The Ministry of Education and Sports, through the Office of Cultural Heritage and Fine Arts; the organization World Monuments Fund Spain and Stuart Weitzman’s Foundation for the Preservation of the Caves of Cantabria, have signed an agreement that will allow the Altamira National Museum and Research Center to produce new high-resolution digital documents about the cave.
The Altamira Museum, whose main mission is to acquire scientific knowledge about the Altamira Cave, has been delving into the documentation of its artistic representations for decades. With the signing of this agreement, this work will be facilitated, the introduction of technology that will provide greater accuracy.
The main goal of this institutional collaboration is therefore to provide the Altamira Museum with the most advanced technical tools that will enable the scientific documentation of the Altamira Cave to be expanded, to promote the preservation, knowledge and dissemination of its artistic exhibits and to increase the management capacity of the decision-making institution.
For this, light measurement will be made on the walls and ceiling of the entire cave, from the entrance to the Final Gallery, with a resolution of 200-250 microns for general areas and 50 microns for panels with rock art.
In the Polychrome Room, the most recognizable part of the Altamira Cave, where its iconic bison are found, a new orthoimage will be created using laser scanning and photometry.
Thanks to this technology, at least 25,000 photographs will be created for the entire surface of the sky, about 160 photographs per square meter.
Knowledge of the dyes used, the technical process and its different stages will be increased with multispectral analysis technology and the application of algorithms, according to a notice from the Ministry of Education and Sports.
The project will also enable the documentation of the Altamira Cave environment to be expanded. In its immediate surroundings, and on the site of the Altamira Museum, a geophysical exploration campaign will be carried out to discover the morphology of the cave before the ancient collapse.
In its environment, other caves near Altamira, such as La Castañera, will be topographically reviewed and digitized in three dimensions, to know the exact relationship between them and determine if these caves are related to each other.
DOCUMENT TO WET
The signing of this agreement published today by the Government Official Gazette (BOE) will represent an extremely important boost for the protection of the Altamira Cave. And the fact is that with the latest documentation and the latest technology, the time that the technical staff of the Altamira Museum dedicates to research inside the cave can be reduced to a minimum.
However, comparing the new orthophoto with the one made in 2013 will provide a framework to objectively measure the changes that may have occurred in the preservation of the paintings. In addition, this new technology will make it possible to locate, measure and record physical and microbiological changes.
Thus, the results will make a more accurate assessment of the state of preservation of the paintings and improve the control of the government’s supervision of them, thus ensuring the future protection of the cave art in Altamira Cave.
COOPERATION OF THE INSTITUTIONS
The National Museum and Research Center in Altamira will oversee the development of the works as well as the results. To do this, it will establish a working model based on a proactive protection plan for the Altamira cave, respecting the length of stay and loading capacity and not using destructive or invasive techniques.
In this way, the institute’s technicians will be present inside the cave during the field work.
For their part, the World Monuments Fund Spain and Stuart Weitzman’s Foundation for the Preservation of the Caves of Cantabria will take care of the financing and contracting of the necessary works, estimated at a maximum of 30,000 euros, which can be expanded in later stages up to 150,000 euros. .
Thanks to their contribution, the Altamira Cave will have the latest technical equipment that will improve both the documentation of the cave art and its preservation.
WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY FUND
The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is a leading independent organization dedicated to safeguarding built cultural heritage, promoting mutual understanding between cultures and societies.
The organization is headquartered in New York City with offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Since 1965, an international team of experts has been involved in preserving the cultural heritage of 700 sites in 112 countries.
The company was founded in 1992 and since then it has collaborated in the restoration of monuments such as the Alhambra in Granada, the Roman theater in Malaga, the Cartuja de Miraflores in Burgos or a monastery in Seville.