Marja-Leena Rathje
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Save Lascaux


Recently I wrote about the fungus in Lascaux Caves. Since then I've had some interesting correspondence from Melody Di Piazza. She has given me permission to share it with my readers (hyperlinks mine):

"I am the vice-chair of the International Committee for the Preservation of Lascaux. If you would like to read more about the crisis threatening the survival of Lascaux you will find a text link to our document, Lascaux: Masterpiece in Peril, at Save Lascaux.Org. Contrary to recent statements by French authorities Lascaux remains in grave danger of failing. As recently as last month we are aware that visitors to the cave saw mold still growing on the paintings."

"The International Committee for the Preservation of Lascaux is dedicated to preserving the original, prehistoric paintings in the cave of Lascaux. The ICPL works to raise public awareness of the rapid deterioration of the cave and its irreplaceable art; to initiate public action in efforts to safeguard Lascaux for future generations and to actively engage professionals from all fields of conservation in the preservation of the cave and its paintings."
"It is our belief that the art of Lascaux is a legacy belonging to all mankind. The cave's discovery in 1940 redefined what was previously known about our creative development as human beings and our ability to construct image from abstract thought. This critical leap, and its resulting tangible evidence, is invaluable to understanding our global human heritage."
"Our website is under construction and will probably not be fully functional for several weeks but please check back with us as we will continually update the situation in Lascaux. Our document, Lascaux: Masterpiece in Peril, gives a very good history of what has happened in the cave. There is also a link to the 15 May, 2006 TIME magazine cover story on Lascaux. Since that article, the French authorities have publicly announced that all is well in the cave. We have first hand reports from witnesses who saw the cave in April that mold is still growing on the paintings."
"Our first goal as a committee was to break the silence which has surrounded the crisis in Lascaux since 2000. We did this with the TIME magazine piece. We continue to work to keep this story out in the public. Our main goal is to affect change in the way the French government handles the care of the cave by creating oversight with transparency and accountability. We are calling for truly independent (i.e., not part of the French government or bureaucratic system) commission of scientists, prehistorians and specialists in cave conservation to monitor the cave, its health and report back to the world about the state of Lascaux. The artists of Lascaux were not French. They were our human ancestors and their heritage belongs to all of us."

(Image above is from the Painted Gallery, Lascaux)

Marja-Leena | 25/05/2006 | 4 comments
themes: Rock Art & Archaeology


Thanks for the update, Marja-Leena. I so hope they can do something - and not something worse.

I hope so too, Leslee!


My name is Holly, I'm 15 years old and I live in Australia. I have only just recently been told about The Lascaux Cave and have decided to do a Social Science assignment on it. I have found everything you, and anyone else has said about the preservation of this spectacualar and very interesting. I have never visited Lascaux II I probably never will but I do hope that a solution is soon found so that many generations can enjoy and marvel over the glorious paintings created.

Your Truely,
Aussie listener,

Hi Holly, thanks for visiting! I'm glad you are doing this project, to spread awareness of this exceptional treasure that needs to be saved for future generations.