Don Quixote Author’s Coffin Found in Crypt

Last Saturday, a coffin bearing the initials M.C. and containing human remains, was found in a crypt of the Trinitarias Descalzas convent, near the Museo del Prado in Madrid. According to El País, the coffin is widely thought to be that of Miguel de Cervantes, the writer who penned the legendary novel Don Quixote in 1605, and whose body has been missing for hundreds of years.

It is known that Cervantes was buried in an unmarked grave in a Madrid convent, located within a 300 square-meter radius of the Trinitarias Descalzas convent. In April 2014, after deciding that the Trinitarias was the most likely location, a painstaking investigation kicked-off, culminating in last weekend’s discovery.

The team of archaeologists and forensic experts are now working to confirm that the remains belong to Cervantes. The team has several avenues to explore. One of them is the presence of injuries in the bones, since it’s widely known that Cervantes fought in the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571, where he sustained grave wounds in his arm, hand, and chest. Other lines of evidence are the shroud and the wood of the coffin, which will provide dating information that might match that of Cervantes.

The discovery of Cervantes’s remains would not only put an end to long-unsolved questions about his death at 68, in 1616 (was it due to a cirrhosis of the liver, provoked by his drinking habits? Was it due to malaria or heart failure?) Crucially, it would also make possible the establishment of a proper, marked grave, that admirers could visit to pay respect to a writer widely celebrated as the “father of the modern novel.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics