Re-establishing an underground climate appropriate for the conservation of the prehistoric paintings and engravings at Lascaux
Authors: Brunet, Jacques; Vouvé, Jean; Malaurent, Philippe
Source: Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Number 1, 2000 , pp. 33-45(13)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:The prehistoric paintings and engravings of the Lascaux cave almost disappeared in the 1960s, victims of their own fame. The facilities installed to allow public access to the cave disturbed and destabilized the equilibrium which had been responsible for conserving the cave's art. The complexity of the parameters at play raised the question: had the age-old equilibrium, which had kept the rock art in such excellent condition, been irretrievably destroyed?
Thirty years of measurements and research have made it possible to examine, in both the short term and the long term, the validity of the decisions that were taken. It was found that the climatic equilibrium of this natural cave, essential to the appropriate control of the underground environment, could be restored. Since 1996, automated data-collection tools, which remain reliable even in harsh environmental conditions, have replaced manual data-collection methods. The continuous monitoring made possible by automatic data-collection heralds a new era in the scientific management of this type of cultural heritage.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2000-01-01