Rescue mission for ancient cave paintings

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Work has begun to record ancient cave paintings at Wemyss in Fife, Scotland, before the sea washes them away.

Experts say that the cave drawings include the largest collection of Pictish art in northern Europe and also early Christian imagery and Viking representations.

In addition, ledges and benches have been cut out in some of the caves, and 'hold-fasts' have been made in the walls by previous inhabitants.

Now a project commissioned by the Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society (SWACS), Scottish Coastal Archaeology, Problems of Erosion and the York Archaeology Trust is using 3D lasers to create an image of the caves to go online.

But the contract is only for one cave and more money needs to be raised before the other six caves can be catalogued.

SWACS was set up in 1986 and over the years has spent its time trying to slow the pace of coastal erosion but to no avail.

The society says that the caves were used by early Christians and smugglers as far back as the 5th century. They were first discovered by Professor James Young Simpson in 1865.