Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spain rethinks reopening of prehistoric art 'Sistine Chapel'

Spain's Altamira cave, dubbed the "Sistine Chapel" of Paleolithic art because of the paintings of animals on its ceiling, will no longer reopen to the public as planned at the end of the year.

The cave located some 30 kilometres (19 miles) west of the northern city of Santander has been closed since 2002 because the breath and body heat from visitors threatened the fragile natural pigments used in the cave art.

But in June the foundation which manages the the cave announced it would reopen the site to the public at the end of 2010 once a panel of experts determined how many people could safely be allowed to visit.

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