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7 August 2007
Vandals destroy 8,000-year-old artwork in Spain

Vandals have destroyed cave paintings dating back thousands of years with graffiti. Fluorescent yellow paint was sprayed over carvings, thought to be around 8,000 years old, inside the Cova de la Clau in Palma de Gandia (Spain), last week. However, they left a 16,000-year-old engraving of a horse in the Cova del Parpalló untouched. Gandia's municipal archaeologist, Joan Cardona, was said to be 'horrified' at the news. "It would be like destroying a Goya, a Picasso or a Velázquez," he said.
     Some of the carvings, which were discovered in 2001, have been removed and are held in various museums throughout the province, but those that remain have been declared UNESCO heritage sites. This is not the first time prehistoric engravings in La Safor caves have been under threat from vandals. Three years ago, graffiti was found in the Cova del Parpalló, but it had not covered the rock art. A year previously, dirty blankets and hypodermic needles were found inside the same cave. Four years ago, the Cova de les Meravelles ('cave of wonders') in Gandia and the Cova del Bolomor in Tavernes de la Valldigna suffered damage, their Paleolithic carvings destroyed by graffiti.
     The latest act of criminal damage has raised questions amongst residents and local authorities, who are concerned about the lack of security in these areas. Fences that are easy to break down or climb over, and broken padlocks, are all that keep undesirables out.

Source: Think Spain (7 August 2007)

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