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Altamira cave paintings to be opened to the public once again

A detail of the roof in the replica of the Altamira cave. Photograph: Esteban Cobo/EPA

A detail of the roof in the replica of the Altamira cave. Photograph: Esteban Cobo/EPA

For 12 years, visitors wanting to see Spain‘s prized prehistoric Altamira cave paintings have had to settle for a replica in a museum a few hundred feet away.

But from Thursday, small groups of visitors will again be allowed in the cave, which has been described as the Sistine Chapel of paleolithic art, as part of an experiment to determine whether the paintings can support the presence of sightseers.

The vast cavern complex, in the Cantabria region of northern Spain, was made a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1985. It is covered in paintings dated to between 14,000 and 20,000 years ago of animals including European bison and bulls….cont

 

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