MONTIGNAC, France (AFP) – They call her the Old Lady, for she is some 18,000 years old and frail, which is why she is protected by steel doors, security cameras and the gentlest nurturing the 21st century has to offer.
Tucked away on a hillside in Montignac, in the Dordogne region of southwest France, the dame of Lascaux is an Ice Age treasure.
Her walls are covered with remarkable pictures of horses, extinct bison and ibexes, painted when Man was still a hunter-gatherer and his survival far from certain.
But the cave is also at threat from invisible invaders: microbial contaminants resulting from some awful mistakes made last century.
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