Workers in Spain restoring a statue of Christ were stunned when they discovered a hidden centuries-old time capsule.
Science Alert, citing Spanish media outlet EFE, reports that a secret message written by an 18th-century priest was found inside the hollow wooden statue of Christ crucified, called Cristo del Miserere.
The statue had been taken from the church of Santa Agueda in Sotillo de la Ribera, in Northern Spain, for restoration. Experts from art restoration specialist Da Vinci Restauro reportedly found the letter when they took out a removable part of the statue — the wooden ‘cloth’ covering the figure’s buttocks.
The note was written in 1777 by Joaquin Minguez, a chaplain at the Cathedral de Burgo Osma. In the letter, Minguez makes reference to Manuel Bal, sculptor of Cristo del Miserere and five other statues in the Santa Agueda church. Minguez also mentions the then King of Spain, Carlos III, local dignitaries and the region’s crops. Additionally, the letter touches on common diseases of the time, such as malaria and typhoid fever, as well as popular entertainments such as cards and ball games.
The letter, which experts carefully removed from the statue, is written on both sides of two pieces of paper. The fascinating document has been sent to the archives of the Archbishopric of Burgos, although a copy has been placed back inside the statue.
This is not the first time that a statue has revealed its secrets. A 1,000-year-old mummified monk, for example, was found inside a Chinese statue of Buddha.
Last year researchers at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History found a human skull inside an exhibit that depicts a man fighting off lions while riding a camel through the desert. The display was being moved for restoration when the grisly find was made.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers