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Fisherman Finds Medieval Statue on Riverbank

A 700-year-old religious statue was found by a fisherman in Spain, when he literally stepped over it on his way to his favorite fishing spot.

Fishing for trout on a river in Galicia, Spain in early June 2020, a local man accidentally trod upon what he thought was just another river stone. But upon closer inspection, he realized that the stone was not natural but appeared to be an old statue. So he took some photos and when he returned home, he emailed them to a member of a local heritage association, who, along with other experts, identified it as a 14th-century statue of the Virgin Mary flanked by two angels and holding the baby Jesus in her lap.

The statue, which weighs about 330 lbs, has an acanthus leaf design carved into its base, which has led experts to believe that it once was attached to a church wall, where it would have been seen from below. Their best guess is that it was once part of a now-destroyed church in Conxo, which was originally located near the river where the carving was found. Conxo is also the final destination point on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail.

This famous trail through northern Spain has long been used by Christians as they made a 35-day trip from Pamplona to Santiago, Spain, to pray at the tomb of St. James (shown above). However, some historians believe that this path may have been used far earlier than Christian times and may have led to a far more ancient sacred site.

The carving has since been moved to the Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago for restoration and further study. Museum experts hope to be able to determine how such an important part of a church could have end up, hundreds of years later, lying abandoned in a riverbed.


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