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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June, 2003, 02:46 GMT 03:46 UK
'Columbus remains' taken for tests
Box alleged to contain Columbus's bones in Seville
The box was taken from Seville Cathedral to a Granada lab
Spanish scientists have opened a tomb in the cathedral of Seville, in an attempt to resolve the question of Christopher Columbus's final resting place.

Both Seville and the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, claim to hold the explorer's remains.

The scientists, from Granada University, will use DNA from Columbus's relatives to establish whether the remains buried in Seville are his.

They say they will seek permission to examine the tomb in Santo Domingo if the test comes up negative.

The researchers removed two boxes from an ornate tomb in the cathedral in Seville on Monday.

One box is believed to hold the explorer's bones. The other is known to hold those of his son Hernando.

No historian in the world has conclusive proof of where Columbus is buried - that's what we're trying to find out
Marcial Castro
Granada University
The removal was performed in the presence of two descendants of Columbus - Jaime and Anunicada Colon de Carvajal.

A third box believed to contain the bones of Columbus' brother, Diego - which were exhumed close to Seville last year - was also taken to Granada University.

"This is possibly the first time the three ever travelled together," said Marcial Castro, the researcher who launched the project.

Mr Castro told the Associated Press that he suspected the true bones were in the Dominican Republic.

However he added: "No historian in the world has conclusive proof of where Columbus is buried. That's what we're trying to find out."

Bones of contention

When Christopher Columbus died in 1506 his remains were to be buried in America - according to his will.

Christopher Columbus
Columbus travelled a lot, both before and after his death
But no church of sufficient stature existed there at that time, so the explorer was buried in the Spanish city of Valladolid.

Eventually, in 1537, his remains were sent for burial to Santo Domingo.

But they were subsequently removed by Spain, the colonial power, because of political upheavals on the island.

In 1877, workers digging inside the Santo Domingo cathedral unearthed a box containing bones, inscribed with the name of Christopher Columbus.

Those remains are now buried at a Columbus monument in the Dominican capital. The Dominicans say the Spaniards must have taken the wrong body.

Results from the tests are expected in several months.

Columbus mystery unravels
19 Sep 02  |  Europe
DNA may solve Columbus mystery
11 Jun 02  |  Americas

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