‘M.C.’ written in tacks on a casket beneath a convent in Madrid could lead to resting place of Don Quixote
Researchers looking for the remains of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes have found part of a casket at a Madrid convent bearing the initials of the Don Quixote author.
The team made the find over the weekend inside an alcove in the crypt at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians during excavations aimed at solving the mystery of the writer’s final resting place.
“Remains of caskets were found, wood, rocks, some bone fragments, and indeed one of the fragments of a board of one of the caskets had the letters ‘M.C.’ formed in tacks,” forensic anthropologist Francisco Etxeberria, who is leading the search, told a news conference on Monday.
Cervantes is recorded as having been buried at the convent’s chapel in the centre of the Spanish capital a day after his death on 22 April, 1616 – the same week that William Shakespeare died – but the exact whereabouts of his grave are unknown.
Etxeberria’s team launched the first significant search for the remains of the greatest writer of the Spanish Golden Age nine months ago.
Using infrared cameras, 3D scanners and ground-penetrating radar, they identified 33 alcoves where bones could be stored.
They resumed their search on Saturday after a break of several months to probe the alcoves.
Researchers will now have to examine the bones to try to determine if Cervantes’ are among them. Etxeberria cautioned the search was far from over.
“These two letters could be very interesting” but added that “from an anthropological point of view”, they had not made any advances.