Policy ForumConservation

Paleolithic Art in Peril: Policy and Science Collide at Altamira Cave

Science  07 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6052, pp. 42-43
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206788

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In the last decade, considerable attention has been paid to the deterioration of the caves that house the world's most prominent Paleolithic rock art. This is exemplified by the caves of Lascaux (Dordogne, France) (1) and Altamira (Cantabria, Spain), both declared World Heritage Sites. The Altamira Cave has been closed to visitors since 2002. Since 2010, reopening the Altamira Cave has been under consideration. We argue that research indicates the need to preserve the cave by keeping it closed in the near future.