Climate crisis ‘accelerating degradation’ of ancient rock paintings

Climate crisis ‘accelerating degradation’ of ancient rock paintings
Rising temperatures have ‘grave implications for conservation of globally significant cultural heritage,’ say experts

T

he climate crisis is speeding up the deterioration of some of the world’s oldest cave paintings, experts say.

The paintings in Indonesia, which are up to 45,000 years old, include the oldest known hand stencil, dating from 39,900 years ago, according to a study in Scientific Reports.

Rising temperatures and more consecutive dry days, combined with standing water from monsoon rains, are increasingly creating ideal conditions for weathering caused by salt crystals, the researchers found.

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