by Gerd-Christian Weniger


The process of the serial transnational nomination of the Neanderthals sites as UNESCO World Heritage continues!
Following the first project meeting in November 2017 at the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann (Germany), the second #NeanderthalCluster meeting took place from 12 to 13 June 2018 in Namur (Belgium). Representatives from Croatia, Germany, Belgium and Spain as well as from the Ice Age Europe network followed the invitation of Agence Wallonne du Patrimoine (Walloon Heritage Agency). A representative from France joined the meeting via Skype.

The meeting proved again to be a success. The criteria of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) as demanded by UNESCO were finally defined and specified in detail. The subjects of authenticity and integrity, which play a crucial role in relation to the cave sites, were discussed in several steps and in a way that appropriate guidelines for the sites can now be developed. With it, the concept for the application is now decided in its basics, and is, in the opinion of all participants, also viable for a successful nomination process. On the basis of this concept, the candidate sites can now assess their individual potential for nomination.

Of particular importance is the commitment of the Walloon Heritage Agency as future lead partner in the coordination of the nomination process and the organization of upcoming projects meetings. The gathering in Namur was therefore the decisive step for the further course of action. Probably by the end of the year 2018, the official start of the nomination process will be announced at interstate level and with Wallonia as the lead partner.

For the understanding of early human history and the self-understanding of modern humans, the discovery of Neanderthals is of paramount importance. Its research history has redefined the position of man in the natural system of the earth, and the extraordinary scientific potential of the Neanderthal sites are expected to lead to further groundbreaking findings in the future.

The #NeanderthalCluster, comprising the most important Neanderthal sites in Europe, fulfills the criteria demanded by UNESCO in an outstanding way. The extraordinary, universal value of these sites for the history of humanity is beyond question. 

Gislaine Devillers
Agence wallonne du Patrimoine

Gerd-Christian Weniger
Stiftung Neanderthal Museum

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Your comments

Comment by Sandra J. Ackerman |


I am a professional science writer, currently working on a book about recent research that is changing our understanding of the Neanderthals. I would like very much to hear about the ongoing process of designating the #NeanderthalCluster as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Comment by Katrin Hieke / Ice Age Europe |


Dear Sandra Ackerman, thanks a lot for getting in touch. #NeanderthalCluster is a young project in the making and is taking only its first steps. However, foundations are being laid in the background these months and all updates will be shared here, the next presumably at the end of the year, and with more details.

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