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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Some time ago a couple of friends, Derek and Laura, came to stay with us. Derek mentioned something about the death mask of a cursed mummy in Villena that he would like to see. We ignored him of course and did the usual round of paella eating and laughing at the centre of Pinoso.

Villena is a town about 30kms from us. It's a nice place and I'd read that their nativity scene or belén was a good one this year so Maggie and I thought we would go and have a look. Well actually I thought we'd go and have a look and Maggie didn't object violently enough to stop it happening.

The belén was good and as we walked across the square from the cultural centre and poked our noses inside the church a woman pounced on us and gave us a guided tour. She suggested we have a look at the archaeoligical museum. It wasn't a cursed mummy it was the Treasure of Villena and, sorry Derek, we should have listened.

A couple of workman in 1963 found a bracelet in the gravel they were spreading. They hung the bracelet up on the wall so that whoever had dropped it could reclaim it. A bit later one of them thought they might just pop it aound to the local jeweller to see if it was worth anything. As it was half a kilo of 24 carat gold it did have a certain value but as it was also 3,000 years old and from the late Bronze Age the jeweller suggested that melting it down wasn't such a good idea. He asked a local archaeologist to have a look at it. In turn this bloke, a regular Hercule Poirot, suggested they go and have a look where the gravel had come from just in case there was anything else there. Seventy pieces of gold weighing in at 9 kilos was what they found.

We got this story from a subtitled version of a No-Do, the Spanish equivalent of the Pathé News but with even more of a propoganda edge. The re-enactment of the discovery of the bracelet by the real life Spanish workmen on the film was of about the same quality as the Stainland Amateur Players rendition of "An Inspector Calls" except that the workmen did not fall over. Nonetheless it gave us the story. And the nice woman at the museum opened up the showcase and let us have a look at the real stuff.

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