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"In 1947 alone, they dug out 600 cubic metres of sediment to make an entrance and concrete path and installed lighting for the public." Six hundred cubic metres (22,000 cubic feet) is the equivalent to about eight 12-metre (40 foot) shipping containers.
"No prior study was done, and it completely changed the cave's micro-climate," sighed Clottes.
"We altered its balance." In its untroubled state, the cave's microscopic flora had had thousands of years to reach a truce in the battle for habitat.
Chastened, conservationists today focus on a multi-disciplinary approach, believing any single thrust has side effects in other fields.
Recently, in Paris, over 200 archaeologists, anthropologists and other scientists gathered for an unprecedented symposium to discuss the plight of the priceless treasures of Lascaux, and to find a solution to preserve them for the future.
The Symposium took place under the aegis of France's Ministry of Culture and Communication, and presided over by Dr. Sections have been identified in the cave; the Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines.
A single individual was allowed to enter the cave for 20 minutes once a week to monitor climatic conditions.
A 2010 picture of a prehistoric painting in the Lascaux Cave in southwestern France.
As of 2006, the situation became even graver - the cave saw the growth of black mold.