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Both periods belong to the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age.

During the 1970s and 2000s, the paintings were being damaged by the carbon dioxide in the breath of the large number of visitors.

Altamira was completely closed to the public in 1977, and reopened to limited access in 1982.

and consists of a series of twisting passages and chambers.

The main passage varies from two to six meters in height.

He published his research with the support of Juan Vilanova y Piera in 1880 to public acclaim.

Nonetheless a bitter public controversy among experts ensued and continued until 1902, as reports of similar findings of prehistoric paintings in the region had accumulated and evidence could no longer be rejected.Further excavation work on the cave was done by Hermilio Alcalde del Río between 1902–04, the German Hugo Obermaier between 1924–25 and finally by Joaquín González Echegaray in 1968.There is no scientific agreement on the dating of the archeological artifacts found in the cave, nor the drawings and paintings, and scientists continue to evaluate the age of the cave art at Altamira.Human occupants of the site were well-positioned to take advantage of the rich wildlife that grazed in the valleys of the surrounding mountains as well as the marine life available in nearby coastal areas.Around 13,000 years ago a rockfall sealed the cave's entrance, preserving its contents until its eventual discovery, which occurred after a nearby tree fell and disturbed the fallen rocks.Still, it remains unexplained how the paintings in Altamira cave remained unaltered being wet.

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