Cave Paintings :
We are now witnessing greater impacts of climate change than ever before, soaring temperatures, violent Hurricanes, Forest fires, Polar ice-caps melting, and rising sea levels.
Well, here’s another bitter fruit bore by the changing climate. World’s oldest cave paintings are being destroyed because of climate change.
Researchers are concerned and have warned that climate change is erasing the most precious pieces of the world’s human heritage that have been present for 1000s of years. The cave paintings of the Pleistocene-era that dates back to 45,000-20,000 years ago found in the southern Sulawesi island, Indonesia are fading at an alarming rate.
Scientists have reported the research data in an open-access journal ‘Scientific Reports,’ published by Nature Research.
What are these Cave Paintings?
A team of archaeological scientists, conservative specialists, and heritage managers studied 11 caves and rock shelters located in the Maros-Pangleep region of Sulawesi, Indonesia.
And among the cave arts discovered in the region, they also found hand stencil that dates back to almost 40,000 years, believed to be the oldest cave paintings ever to be discovered.
Hand Stencil is an art believed to be originated during the Pleistocene era, they used their hands to press against the wall of the cave and used wet red mulberry pigments to spray over the hand to create an artwork.
Image credit: Pablo Gimenez / Flickr
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How are they fading?
The researchers have found that the changing climate is destroying these invaluable artworks that speak the history of mankind.
Based on the analysis of the cave samples, they found that due to the changes happening in the weather, crystals of Calcium sulfate and Sodium chloride are being formed on the walls which cause flaking of the surface of the walls, eroding the paintings that were present for 1000s of years.
Repeated rise and drop in humidity and temperatures are the culprits of this cave-paintings-destruction as the cave arts are made of pigments that are prone to such environmental changes.
And now that Indonesia is witnessing numerous natural disasters, the deterioration process has only hastened.
These cave paintings were discovered very recently and new ones are still being discovered.
The scientists proposed the government monitor the site and initiate immediate actions to preserve this priceless artwork of history just like the prehistoric caves in Lascaux and Altamira preserved by the French and Spanish governments.