Scientists believe they have found the remains of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of the classic Spanish novel Don Quixote.
Forensic investigators think they have discovered the bones of the author, along with those of his wife and other people recorded as buried in the convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians in Madrid.
The investigation began in January after the scientists gained permission to open the 60-square-metre crypt where he was believed to be buried, five metres underground.
But the scientists say separating Cervantes’ badly damaged bones from other discovered fragments is likely to be difficult.
The investigators told reporters that “mathematical proof” of the find was impossible given the lack of DNA evidence.
They said “prudence” was still needed, but that they could conclude the writer had been found based on the historical, retrospective and anthropological data. DNA analysis could establish which bones do not belong to Cervantes.
The author died in the same week as William Shakespeare in 1616, but the exact location of his burial was unknown after the convent was rebuilt.