Transnational Serial Nomination of European Neanderthal Sites for the UNESCO World Heritage List
1st International Workshop November 2017, Neanderthal Museum (Germany)
On 2 and 3 November 2017, an international workshop with 25 experts from archaeology, UNESCO and the German Federal Foreign Office took place at the Neanderthal Museum, Germany. The workshop was supported by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Communities and Local Government, Construction and Equality of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ice Age Europe - Network of Heritage Sites. Its aim was to evaluate the network of European Neanderthal sites with its unique findings in order to initiate a transnational serial nomination of this world heritage. The participants were able to draw on the preparatory work of the network Ice Age Europe, which since 2013 has sought to promote the Ice Age heritage of Europe and has laid the foundation for close cooperation.
The unparalleled research history and the extraordinary scientific potential of the Neanderthal sites for the understanding of early human history became once more visible in the lectures and discussions during the workshop. They are the main arguments for an application as World Heritage. The cluster of the most important Neanderthal sites fulfills several of the criteria required by UNESCO, being the prerequisite for the recognition of an extraordinary, universal value.
As a result it was agreed to further pursue a serial, transnational nomination process. Besides the eponymous Neanderthal site, 11 other partners from Croatia, Italy, Belgium and Spain are currently involved. A follow-up meeting is planned for early 2018 with the participation of representatives from French Neanderthal sites, who were not able to attend the kick-off meeting. It became clear to all involved that the long process has only just began and that the application needs to be worked out and specified in further meetings.
Representatives of the most important Neanderthal sites as well as all institutions and offices dealing with cultural heritage are cordially invited to participate in the project process.