Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lascaux Cave fungus

Prehistoric Cave Art Of Horse, France.

Neolithic art and fungus are not good bedfellows. Or wallfellows.

The black fungus that is creeping across the 17,000-year-old murals of animals and hunters in the cave of Lascaux, France, causes great concern. So the Lascaux Caves International Scientific Committee and other international experts met in Paris for two days to discuss solutions.

Apparently a fungicide was applied (I prefer the words "smeared" or "glopped" but scientists like to use more clinical terms) a year ago, in January of 2008. No one but scientists have been allowed to visit Lascaux since 1963 (tourists actually visit a replica cave), so the cause is a bit puzzling.

An air-conditioning system installed in 2001 seems to have kicked off the first mold. More details about that and the fungal progression are available in this article.

In this AP story from, the Committee chief, Marc Gaulthier, blames global warning for raising the temperature inside the cave, which interferes with the air circulation and allows the fungus to grow. A couple of solutions are floated in this story, too, which other news pieces lacked.

1 comment:

caves of lascaux said...

Thanks for sharing this post. The complex painted caves of Lascaux are located in the Dordogne region. The awe-inspiring paintings are also described as ‘the antediluvian Sistine Chapel’.1200 visitors daily visit the cave. The initial climatic situation had been re-build and maintained with the assistance of a fully-automated system. The original caves were made in 1980 called as Lascaux II.