Fisherman finds priceless medieval religious icon on Spanish riverbed

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
Fisherman finds priceless medieval religious icon on Spanish riverbed
The statue is thought to date from the 14th Century. Photo: Apatrigal

A fisherman has stumbled across a medieval religious treasure while fishing in shallow waters in a river near the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela.


Fernando Brey discovered the moss covered statue earlier this month while fly fishing in the river Sar and reported the find to local cultural heritage authorities.

“I came across what looked like a large stone and half climbed it to launch the fly,” he told La Voz de Galicia adding that although it was covered with moss, it immediately stood out from the other rocks.

“It occurred to me that it was a square-ish stone which is unusual to find in a river and I looked down at the ripples that formed around it and saw the shape of a head and thought ‘this is something’,” he said.

He took some photos and sent them to Ana Paula Castor from Apatrigal, a cultural heritage association in Galicia and she reported the find to Galicia’s Cultural Ministry.

Initial analysis appears to suggest it is a granite statue of a Virgin in the Gothic style, possibly dating from the 14th Century.

It may be the lost icon of the Virgin of the Concha that was once adorned a chapel that served as a forgotten pilgrimage site in Conxo, close to where the statue was found.

The statue which weighs around 150 kg appears to have two angels on the shoulders of the main figure and a garland of flowers at its feet.


On Monday archaeologists from Santiago’s Pilgrimage Museum visited the site and oversaw the removal of the piece from the riverbed and its transferral to the museum workshop where it can be cleaned and properly examined.

"It's not every day that you witness the recovery of an asset of such great heritage value as this Virgin statue discovered in the river Sar as it passes through Conxo," said Roman Rodriguez from the regional culture secretary, in a tweet on Monday.







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