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Corrupted cave paintings due to salt erosion, believed to be the oldest in the world

Archaeologists warn that cave paintings on Sulawesi, Indonesia, considered the oldest in the world, are rapidly declining due to salt erosion that may have been caused by climate change.

Paintings in the Maros-Pankep region depict a group of beastmen, or humans with animal characteristics, that were discovered in a limestone cave in 2017 and appear to be hunting animals about 44,000 years ago. is included.

Another painting of Sulawesi boar Recently dated at least 45,500 years old..

Experts are currently competing with time to find ways to preserve valuable Pleistocene works of art.

“The impact is very serious and will destroy the painting,” said Baslan Barhan, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Australia.

This 137 cm long wart pig is part of a scene that includes two other imperfect pigs. Photo: Maxim Ober

Studies by Australian and Indonesian archaeologists have shown that rising temperatures and the aggravation of the El Nino phenomenon accelerated the crystallization of salt in the caves, effectively “peeling” the paintings. Was announced in Science report last month..

The study said the long-term drought combined with heavy monsoon rains created a “very favorable” condition that increased salt crystallization.

“The pigments that make up the image of the cave wall have been stripped,” said archaeologist Rustan Labe, pointing to an image on a laptop showing the magnitude of the stripping from October 2018 to March 2019. ..

Photo documentation showed that nearly 1.5 square centimeters had peeled off within those 6 months.

Dr. Labe, who works at the Cultural Heritage Conservation Center of the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, said archaeologists will monitor the growth of salt crystals and other small creatures on the walls of the cave in small teams.

“We work to prevent potential threatening factors and address issues immediately,” said Dr. Labe.

-Reuters /ABC



Corrupted cave paintings due to salt erosion, believed to be the oldest in the world

Source link Corrupted cave paintings due to salt erosion, believed to be the oldest in the world

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