Spain to reopen Altamira caves despite warnings

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

MADRID (AP) – Spain has decided after eight years to reopen a cave complex boasting prized prehistoric paintings, despite scientists warnings’ that heat from human visitors damages the art.

The Culture Ministry and the site’s board of directors said Tuesday that visits to the caves of Altamira in the northern Cantabria region will resume next year on a restricted basis.

The main chamber at Altamira features 21 splendid bison painted in red and black, which seem to charge against a low, limestone ceiling. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

From 1982-2002 only a handful of visits were allowed each day, after scientists warned that visitors’ body heat and breath were damaging the paintings. They’re estimated to be 14,000 to 20,000 years old.

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