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Visiting The Altamira Cave In Spain

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 197

Due to weather related conditions and the plague of humanity in general, historically and archeologically important sites become endangered. One of these sites is the Altamira Cave located in Spain. It was closed in 2002 due to the emergence of green bacteria that was eroding the ancient cave paintings. Although not open to the public just yet due to the threat of the bacteria re-emerging it's important to have your passport ready to go as soon as the site is open if you do want to see this amazing UNESCO World Heritage site. Otherwise a same day passport would be necessary in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

Altamira Cave The Altamira Cave was discovered in 1879, it is an UNESCO World Heritage site that features many multicolored cave paintings, including depictions of red bison. The cave dates back to the Upper Paleolithic time period around 14,000 years ago. This site is important because it was the first cave in which prehistoric paintings were discovered. There was much debate in the archaeological community regarding the authenticity of the paintings and whether or not prehistoric humans held the intellectual capacity for such artwork. However, in 1902 the authenticity was determined which forever changed the view of prehistoric humans. The Altamira Cave is located in Spain in the town of Santillana del Mar.

Green Bacteria In 2002 green bacteria was discovered in the cave. Scientists believe that this bacterium thrived due to the artificial light that had been installed in the cave. The green bacteria was eroding the cave wall away which in turn lead to corrosion of the famed paintings. For this reason the cave was closed to the public. Since the closing the green bacteria has diminished. There is talk of reopening the cave however there is debate due to the fact that admitting visitors would exacerbate the problem once again and further endangering the paintings. Conditions such as increased temperatures, carbon dioxide levels, and humidity and many other factors would also help the bacteria grow and spread and enhance the corrosion of the rock wall.

Altamira Replica Before the cave was closed completely to visitors a certain amount were allowed in per day. However this lead to a three year wait list. For this reason the renowned artists Manuel Franquelo and Sven Nevel reproduced the cave as well as its art. The replica cave and museum were built nearby and allow for a much more comfortable view of the cave paintings. There are also sculptures of the human faces that were otherwise not visible in the original cave. Other reproductions can be found at the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid and the Deutsches Museum in Munich in Germany as well as Japan.

Even if the site is still closed a visit to the Altamira Cave is possible due to the replica. It is an important site when it comes to the evolution of prehistoric humans and what the scientific community knows about them today. So have your passport at the ready to visit this ancient site, why rush to get a same day passport the day the site opens, when you can have your passport ready to go and focus on a journey that take you to the Upper Paleolithic time period.

Source: EzineArticles
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