Amidst the current turbulence of Turkey’s political crisis, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has agreed to the inscription of the Gorham’s Cave Complex at its meeting in Istanbul yesterday. In the year that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first World Heritage Sites for the UK, we can now rejoice on achieving its 30th World Heritage Site in as many years. Congratulations to all concerned on this success and best wishes for a safe return home.
The Gorham’s Cave Complex is the last known site of Neanderthal survival, around 28,000 years ago, in the world; it provides one of the most detailed sequences in southern Europe, combining evidence of climate, sea-level and ecological change, of the critical period leading to the Last Glacial Maximum; It contains a rich archive of plant and animal fossil material allowing a detailed reconstruction of ecological change and the subsistence ecology of Neanderthals. The material from the excavations includes the largest collection of fossil bird species from this period anywhere in Europe. This Complex also provides an insight into the arrival of Modern Humans to their last European outpost. The presence of Solutrean parietal and mobile art adds to the site’s significance.