by Katrin Hieke
5 Years Ice Age Europe
5 years ago, on the initiative of the Neanderthal Museum in Germany, the Ice Age Europe network was created to pool resources and collaborate across borders.
Today it represents 20 archaeological sites and research institutions and their affiliated museums or visitor centres across 7 European countries (see map pp. 24-25). The sites, among them many World Heritage sites, attract close to 2 million visitors per year from Europe and overseas.
The network members work together in very different areas, and many joint projects have been implemented. Special interactive information terminals were developed and installed at the member sites, connecting guests at the locations and allowing them to discover Europe today and during the Ice Age through a game. New itineraries for group travel link the sites with other highlights of the regions and support tour operators in their planning, while at the same time paying attention to conservation issues. Our annual online magazine shares news from our members in many different fields to a broad audience in Europe and beyond.
“Sharing heritage”, the motto of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, is at the very heart of the network and it contributed to the event with the outdoor touring exhibition #IceAgeEuropeNow. Since 2017 the exhibition has been installed in public areas across Europe to share our common heritage and fascination for the era of the Ice Age, which has left so many traces that shape us today.
The network, growing year by year, has also laid the foundation for a new project: the transnational, serial nomination of European Neanderthal sites as UNESCO World Heritage Site (see pp. 44ff). And so we are grateful for 5 exciting years of successful projects, great partners as well as the many encounters and friendships that have emerged, and look forward to the next 5 years!