The Chauvet-Pont d'Arc and Aven d'Orgnac caves are home to prehistoric treasures of rare artistic and technical beauty. The drawings and engravings that adorn them date back 360 centuries, making them among the oldest-known remains. The exceptional importance of these caves led to their inclusion on UNESCO's World Heritage List. As soon as they were discovered in 1994, preventive conservation measures were put in place to preserve the caves' natural environment and minimize potential impacts from visits and studies. Controlling microclimate parameters is essential to ensure their preservation, requiring high-precision meteorological monitoring.
Campbell Scientific provided a complete solution to meet these complex challenges. A system of sensors was deployed in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc and Aven d'Orgnac caves, measuring parameters such as temperature, barometric pressure, and CO2 using a CR3000 Measurement and Control Datalogger. On the surface, a CR1000 Measurement and Control Datalogger was installed to measure outdoor parameters such as rainfall, temperature, and barometric pressure. In addition, an identical mirror station, equipped with a CR3000 and the same sensors, was installed 7 km (4.4 mi) away in Aven d'Orgnac. All data were recorded synchronously every 15 minutes at both underground sites, as well as at the surface climatological station.
The caves’ sensor system provides the following benefits:
In conclusion, the collaboration between Campbell Scientific and the managers of these caves has made it possible to protect these prehistoric sites by monitoring and maintaining ideal environmental conditions, thus helping to preserve this unique cultural heritage for future generations.