburied with “full honours”.
Although Cervantes is regarded as Spain’s Prince of Letters he died in a state of poverty.
He had published Don Quixote in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. The story about a man who sets out in search of adventure with his faithful squire Sancho Panza, also includes the warning: “There is a remedy for all things but death, which will be sure to lay us flat some time or other”.
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