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Convent of San Clemente, Spain

WMF has begun fieldwork at the medieval Spanish convent of San Clemente, just outside the city walls of Toledo.

Despite the significance of the site and its royal connections (a child of Alfonso VIII is buried here), water damage continued unabated for many years. We stepped in to assist the nuns in a restoration campaign.

Our first project focuses on the chapterhouse, which contains the finest surviving 15th-century tiled floor in Toledo. We probed the walls of the building to determine what (if anything) was behind them, and found 16th-century painted plasterwork and murals that are being examined in order to date them more accurately.

The discovery of hidden treasures did not stop there. Workers also discovered a niche hidden in a cloister entryway. Upon the removal of later stonework, 11th-century murals were uncovered. They could be among the oldest surviving wall paintings in the entire city.

These extraordinary discoveries add a great deal to our knowledge of the chapterhouse. The success of our pilot project brought the municipality and regional government on board, and a restoration and management plan is now in place. Tourism development is expected to bring in funds for future work and continuing maintenance. WMF is currently working on a master plan for the restoration of the entire monastery.