Fascinating guides to extraordinary fossils in the Algarve have been launched today by Lagos’ Centro de Ciencias Vivas.
We’re not talking about elderly gin-swilling expats, but geological fossils – some of them as old as 500 million years – ‘hidden in plain sight’ in churches and public buildings, all of them easily accessible to anyone interested.
As paleontologist Luis Azevedo Rodrigues told RTP television, this was the impetus behind the guides on the geology and paleontology of Lagos, Tavira and Faro, co-written with art historian Rita Manteigas. The duo’s idea was to take people on a wonderful tour back in time.
Rodrigues explained that Manteigas regularly enters churches these days ‘looking at the ground’.
In the Sé de Faro, for instance, there are fossils buried in flagstones by the pulpit that could be termed “a zoological garden of the Earth’s past”.
Blocks of marble show tiny life forms dating back 500 million years, while multi-coloured granites hark from the time of the dinosaurs, 150 million years ago.
For now, the guides can be found at official tourist offices in the three venues, their information ‘unique’, says RTP, in as much as it cannot be found in any books currently available.