Despite Scientists’ Warnings Spain’s Cultural Ministry to Reopen Caves of Altamira

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Spain's Cultural Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde said that Spain has decided to reopen a cave complex with prized prehistoric paintings after 8 years of closure, despite scientists warnings' that heat from human visitors damages the art. - AP Photo/Pedro A. Saura

MADRID (AP).- A cave complex boasting prized prehistoric
paintings will reopen after eight years of closure, despite scientist’s warnings
that heat and moisture from human visitors damage the site.
The
caves, in Cantabria, Spain, were discovered by a hunter in 1868. Visited in 1875
by Marcelino de Sautuola, a nobleman who found animal bones and flint tools, the
paintings of the caves were not discovered until he returned 1879 with his
little daughter Maria. It was she who first noticed paintings of bison, horses,
red deer, boars, humans and palm-prints on the ceiling. The pictures, estimated
to be 15,000-20,000 years old, are dynamic and the movement of the animals comes
to life through the prehistoric artists’ use of the reliefs and uneven surface
of the walls, breathing life into the images.