THE Altamira cave, named the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Paleolithic art, will remain closed to the public for the time being.

The cave, north of Santander, was due to re-open this month after an eight-year break.

But a panel of international experts has now concluded that re-opening the UNESCO heritage site is not advisable.

Altamira was closed in 2002 after concerns over the impact of body heat on the fragile pre-historic paintings.

The experts have promised to give their final decision by 2012.

The cave’s life-like drawings of deer, boar, bison and horses date back at least 14,000 years.