Nearly 400 years after his death, the quest to find Cervantes had led Spanish scientists deep into the sub-soil of a 17th-century convent. Some of bones dug up in recent months almost certainly belong to Cervantes, they said.
“Everything coincides to lead us to believe that Cervantes is there,” forensics export Francisco Etxeberria told a news conference.
Investigators may never be able to guarantee with absolute certainty that it was his body, Exteberria added, even though DNA tests are to be carried out.
Cervantes — whose masterpiece about an errant, daydreaming knight and his faithful servant Sancho Panza, has delighted readers around the world — had requested to be buried in the convent.
The Trinitarian religious order had helped to pay a ransom to release him from slavery after he was captured by Moorish pirates. He died in 1616 — the same week as William Shakespeare.
Historians hope to establish a burial site to attract literary pilgrims. Madrid mayor Ana Botella said authorities were looking into the possibility of opening up the site to visitors.