Caves in Lascaux Invaded by Strange White Fungus
LASCAUX, FRANCE.- The caves in Lascaux, which has been called the Sistine Chapel of prehistoric rock art, has been invaded a white fungus. “The figures are so modernist in design that when Picasso emerged from the cave soon after it was first discovered in 1940 he exclaimed: ´We have invented nothing,´” reported Steve Connor for Unison. The caves, which have been designated a World Heritage Site, were first invaded by the fungus in 2001 when an air conditioner was installed. Authorities tried to play the fungus down saying “We think that now there is no risk to the paintings. A few years ago we thought there would be a risk to them because of this fungus,” Dr. Jean-Michel Geneste said to the reporter. The air conditioner was supposed to protect the 17,000 year old cave paintings from heat and humidity.
Above re-posted from Art Daily (http://www.artdaily.com/section/news/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=15729) 2006.05.11
What a completely odd notion… cave paintings – believed to have been created some 17,000 years ago…. and now (circa 2001) we believe we can help them survive longer by using a technology nearly 100 years old.. (1902 — Willis Carrier ) “to modify the heat and humidity”… Strange… and now we observe a white fungus on the paintings. The balance upset by our own invasive species.
A lesson to learn to leave well enough alone.
Wouldn’t you think that lasting 17,000 years is a pretty good indication that rapid deterioration is not accruing. I would think the work has probably experience quite of few cycles of the natural environmental climate range – why do we come along and muck it up with “preserving” it? Perhaps we should create a very high resolution surface scan of the paintings for recreation / publication / archival purposes and then seal up the cave so that we can protect it from the environmental pollutions we spew into the air… That’s probably the real danger to the disintegration of the work… Turns out that’s what the Ministry of Culture for France ended up doing – and a detailed replica was made called LASCAUX II in order to represent the work.
Amazing. More here