Stone Age rock paintings could be destroyed in France due to rising sea levels

(ORDO NEWS) — French archaeologists are trying to save 30,000-year-old Stone Age rock paintings. They are threatened by rising sea levels and plastic pollution.

To get to these drawings, archaeologists first need to dive into the Mediterranean Sea near Marseille, and then go through a 137-meter tunnel, at the end of which is a huge cave.

It is the only place in the world where rock paintings of prehistoric marine life have been found and it is almost flooded. Climate change and pollution have threatened the existence of unique drawings.

Archaeologist Luke Wanrell and his colleagues carefully record every detail in order to recreate a 3D replica of the Kosker Cave on land.

Every year the water level rises by a few more millimeters, destroying more and more ancient drawings and carvings inside the grotto with an area of ​​2.5 thousand square meters. m.

There are about 600 signs, images and drawings on its walls. “When everything is finished, our virtual Cosker Cave, replicated to the millimeter, will be indispensable for explorers and archaeologists who cannot physically get inside,” said Luke Wanrell.

Archaeologist Michel Olive said that when ancient people used the grotto, the sea level was 135 meters lower than today.

Judging by the images on the walls, the coastal plain abounded with horses, deer, bison, ibex, prehistoric bison cows, and saigas.

Seals, penguins and bears lived nearby, and there were many fish in the ocean waters. Scientists counted 229 images of 13 different animal species.

Ancient Neolithic men and women left their handprints – 69 drawings in red and black.

The sheer density of graphics places Kosker among the four largest rock art sites in the world. The cave was named after the diver Henri Cosker, who accidentally discovered it in 1985.

He kept his discovery secret for a long time, but in 1991 he nevertheless spoke about the discovery. Since then, dozens of archaeological research missions have been carried out to study and preserve the site, as well as inventory the paintings and carvings.

One of the mysteries of the cave is the question of what it was used for, because people did not live there, reports France24.

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