Zhitenev V.S., Chervyatsova O.Y..
The Problems of Preserving the Paleolithic Image of a Camel in the Kapova Cave
// History magazine - researches. – 2020. – № 1.
– P. 15-23.
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Abstract: The article presents an analysis of the causes for the unsatisfactory conservation state of the Upper Paleolithic wall image of a two-humped camel in the Kapova cave (South Ural, Republic of Bashkortostan). The work in revealing the monument's original colorful painting without a preliminary scientific examination of the layered calcite crusts, the absence among the organizers and participants of restoration specialists, archaeologists and karstologists with extensive work experience in the Kapova Cave - an archaeological monument of national significance, led to the corrosion of these unique images' colorful layers. The karstological and archaeological studies of the "Horses and Signs" panel in the Chaos Hall were undertaken in 2009 by the article's authors and are still ongoing. The discovery of the two-humped camel image and its significance for studying the culture of the Upper Paleolithic has pushed to the background the significant issue of preserving this image. The article presents the first review of the causes for the unsuccessful exposure of the monument's drawing. The modern state of the Chaos Hall in the Kapova Cave provides unfavorable conditions for the preservation of these drawings, exposed from beneath calcite crusts, which have acted as a natural preservative. The main factor of destruction is tied to the abundant focal infiltration of karst waters, which have variable physical and chemical parameters due to the high permeability of the rock mass. At the same time, there are no tested methods of protecting paint layers of exposed images in caves, which puts the Kapova Cave drawings at risk of rapid degradation. At the present stage of cave exploration, new clearing of drawings is unacceptable and may lead to their destruction.
Keywords: Preservation, karst water, calcite, karstology, Upper palaeolithic, Cultural heritage, Palaeolithic parietal art, Kapova cave, microbial contamination, paint layer degradation
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