In the footsteps of the Ancestors – excursions into the Gorham’s Cave complex World Heritage Site

The dispersal of modern humans across the globe in the Late Pleistocene is an unfolding story. As people reached new regions of the planet they discovered that they had not been alone. Conventional wisdom tells us that the competitively superior modern humans were responsible for the demise of all who they came across in their relentless path towards global colonisation. The story of humanity is much more complex than this and it is becoming increasingly clear that the evidence does not support this simple model. New technologies, now capable of piecing together the entire Neanderthal genome, are revolutionising the way in which we understand the story.

New technologies are not enough on their own – they often rely on fossils and artefacts which largely come from museum collections from caves excavated over a century ago. Fortunately, there are also sites which have survived the attention of over-eager Victorian archaeologists and their contemporaries and which have the potential, in combination with new technologies, of revealing the secrets of the Ancestors. These sites constitute the most universal heritage of all, that of all humans, past, present and future. It is our responsibility to protect these key sites and to welcome them, as equal partners, into the community of castles, churches and historic towns.

A positive move towards the recognition of the importance of such cave sites has been made in 2016, with the inscription of the Gorham’s Cave Complex in Gibraltar as the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. To celebrate, ICOMOS-UK are pleased to be welcoming Professor Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum and of the Gorham’s Cave Complex, to give our annual Christmas lecture. Professor Finlayson will be giving a talk entitled ‘In the footsteps of the Ancestors – excursions into the Gorham’s Cave complex World Heritage Site

The talk will take place from 6.30pm – 8.30pm on 15 December 2016, at the Gallery, 70 Cowcross St, London. Tickets are £16 (members)/ £19 (non-members) / £11 (students). The ticket price includes a glass of wine and festive refreshments.

For more information and to book a place, visit http://www.icomos-uk.org/about-us/events/ or contact admin@icomos-uk.org, 020 7566 0031.

Classic view looking out from Gorham’s Cave with the Mediterranean Sea as backdrop. At the time of the Neanderthals sea levels were lower and the sea was 4.5 kilometres away, exposing a sandy continental shelf.
Classic view looking out from Gorham’s Cave with the Mediterranean Sea as backdrop. At the time of the Neanderthals sea levels were lower and the sea was 4.5 kilometres away, exposing a sandy continental shelf.

About ICOMOS-UK
ICOMOS-UK is the UK national committee of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), which has a special role as official adviser to UNESCO on cultural World Heritage Sites. At ICOMOS-UK we play a vital role in advising on aspects of World Heritage and sites for nomination across the UK. We are an independent charity with a UK-wide and international mission to promote and support best practice in the conservation, care and understanding of the historic environment. We are also a membership organisation, bringing together all those involved in the conservation of cultural heritage in the UK. To find out more, please visit http://www.icomos-uk.org/about-us/

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