She is a mystery and she has kept her secrets since her discovery in 1897. A 14-year-old boy found the statue which is a woman's head, neck and shoulders on a private estate at L'Alcudia in Valencia Spain. The icon is known as the Lady of Elche.
Her headdress is reminiscent of Star War's Padmé Amidala in her royal regalia, however this limestone bust was created in the 4th century BCE. When it was found, it contained traces of red, white and blue decorative paint, leading to the belief that she was a priestess or perhaps even representative of Tanit, the Iberian goddess of Carthage. The composition of the stone reveals that it was carved at L'Alcudia.
There are other theories that posit that she is an Atlantean Goddess, and that her elongated head and her headdress is a type of technological headgear.
The opening in the rear of the sculpture indicates it may have been used as a funerary urn and that she was part of either a seated or standing statue.
The site where the bust was found is an archaeological site which has found evidence of an Iberian-Punic settlement. Roman houses, walls and mosaics have also been found, one which shows an effigy of Saint Abdon which belonged to a Christian basilica dating to the 5th century.
Within a short time of its discovery the bust of the Lady of Elche was bought by the Louvre and exhibited there for 40 years. In 1939, due to the dangers of WWII, as a precaution it was taken to the Castle of Montauban near Toulouse. It was returned to Spain in 1941 during an exchange for other artifacts negotiated with France.
In 1948 her image appeared on a one-peseta banknote and in 1971 she was transferred to the National Archaeological Museum of Spain where she is currently exhibited along with other pre-Roman examples of Iberian culture.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer