Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Controversy over reopening the 'Sistine Chapel' of Stone Age art

Date:
October 26, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Plans to reopen Spain's Altamira caves are stirring controversy over the possibility that tourists' visits will further damage the 20,000-year old wall paintings that changed views about the intellectual ability of prehistoric people, according to a new article. The caves are the site of Stone Age paintings so magnificent that experts have called them the "Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art."

Plans to reopen Spain’s Altamira caves are stirring controversy over the possibility that tourists’ visits will further damage the 20,000-year old wall paintings that changed views about the intellectual ability of prehistoric people. That’s the topic of an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. The caves are the site of Stone Age paintings so magnificent that experts have called them the “Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art.”

Related Articles


Carmen Drahl, C&EN associate editor, points out in the article that Spanish officials closed the tourist mecca to the public in 2002 after scientists realized that visitors were fostering growth of bacteria that damage the paintings. Now, however, they plan to reopen the caves. Declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Altamira’s rock paintings of animals and human hands made scientists realize that Stone Age people had intellectual capabilities far greater than previously believed.

The article explains how moisture and carbon dioxide from tourists’ breath, body heat and footsteps (which kick up bacterial spores) foster growth of bacteria on the cave walls. Those bacteria damage the precious wall paintings, which supposedly influenced great modern artists like Picasso. Drahl discusses the scientific controversy over limited reopening of the caves to tourism and measures that could minimize further damage to the paintings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carmen Drahl. For Cave's Art, An Uncertain Future. Chemical & Engineering News, 2011; 89 (43): 38-40 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Controversy over reopening the 'Sistine Chapel' of Stone Age art." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122437.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, October 26). Controversy over reopening the 'Sistine Chapel' of Stone Age art. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122437.htm
American Chemical Society. "Controversy over reopening the 'Sistine Chapel' of Stone Age art." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026122437.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) — A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) — Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Could Cheap Oil Help Fix U.S. Roads?

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — As falling oil prices boost Americans' spending power, the U.S. government is also gaining flexibility from savings on oil. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

Raw: Russian Surfers Brave Icy Cold Waters

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) — Surfers in Russia's biggest port city on the Pacific Ocean, Vladivostok, were enjoying the sport on Saturday despite below freezing temperatures and icy cold waters. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins