By Michael Harthorne, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2017 2:26 PM CST
(NEWSER) – It turns out Jesus’ butt has a lot to teach us about life in 18th century Spain. A wooden statue of Jesus on the cross hanging in the Church of Santa Agueda in Sotillo de la Ribera, Spain, was old and in need of fixing up, Science Alert reports. According to National Geographic, a team of preservationists were lifting the statue, Cristo del Miserere, onto a work bench when they realized there was something inside it. The team discovered the buttocks-portion of the statue was removable and concealed a document signed in 1777 by Joaquin Minguez, the chaplain of the Cathedral of the Burgo de Osma. “Although it is usual for many sculptures to be hollow, it is not so much to find handwritten documents inside,” Science Alert quotes historian Efren Arroyo as saying.
Over both sides of two pages of paper, Minguez describes life in Spain in the late-1700s. He talks about harvesting wheat, rye, barley, and oats and discusses the region’s wine production, Gizmodo reports. He names malaria and typhoid fever as dangerous afflictions and notes that entertainment is provided by “cards, ball, bald, bar and other puerile games.” He mentions the Spanish Inquisition and King Carlos III and praises Manuel Bal, sculptor of Cristo del Miserere, as a “natural scholar.” According to the New York Post, Minguez’s document even names popular bullfighters of the time. Arroyo says the document appears to be an early form of time capsule. It has been archived for preservation, but a copy of Minguez’s writing has been reinserted into Jesus’ behind for future generations. (A nightclub’s time capsule caused an evacuation in New York City.)