Ecological Mapping for the Preventive Conservation of Prehistoric Mural Paintings in Rock Habitats: the Site of Filiano (Basilicata, Italy)

Giulia Caneva, Marco Tescari, Flavia Bartoli, Maria Pia Nugari, Anna Maria Pietrini, Ornella Salvadori


Biodeterioration phenomena are of great relevance in rock settlements, due to favourable environmental conditions, such as the infiltration of rainwaters, condensation phenomena and abundance of salts and organic nutrients. Rinaldi’s rock shelter in Filiano, which is located in a natural forest of mixed oaks is of great value due to the important traces of prehistoric paintings. It is an emblematic case of the delicate balance, achieved throughout the centuries, between the environment and artwork. During the plurimillenarian history of the site, a portion of the ceiling that covered the shelter collapsed, leaving signs that are still visible today, together with traces of blackening left by the fires of ancient settlements. Several of the biodeteriogens typical of rocky habitats have already been detected and include algae, cyanobacteria, mosses, lichens, vascular plants and fungi, which form macroscopic communities.

Each community has an ecological preference and the mapping of their distribution is a suitable tool for understanding variations in the environmental factors that most affect them. Relating ecological data to the taxonomical characterization of the species and to the spatial distribution of each community, a site map of the humidity and of the nutrients was obtained. Among the various communities, microcolonial fungi (MCF), which appear as little black spots, here, represent the most critical risk factor, due to their low water needs. An evaluation of the biological risk for the possible future attack of such a biological community was made, suggesting indirect mitigation measures, through modification of the microclimatic and local ventilation conditions.


mural paintings; biodeterioration ecology; rock settlements; water mapping

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1973-9494/7118


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Copyright (c) 2015 Giulia Caneva, Marco Tescari, Flavia Bartoli, Maria Pia Nugari, Anna Maria Pietrini, Ornella Salvadori

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