Remains of Quixote Author Cervantes Found, Researchers Claim

Updated on

Researchers claim to have identified the remains of Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish literary giant who penned Don Quixote.

Cervantes was buried in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Spain’s capital after his death in 1616 at the age of 68, though his bones were moved and lost over time.

Investigators who began their search for him last year said they believe that some of the remains found in the church belong to Cervantes, lead researcher Francisco Etxeberria said at a news conference in Madrid on Tuesday.

The remains were identified using archaeological and historical evidence. Researchers pointed to bone fragments and skeletal remains that they believe would coincide with a male of advanced age suffering from tooth loss.

At the time of his death, Cervantes is thought to have had just six teeth remaining. He had injuries in the chest after fighting in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, where he was seriously injured and lost movement of his left hand.

“There are many coincidences, and no discrepancies,” said Etxeberria, who participated in the 2011 autopsy of Chilean President Salvador Allende. However, the team is “prudent” because the findings have not been verified using DNA testing.

Mayor Ana Botella of the governing People’s Party described Cervantes, known as the “Prince of the Letters,” as an icon for Spanish literature. She said Madrid is considering setting up a memorial site for the author at the convent in similar fashion to that of William Shakespeare at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

A writer and soldier, Cervantes published “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” in two parts in 1605 and 1615. The work, considered a treasure of Spanish and world literature, describes the travails of an elderly knight who sets out on his old horse Rocinante and with his squire Sancho Panza to seek adventure.

The research was funded by the government of Madrid.