Spain says it has unearthed the apparent remains of the literary giant Miguel de Cervantes in a Madrid convent almost 400 years after his death.
In a Guardian report, Anthropologist Francisco Etxebarria said after a year-long search his team had positively identified “some fragments” of the Don Quixote author in an alcove in a convent crypt.
Though there is no genetic proof of the find at this stage, Etxebarria’s anthropologists and archaeologists said they were confident on the basis of the documentary research they carried out.
In January the team announced the discovery of part of a casket at Madrid’s Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians during excavations aimed at solving the mystery of the writer’s final resting place.
Cervantes is recorded as having been buried at the convent’s chapel in the centre of the Spanish capital a day after his death on 22 April, 1616, but the exact whereabouts of his grave were unknown.
His bones went missing in 1673 when building work was done at the convent. They are known to have been taken to a different convent and were returned later.
In April 2014 Etxebarria’s team launched what was the first significant search for the remains of the greatest writer of the Spanish Golden Age.
Using infrared cameras, 3D scanners and ground-penetrating radar, they identified 33 alcoves where bones could be stored.
Cervantes, who was born near Madrid in 1547, has been called the father of the modern novel for The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, which was published in two parts in 1605 and 1615.
His influence on the Spanish language has been so great that it is often referred to as “the language of Cervantes”.