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19 August 2006
Spanish forest fires char Stone Age art

Priceless art dating from the Stone Age has been damaged in forest fires, some deliberately set, in northwestern Spain, officials said. Color paintings and carvings on rocks, known as petroglyphs, of wildlife and geometric patterns dating back about 4,000 years, have been charred and blackened in fires in Campo Lameiro and Cotobade in northwestern Galicia, local government spokeswoman Iria Mendez said. It is too early to determine whether some of the art, considered a national treasure, has been damaged beyond repair, Mendez said.
     Hundreds of fires have raged through the heavily wooded northwestern corner of Spain in the past week, killing wildlife and roasting a countryside containing rare remains of early human habitation, such as the paintings. Police have arrested 15 people this month, nine in the past four days, on suspicion of starting many of the fires.

Source: AZ Central, Associated Press (12 August 2006)

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