Cliff face challenge to rescue Ethiopian church paintings

Conservation experts tackle risky climbs to save art that dates back to the 12th century


Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede need a head for heights. As wall painting conservation experts, they often clamber up scaffolding to view rare surviving images in churches across Britain.


But this year they have faced risks that are extreme even by their standards: scaling death-defying heights and sheer cliff faces to reach extraordinary paintings within churches in remote areas of northern Ethiopia.


Their major study of ancient churches is for a UK-based charity, the Ethiopian Heritage Fund. Many have never been properly surveyed, and in some cases rope-scaling is the only way to access churches built into cliffs and caves. Mor...
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