Spanish investigators announced on Tuesday they believe they have found the remains of Spanish literary great Miguel de Cervantes, nearly four centuries after he was buried. The famed author of Don Quixote, considered by many the first modern novel, requested to be buried in a convent in Madrid before his death in 1616. The convent was later rebuilt and the exact whereabouts of Cervantes’ tomb has been a mystery every since.
For the past year a team of investigators using infrared cameras, 3D scanners, and radar have been trying to locate the author’s remains under the convent in central Madrid. “The researchers said Tuesday that they weren’t able to categorically identify Cervantes’s remains in a Madrid convent after four centuries of deterioration that had left many of the bones as fragments,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “But based on historical documentation and archaeological evidence compiled over the past year, they said that they determined they had found the remains of Spain’s prince of prose.”
Cervantes’ remains were able to disappear, in part, because while his work when on to international literary acclaim, according to the New York Times, “such recognition as a writer came too late to bring Cervantes any fortune, after a life spent mostly as a soldier — including a five-year spell in captivity after pirates intercepted his naval ship.”