Illustration for article titled A Team of Archeologists May Have Found the Body of Cervantes

Earlier this week, experts announced that they may have found the remains of Don Quixote writer Miguel de Cervantes in crypt in Madrid. The fragments of a coffin with initials "M.C." were found under the chapel of a cloistered convent, and now forensic work will determine if one of the bodies found was actually Cervantes'.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza

Now, a team of forensic anthropologists to determine if one of the ten bodies found belongs to the author. Among the clues they will use is the age of Cervantes at death (69), portraits of him, and his own accounts of the state of his body — shortly before dying, he claimed that he only had six teeth.


Thankfully for the scientists, and less so for Cervantes, he sustained distinctive wounds in the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. Cervantes was hit with three musket shots, two in the chest and one in his hand.

All of these things will help the scientists determine if they really have found Cervantes, although team member Francisco Etxeberri warned at a press conference on Monday:

We can't at all confirm that we have found Cervantes, we can't guarantee this was Cervantes' coffin either, but the reality is that we have found a very battered coffin which was falling apart, and some badly damaged bones in that corner of the crypt.

[AP via Smithsonian Magazine]

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