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Gibraltar’s ‘remarkable’ Neanderthal caves edge closer to World Heritage status

Gibraltar is one step closer to achieving World Heritage status for its ‘Neanderthal Caves and Environments’.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites [ICOMOS], the official advisory body of the World Heritage Committee for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO, is recommending that the ‘Gibraltar Neanderthal Caves and Environments’ be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

ICOMOS described the site, which includes Gorham’s Cave and neighbouring sites, as “remarkable and deserving of protection and conservation”.

ICOMOS, a non-governmental international organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world's monuments and sites, has recognised the Gibraltar nomination has “Outstanding Universal Value”.

It said “…the Gibraltar Neanderthal caves provide an exceptional testimony to the occupation, cultural traditions and material culture of Neanderthal and Early Modern Human populations through a period spanning more than 125,000 years.”

It reached those conclusions in its report on candidate sites, submitted to the World Heritage Committee ahead of its 40th ordinary session in Istanbul Between July 10 and 20, at which Gibraltar’s nomination will be considered. The field evaluation by ICOMOS was carried out locally last September.

The Director of the Gibraltar Museum, Professor Clive Finlayson, said it was “very positive and encouraging” but emphasised it could “not pre-empt the decision of the World Heritage committee” next month.

“It is a very favourable recommendation and they are sure to take it into account,” he said.

“It is much better to have this report than not.”

The extensive 390-page report entitled ‘Evaluations of Nominations of Cultural and Mixed Properties List’ was published on Friday.

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