The way to UNESCO World Heritage
Between 2012 and 2017 the State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg prepared the nomination of caves in the Swabian Jur for inscription on the World Heritage list. A special working group prepared the nomination file according to UNESCO guidelines. The three scientists are specialised in Ice Age research and hunter-gatherer archaeology. The document was officially submitted to UNESCO at the beginning of 2016. The World Heritage Committee made the decision to inscribe the "Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura” on the World Heritage list in July 2017.
Caves, artefacts, landscape - a unique ensemble
The World Heritage site "Caves and Ice Age art in the Swabian Jura" is a world wide unique archaeological landscape. Not only the outstandingly preserved oldest art objects and musical instruments of mankind, but also the exceptional cluster of Aurignacian sites within a micro region are very special. This shows that the Swabian Jura - especially the Ach and Lone Valleys - were a preferred habitat for the earliest modern humans in Europe.
The significance of the caves, the finds and the landscape as the backbone of the World Heritage nomination have been approved nationally and internationally by renowned experts.
According to UNESCO guidelines, every World Heritage site is defined by its "outstanding universal value" and fulfills the criteria of (historical) authenticity and integrity. In addition, every property fulfills at least one of ten further UNESCO criteria. The World Heritage site "Caves and Ice Age art in the Swabian Jura" refers to criterion (iii):
They bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.
The World Heritage concept
UNESCO's World Heritage list shall express solidarity within the international community. The creation of a consience for a common outstanding cultural and natural heritage shall foster a peaceful cooperation of all countries on earth. The pillars of UNESCO - education, science, culture and communication - are a general principle of the World Heritage convention.
Important steps on the way to World Heritage
|April 2009||Stakeholders agree on World Heritage nomination|
|February 2012||Start of drafting the proposal at the State Office for Cultural Heritage|
|December 2012||Submission of nomination for the national tentative list to the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal State of Germany ("Kultusministerkonferenz" / KMK)|
|February 2014||Expert assessment by a committee convened by the KMK|
|June 2014||The "Caves with the oldest Ice Age art" are selected No. 1 of the German tentative list|
|September 2014||Meeting of stakeholders with state secretary Ingo Rust MdL in Rammingen near Hohlenstein in the Lone Valley to agree on further steps in the nomination process|
|June 2015||Meeting of stakeholders at the State Office for Cultural Heritage|
|September 2015||Pre-submission of the proposal to the World Heritage Centre|
|January 2016||Submission of the proposal|
|July 2017||41st session of the World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland. Inscription of "Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura" on the UNESCO World Heritage list as the 42nd World Heritage site in Germany.|