Documenting the light sensitivity of Spanish Levantine rock art paintings
Keywords: Exposure, Light, Microfading spectrometry, Photosensitivity, Pigments, Spanish Levantine Rock art
Abstract. A case study to evaluate the use of microfading spectrometry (MFS) for the study of colored systems found in prehistoric rock art paintings was conducted in the Cova Remígia rock-shelter, Castellón (Spain). This rock shelter is part of the rock art sites of the Mediterranean basin on the Iberian Peninsula included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Some of the paintings belonging to this group are exposed to environmental factors including natural daylight, wind and rain, depending on the time of the day and the season of the year. Therefore, their preservation is a major concern to stakeholders and researchers responsible for protecting and studying these prehistoric paintings. The experimental work in Cova Remigia focused on measuring the reflectance curves (400-700 nm) and determining the photostability of various areas containing red and black pigments on the rock art paintings. The preliminary results indicate that MFS is a suitable technique for studying the response to light of rock/pigment systems found in rock art sites. The advantages and limitations of the technique are discussed.