Spain narrows search for remains of 'Quixote' author

Researchers looking for the remains of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, the author of "Don Quixote", said Monday they had identified five spots in a Madrid church where his bones may lie.

Scientists used infrared cameras, 3D scanners and a ground-penetrating radar to pinpoint the five areas at the church of the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians where human remains may be found, said forensic anthropologist Francisco Etxeberria who is leading the search.

They will now search these locations for bones, starting in the crypt which appeared to have about 30 alcoves where bones could be stored, he told a news conference.

"It is like a patient who is going to have surgery. Doctors must take X-rays first," said Etxeberria, who participated in the autopsy that confirmed the suicide of former Chilean president Salvador Allende.

Cervantes is recorded as having been buried in the church a day after his death on April 22, 1616 -- the same week that William Shakespeare died.

He died a poor man but had strong links with the Trinitarian religious order which negotiated his release and helped pay a ransom after he was captured by pirates.

The church has been expanded over the centuries, however, and the exact whereabouts of the writer's remains have been forgotten.

The researchers will look for bones in the crypt first because it had a larger number of alcoves than had previously been thought and there is a greater chance that Cervantes' remains could be found there, Etxeberria said.

"It is reasonable to think that if Miguel de Cervantes' remains where exhumed because of any works that were carried out in the church, they would have been deposited in one of these alcoves, just like any other bones that were found in the subsoil," he said.

"We don't want to generate false hopes. I don't know if we are going to find him."

Madrid mayor Ana Botella told the news conference that the city would finance this next phase in the search.

- 'No rush' -

Etxeberria's team launched what is the first significant search for the remains of the greatest writer of the Spanish Golden Age at the end of April.

If human bones are found in the church, forensic scientists will rely on the author's specific physical characteristics as documented in portraits or his own stories to identify his remains.

Cervantes received three musket shots, two in the chest and one in his left hand, during a 1571 naval conflict, the Battle of Lepanto, in which the Holy League led by Spain defeated the Ottoman fleet.

The shooting caused him to lose the use of his hand and is believed to have left marks on his bones.

There was no timeline for when scientist would start looking for bones in the church although forensic identification could be completed this year, said Terrietia, who has worked on more than 100 exhumations of graves from the Spanish Civil War.

"We are talking about a universal figure, we want to do things without any rush, seriously," he said.

If Cervantes's remains are identified, it is planned that he remain buried in the convent, which is still inhabited by nuns and has been designated part of Madrid's cultural heritage since 1921.

Born near Madrid in 1547, Cervantes has been dubbed the father of the modern novel for "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha", published in two parts in 1605 and 1615.

His works have had a huge influence on authors, painters and composers down the centuries.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe
    National Geographic 'Afghan girl' in Pakistan papers probe

    Pakistani officials are investigating after the famous green-eyed "Afghan girl" immortalised in a 1985 National Geographic magazine cover was found living in the country on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of the then 12-year-old Sharbat Gula, taken in a refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Now Pakistani officials say that Gula applied for a Pakistani identity card in the northwestern city of Peshawar in April …

  • NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual
    NYC, Orthodox Jews reach deal on circumcision suction ritual

    NEW YORK (AP) — The city said Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over a tradition known as oral suction circumcision. …

  • ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’
    ‘Noy angered by previous SAF failures to get Marwan’

    Supt. Raymund Train, who led the SAF team that killed Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, recounted in a sworn statement the meeting he and senior SAF officers had with Aquino in Malacañang on Nov. 30. Train said among the senior officers who attended the meeting were then PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima, SAF chief Director Getulio Napeñas, SAF deputy commander Chief Supt. Noli Taliño and intelligence group chief Senior Supt. Fernando Mendez. …

  • Duterte: Disband all armed groups
    Duterte: Disband all armed groups

    All armed groups, including those of the communists and Muslim secessionist groups, should be disbanded for the country to achieve stability, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday. Duterte said even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Moro National Liberation Front and the New People’s Army should be asked to lay down their arms once these groups agree to join him in what he described as a unity government if he becomes President in 2016. Duterte said under the federal government that he is …

  • Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark
    Vatican seeks to quell Mexican anger over pope's drug remark

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican sought Wednesday to defuse a diplomatic tiff with Mexico after Pope Francis referred to the possible "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking, the latest instance of Francis' casual speaking style getting him into trouble. …

  • School can’t sack unwed mom – SC
    School can’t sack unwed mom – SC

    The dismissal of an employee of a Catholic school on the grounds of premarital sexual relations and pregnancy out of wedlock was illegal, the Supreme Court (SC) has ruled. In a 23-page decision promulgated on Feb. 17, the third division of the high court struck down the decision of St. Scholastica’s College-Westgrove (SSCW) in Silang, Cavite to dismiss Cheryll Santos Leus for “disgraceful or immoral conduct” in violation of the school’s 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools (MRPS). …

  • BOC destroys P50-M smuggled shoes
    BOC destroys P50-M smuggled shoes

    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) destroyed yesterday some P50 million worth of fake footwear products earlier seized in an anti-smuggling drive. The knockoffs of popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, Converse, Skechers, Northface, Leaveland, Merelle, Lacoste, Vans, Havaianas and Ipanema were confiscated from Warehouse 4 in Olivarez Compound, Parañaque City. …

  • Gunmen torch Marwan’s hut
    Gunmen torch Marwan’s hut

    Unidentified gunmen burned down the hut used by slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan in a remote village in Mamasapano. The hut was torched late Tuesday, just hours after members of the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Board of Inquiry made an ocular inspection of the site where 44 commandos of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in a firefight with Muslim rebels in Barangay Tukanalipao on Jan. 25. The SAF policemen were on a mission to capture Zulkifli, alias …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options