The ruins of a 600-year-old convent in Spain hid a much older secret – a three-fingerprint

Surrounded by picturesque countryside in Spain, the crumbling stones of a convent hid a secret. Archaeologists were surprised.

The Convent of Santa Catalina del Monte in Cariñena flourished from the 1400s to the early 1800s. The building, however, fell into disrepair, according to a Tuesday, January 31, press release from the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Zaragoza. .

Archaeologists, led by Eduardo Díez de Pinos López, began excavating and restoring the site in 2021, museum officials said. During this excavation, a particular stone caught the attention of López.

The large limestone slab had an unusual indentation, a three-fingered shape that almost looked like a footprint. Photos from the museum show the beige colored stone.

The photos show the stonecut at the site of the convent.

The archaeologists decided to investigate further and called in officials from the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Zaragoza. Looking at the stone, scientists concluded that it was a dinosaur footprint.

The footprint matched the tracks of theropods, medium-sized carnivorous dinosaurs, experts said. The Footprint Stone is estimated to be between 135 and 140 million years old.

A trace shows the shape of the dinosaur's track.

A trace shows the shape of the dinosaur’s track.

The stone was probably used in the construction of a convent wall in the 17th and 18th centuries, experts said. The rock, however, was not from the area. It was most likely brought from Villanueva de Huerva, a town about 10 miles to the west where similar dinosaur footprints have been found.

Restoration efforts are still ongoing at the 600-year-old convent. A Facebook video shared by Acrotera Heritage Management in August shows the ruins. Much of a wall is still standing, but the rest of the site has been reduced to fragments.

Cariñena is about 280 km northeast of Madrid.

Google Translate was used to translate the press release from the Museum of Natural Sciences of the University of Zaragoza. Facebook Translate was used to translate the Acrotera Heritage Management message.

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