Secret Centuries-Old Document Discovered Inside Buttocks of Jesus Statue
During restorations of an 18th century wooden statue of Jesus Christ, Spanish workers discovered a peculiar note that appears to be a makeshift time capsule. The most surprising and bizarre thing about this unexpected discovery is that the note was found in the buttocks of the statue.
Archaeologists Haven’t Confirmed the Discovery Yet
According to the statue's restorers, the note dates back to 1777 and is signed by Joaquin Minguez, a chaplain of the cathedral of Burgo de Osma at the time. It’s interesting, however, that historians and archaeologists haven’t confirmed the legitimacy of the find yet, despite the restoration company that made the discovery triumphantly announcing the origins and contents of the note.
The document was found hidden under the wooden loin cloth of the statue. (Image: Da Vinci Restauro)
The statue is most of the time kept at the church of Santa Agueda in the village of Sotillo de la Ribera in the northern Spanish province of Burgos. The document was discovered by workers of the Madrid-based art restoration company. They were restoring the wooden statue when they reportedly found two pieces of paper hidden inside the hollow wooden statue, after removing a piece of fabric that covered Christ's behind. “The document of the eighteenth century appeared when we were dismantling the Christ of the cross,” restorer Gemma Ramírez Millares told MailOnline. And added, “The wood is hollow inside, and the sculptor introduced the two permaninos, which we have found. The document found talks about life in the town in 1777, the author, the local economy, games and customs of the time, etc.”
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The statue of Christ in situ in the Church of Santa Agueda, Sotillo de la Ribera (Image: Da Vinci Restauro)
Next, Da Vinci Restauro Company made a re-enactment video showing how its artists spotted the remarkable document. After, they contacted a local historian named Efren Arroyo, who said according to Daily Mail, “It is amazing, because it really is unique to find hidden handwritten documents inside such statues.”
Document Destined to Serve as Time Capsule
Da Vinci Restauro Company stated that the document includes the identity of the statue's sculptor, as well as information about the local village's economy, political and religious matters, famous people and Spain’s past. According to National Geographic, Mínguez reports pretty much the general picture of the region's daily economic and cultural life. First, the priest mentions that the statue was created by an artist named Manuel Bal, who also made other wooden objects for churches in the region. He then recounts the prosperous harvests of many grains like wheat, rye, oats, barley and stores of wine.
The opening page of the document that was secreted. (Image: Da Vinci Restauro)
Furthermore, Mínguez focuses on diseases like typhoid fever that infected a respectable amount of the villagers during this time period. On a different note, the priest mentions that cards and balls were used in the village for entertainment.
Mínguez doesn’t only focus on local activities, however, and writes about Spain's political climate at the time as well. He details that King Carlos III is on the throne, and that the Spanish court is in Madrid, while he also mentions the deadly Spanish Inquisition, which lasted from 1478 to 1834. Mínguez's letters cover a truly extensive range of matters, a fact that makes historian Efren Arroyo speculate that the chaplain probably intended to write the letters as a form of time capsule for future generations. Arroyo also told newspaper El Mundo that it's really rare to find artifacts hidden inside church statues. “It's one of the most surprising discoveries made by the restoration group,” Da Vinci Restauro Company’s workers said as National Geographic reports.
The end of the document is dated 1777 and signed but has yet to be authenticated. (Image: Da Vinci Restauro)
The newly discovered documents have been sent to the Archbishop of Burgos, where they will be archived. Interestingly, a copy of the original document was created and placed back into the buttocks to preserve Mínguez's intent.
Top image: The document was found hidden under the wooden loin cloth of the statue. (Image: Da Vinci Restauro)