The inauguration ceremony to mark the inscription of the Gorham’s Caves Complex onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List was held in Gibraltar last month.
The ceremony, which took place amidst the magnificent backdrop of the new World Heritage Site, was attended by senior government officials including Gibraltar’s Governor, First Minister and Deputy First Minister, UKNC Culture Director and Chair of the UK’s World Heritage Tentative List, Helen Maclagan and the academics and supporters who have had an involvement with the World Heritage bid. The Government of Gibraltar marked the occasion by issuing commemorative stamps in honour of the Gorham’s Cave Complex being inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tribute was paid to the help and support provided by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England and the UK National Commission for UNESCO throughout the inscription process.
Professor Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum and of the new World Heritage Site said:
“It is a fairy tale come true. None of us could have suspected all those years ago when we started this project that we would be here today. There are so many people to thank for their involvement over the years – they have all contributed to this wonderful moment”.
The Gorham’s Caves Complex, which is the last known refuge for the Neanderthals around 32,000 years ago, was inscribed on to the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th Session that was held in Istanbul, Turkey this summer. The Gorham’s Caves Complex becomes the 30th UK site to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site in the same year that the UK marks 30 years since the first six sites were inscribed onto UNESCO’s prestigious list.
Part of the Site’s Outstanding Universal Value is the unique insight that the Gorham’s Cave Complex gives us into the evolution of humankind. For over a quarter of a century, the Gorham’s and Vanguard Caves have been archaeologically excavated by an international, multi-disciplinary research team who have helped to uncover new insights into the ways that Neanderthals and early modern humans lived and behaved.