Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Listed as UNESCO World Heritage

28. 6. 2011

Paris - UNESCO has put a number of prehistoric pile dwellings in six countries around the Alps, including in Slovenia, on the World Heritage List at the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris, the Culture Ministry said on Tuesday.


Participating in a nomination entitled Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps together with Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria and Italy, Slovenia included two prehistoric pile-dwelling sites in the Ig municipality near Ljubljana in the bid.


The Ljubljana Marshes used to be home to settlers known as "koliscarji" ("kol" meaning a pile), who built their lake-homes on wooden platforms and piles driven in the soggy ground. Scientists say the koliscarji lived there approximately around 3,900 BC.


The international bid, featuring 111 small individual sites, encompassed the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling settlements around the Alps, built from around 5000 to 500 B.C. on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands.


Excavations in some of the sites have provided insight into life in prehistoric Alpine Europe and the way communities interacted with their environment.


The settlements are well-preserved and culturally rich archaeological sites which constitute one of the most important sources for the study of early agrarian societies in the region.


Until now, the only Slovenian site included in the UNESCO World Heritage list has been the Skocjanske jame caves in the southwestern Kras region.


In 2009 and 2010, the Idrija mercury mine failed to garner enough support to enter the UNESCO World Heritage list with a transnational bid including Spain's Almaden mercury mine and the San Louis Potosi silver mine in Mexico.


The bid was for the listing of the intercontinental mercury and silver route "Camino Real" (Royal Path in English) aimed at underscoring all aspects of mercury's heritage, from mining to application of quicksilver with a special emphasis of environmental aspects.


The World Heritage Committee said that the part of the bid concerning the mine in Mexico was deficient, while Slovenia has already announced it wants to bid again.