HE roamed the country as a tax inspector and knew Spain like the back of his hand.

But Miguel de Cervantes – creator of legendary novel Don Quixote – was also said to have been an alcholic who drank himself into an early grave.

Now archaeologists hope to solve a centuries-long mystery by digging up the writer’s bones.

The team led by historian Fernando Prado are to pull up the floors of a convent in Madrid, where it is thought he is buried.

His bones will then allow forensic teams to confirm if he died of cirrhosis of the liver brought on by drinking.

They will also be able to reconstruct his face – previously only seen in a picture painted 20 years after his death – finally showing the world how he looked.

Cervantes died in Madrid in 1616 – just 10 days before Shakespeare.

Those undertaking the search will need to use geo-radar technology to scan up to five metres below ground.

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  1. The Convent concerned is the Trinitarias Descalzas in Calle Lope de Vega, a beautiful street which runs of the Paseo del Prado up towards Puerta del Sol.
    The 12 nuns are enclosed but the doors open Monday to Friday at 9 for Mass at 9.30.
    Mass on Saturdays at 19.30 and on Sundays 10 and 12
    The illegitimae daughter of Lope de Vega,Spain’s greatest playwright, was a nun here.
    Don’t miss it !
    But try to pray,rather than gawp…………

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