Archaeologists have produced a vivid, high-tech scan of ancient art on a sandstone ceiling at a shelter in the French Alps, capturing prehistoric paintings at an altitude of about 7000 feet.
The shelter, called Abri Faravel, is on a plateau in France, and the paintings in it are said to be the highest-altitude prehistoric animal art in Europe. The scientists had to carry car batteries to the site to power the equipment they used to make a laser scan of the area, as well as the white-light scan of the cave art.
The art on the ceiling shows two animals, head to head, as well as a series of parallel lines.
Humans inhabited the Abri Faravel shelter, first discovered in 2010, in different periods over thousands of years from the middle Stone Age to the medieval, and besides the striking cave art, flint tools, pottery, metalwork, and even a human leg bone have been found there.
The work was carried out by scientists from the University of York in England.
"As this site is so unusual, we made the decision to carry out a laser-scan of the rock shelter and the surrounding landscape, plus a white-light scan of the actual paintings,” Kevin Walsh, a senior lecturer at the university’s archaeology department, said in a statement. “The scanning was logistically complex as our only source of electricity was car batteries, which, along with all of the scanning equipment, had to be carried up to the site.”
The images and research about the site were published in the open-access journal Internet Archaeology.
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