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Remains of Don Quixote author Cervantes found

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This handout picture released on January 26, 2014 by Sociedad de Ciencia Aranzadi shows people sifting through material discovered in a crypt that could help confirm the final resting place of the late Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid. (AFP Photo)

The remains of Spanish literary giant Miguel de Cervantes have been discovered almost four hundred years after his demise, archaeologists and anthropologists say.

“He’s there,” said historian Fernando de Prado, referring to fragmented bones found in the floor of a crypt in Madrid, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.  

The search for the remains of one of the world’s most famous literary figures began last April with a team of almost 30 scientists scouring the soil of Madrid’s Convento de las Monjas Trinitarias Descalzas with 3D scanners, infrared cameras, and ground-penetrating radar.

During their search, the team identified 33 alcoves, where the remains could have been stored, inside one of which the team located a number of adult bones.

The team said that based upon historical and archeological evidence they were confident that some of the bones were those of Cervantes and his wife, Catalina de Salazar.

Moreover, the writer’s initials “MC” were found on one of the coffin lids.

“It’s an enormous satisfaction. The searching has been tiring – I feel as if I’ve arrived at the end of a long hike,” added Prado.

Forensic anthropologist Francisco Etxeberria said that DNA testing cannot verify the results because “Right now, we don’t have any DNA possibilities to compare to.”

The author was initially buried in 1616, but when the convent was rebuilt in the 17th century, his remains were lost.

The crypt will be open to public next year to mark the 400th anniversary of Cervantes' death.

Cervantes was born near Madrid in 1547 and has been labeled the father of the modern novel for The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, the first part of which was published 1605.

The novel is said to be one of the world’s most read and translated books.  


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