The Cave Paintings of the Lascaux Cave

Lascaux Cave Paintings - The Future



Recommendations for the future?

lascaux cave art paintings france
Horse Falling Backwards
Photograph N. Aujoulat (2003) © MCC-CNP
Comparisons have repeatedly been made with medicine, concerning diseases that Lascaux suffers from or has suffered from. It is true that all those who know the underground setting well know that it behaves just like a living organism, with its adaptation and self-regulation abilities or even the ability to regenerate when certain aggressions and changes remain within certain limits. To refer back to this comparison, it is necessary to adopt the most basic saying used by medical doctors, that of the Hippocrates oath, Primum non nocere.

Transposed to the actions in the cave, this implies two main principles: never directly touch fragile decorated walls; run impact studies before the implementation of any new curative policy. In the right-hand side of the cave, we know that the surfaces are crumbly and that any brushing action, even with a very fine brush, will lead to a loss of substance. Such actions are to be forbidden in the decorated areas, since they will cause irreversible damage and will have unpredictable results (infestations can occur again).

lascaux cave art paintings france
Frieze of the Small Horses
Photograph N. Aujoulat (2003) © MCC-CNP
The impact studies to test the proposed therapeutic methods, rightly recommended by UNESCO, must be the rule. Some of them can be conducted in a laboratory, but the creation of the laboratory-cave described above would greatly facilitate these studies.

Microbiologists have repeatedly insisted on the fact that spraying biocide can have harmful secondary effects, for example in eliminating the microorganisms which can limit the proliferation of harmful mushrooms, or even in creating organic elements or detritus that some can feed on.

Here are some examples of research that could be done in this field
Studying the genome of the microorganisms living on the walls, which can now be done with powerful and quick methods
Exploring the path of bacteriophage viruses
Testing various radiations which could stop the observed proliferations, or even reduce the melanin

Among the practical measures, it has been suggested (R.-J. Koestler) to re-install the airlock - known as the Bauer Airlock - isolating the right-hand side of the cave from the Hall of the Bulls and the Axial Gallery.

As a logical follow-up to this Symposium and in keeping with its open and interdisciplinarity spirit, one can hope that there will be more communication between specialists and that this will be made easier, either on a personal or institutional level. The vast amount of information collected must be correlated, which presents the problem of an improvement of collaboration systems between specialists and of data management. To avoid the recurrence of misunderstandings, I suggest a health report of Lascaux be established every six months or once a year, and be made available to the public. Moreover, it would most definitely be favourable to plan for the organization of another Symposium in three years, so as to evaluate the situation regarding actions which have been taken in the meantime and their results, which we all hope to be positive.

Lascaux is the tragic illustration of human errors, when fluctuating age-old equilibrium is suddenly broken. Efforts must now be concentrated on the future, in coming out of the other side of the crisis that began a few years ago and to find a new climatic and biological equilibrium, never again that which has for a long time prevailed but still one which will ensure the durability of the paintings and engravings.

Good can result from something bad. Our Spanish colleagues have told us that they benefited from the precedence of Lascaux's problems in order to make decisions regarding the management of Altamira. Furthermore, thanks to the presence of our colleagues from other continents, specialists in other cultures and in other types of rock art, we have been able to widen the conclusions to be drawn from this crisis to other types of rock art sites worldwide.

Rock art as a whole is one of the most important cultural heritage assets in the history of Humanity. Lascaux is certainly one of its jewels, but the most humble of the decorated sites is a witness of ancient cultural beliefs and practices, and therefore it must be protected. Lascaux strongly reminds us of the reasons why preservation is a necessity: above all to limit the effects of human activity on any decorated sites, and on their surrounding environment. That is the main condition for their survival.

Jean CLOTTES
President of the Symposium


Lascaux Cave Introduction
Lascaux Cave Paintings Symposium | Page | 1 | 2 |
Lascaux Cave Symposium Conclusions
Lascaux Cave Symposium Results
Lascaux Cave Paintings - The Future

France Rock Art Archive

bradshaw foundation donate help
Mailing List

Email Sign-Up
website updates

Email

First Name

Last Name

Country

Travel
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Coso Range Nevada Oregon Territory Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Portable Art Research Paper Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Tanum Rock Art Museum Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation