16th Century Playing Cards Found Behind Monastery Clock

Playing cards from the 16th century have been found in the mechanism of a monastery clock that experts suspect were possibly used by monks for sneaky games at opportune moments.

Two restorers found the cards while working on the clock at Santes Creus, a Cistercian monastery located in the municipality of Aiguamurcia in the Spanish region of Catalonia.

The restorers reportedly also found other items in the back of the clock which, following analysis, also appear to be from the 16th century.

Credit: Newsflash/Agencia Catalana Patrimoni Cultural
The clock during the restoration process

Thee included fragments of old parchment, an old letter, a shoe, and a broken bottle that were all found in the clock’s mechanism.

The monastery clock, which has not been studied until now, is located on the south wall at a height of 12 metres (39 feet).

The clock, estimated to be from 1575, had bells at one time, but they have since disappeared.

The most interesting item found in the back of the clock was the 12 playing cards which are also believed to have come from the 16th century.

Credit: Newsflash/Agencia Catalana Patrimoni Cultural
The monastry

Archaeologist Carmen Subiranas told Newsflash: “We do not know why there are there, but the discovery tells us that monks used to play cards in the monastery.

“We believe they used to hide there to play cards.”

She added that every card appeared to have been folded or ripped on purpose, possibly because the monks were caught in the act.

Laia Duran and Nuria Jutglar are carrying out the monastery restoration works and they expect to finish by the end of the month.


To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Ana LacasaSub-EditorMichael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash

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