A team from the Madrid-based art restoration company, Da Vinci Restauro, claim to have found what could be one of Europe's oldest time capsules. According to local media, the recently discovered 300-year-old document had been hidden inside a hollow statue of Jesus Christ. It is worth pointing out that the story has yet to be confirmed by historians and archaeologists.
The handwritten note is two pages long and, according to the team behind the discovery, dates back to 1777. They say it was signed by Joaquin Minguez, a priest from the cathedral Burgo de Osma.
Local historian Efren Arroyo, who also happens to be a member of the Holy Week Brotherhood of Sotillo de la Ribera and was involved in the restoration project, is reported to have said: "It is amazing, because it really is unique to find hidden handwritten documents inside such statues”.
He believes the priest made the time capsule intentionally to record what life was like at the time, though his academic credentials aren't particularly clear.
As for the contents of the note, it seems to cover a random mix of topics, from games to common diseases to famous sportsmen. Minguez talks about typhus and malaria fevers that last three or four days, the names of famous bullfighters and aldermen, and popular pastimes, such as "cards, ball, bald, bar and other puerile games."
The priest also covers certain political and economic events and information about the food grown in the Bishopric of Burgo de Osma. He makes special reference to the wine, which had seen bountiful harvest for "many years".
The wooden statue in question is usually stored at the church of Santa Agueda in Sotillo de la Ribera, Burgos, northern Spain, and according to Minguez's document, it was carved by a man called Manuel Bal. The note itself was located (where else?) in the statue's rear end. News reports say the restorers only found the document after removing a piece of fabric used to cover Jesus' posterior.
While it's certainly an interesting and unusual find, we will have to wait and see if the claims turn out to be correct.