A large and well-preserved statue of an animal attacking another that is thousands of years old has been found by a farmer digging an irrigation ditch in an olive grove in southern Spain.
The discovery was made by tractor driving Gonzalo Crespo as he ploughed a trench in his field in the municipality of La Rambla, in Spain’s southern Cordoba province, on 28th October.
The 62-year-old was in his tractor, making the furrow to carry water, when he hit an obstacle that turned out to be the valuable archaeological discovery.
Crespo called a friend from the police, who told him not to disturb the find, and experts shortly arrived at the scene. The farmer told local media: “I don’t know anything about archaeology, but I knew what I’d found when I saw the technicians’ faces.”
Crespo had inherited the plot of land from his parents under a year ago, and the limestone statue was found in perfect condition some 60 centimeters (23 inches) from the surface of the ground.
It measured 106 x 50.5 x 34.5 centimetres (42 x 20 x 14 inches) and weighed 166 kilograms (365 pounds), and it was transferred to the Archaeological Museum in the provincial capital Cordoba.
The statue is believed to be of either a lioness or a wolf attacking another animal, possibly a ram. It is believed to have been carved by the Iberians, who were the peoples who inhabited the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula.
They were present in the region from at least the 6th century BC until their Romanisation following the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, which began in 206 BC.
The archaeologists involved in the recovery of the statue have hypothesised that it may have been placed upon a pillar. However, in their database, there is no record of an archaeological site at the location of the find. As such, they have since decided to search the land in the hope of unearthing an important archaeological site.
As for Crespo, whose efforts have been commended by the Regional Government of Andalusia’s Board of Culture, he has not yet been able to visit his find.
He told local media: “Because of the pandemic, I haven’t been able to see it again. After I saw it for the first time, I want to look at it in more detail but I am at least pleased that it’s where it needs to be.”