World’s Oldest Cave Art being Destroyed due to Climate Change

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World’s oldest cave art being destroyed due to climate change

Recently, researchers have reported that 45,000–20,000-year-old Pleistocene-era rock paintings are degrading at an alarming rate in cave sites in southern Sulawesi on Sulawesi Island, Indonesia.

Painted limestone cave surfaces in South Sulawesi in Indonesia are being destroyed by chemical processes, including salt crystallization. Scientists warn that, environmental degradation is destroying one of the oldest and most precious things of the world’s human heritage.

Key Points:

  • It should be noted that a team of scientists investigated 11 caves and rock shelters in the Maros-Pangkep area in Sulawesi.
  • The artwork in the area includes what is believed to be the world’s oldest hand stencil (almost 40,000 years ago), , which was built by hand pressing on the wall of a cave, and later on it with wet red-mulberry The paint was sprayed. A nearby cave features the world’s oldest depiction of an animal, a warty pig painted on the wall 45,500 years ago.
  • The researchers studied flakes of rock that have begun to detach from cave surfaces to find that salts in three of the samples comprise calcium sulphate and sodium chloride, which are known to form crystals on rock surfaces, causing them to break. The area is known to be home to over 300 cave paintings.
  • They found that artwork made with pigment was decaying due to a process known as haloclasty, which begins with the development of salt crystals due to repeated changes in temperature and humidity in wet and dry climates in the area.

Source – Indian Express

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