Cave of Pont d’Arc Added To World Heritage List Of Cultural Properties

The Decorated Cave of Pont-d’Arc known as Grotte Chauvet has been added to the World Heritage List of cultural properties by the World Heritage Committee, currently meeting in Doha (Qatar) during its 38th session. Due to the delicate nature of the original, a replica, the Cavern of Pont-d’Arc, is currently underway in Vallon Pont-d’Arc in the Ardèche.  It will be the world’s largest replica ever built, and will open in the spring of 2015.
Dating back 36,000 years it is located in Vallon Pont-d’Arc at the entrance to the gorges of the river Ardèche. The inscribed property not only encompasses the entire cavity, but also the natural landscape setting and the groundwater basin with its natural arch of Pont-d’Arc that stretches up 54 m in height.
It is the oldest cultural property to be classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The inscription is tremendous news for this nominated property that is supported by the Rhône-Alpes Region and the Ardèche General Council, in connection with the French state and the Association for the development of the decorated cave of Pont-d’Arc.
“The inscription of the Cave as a World Heritage site is a wonderful tribute to the first artists in history and rewards the commitment and the mobilization of the Rhône-Alpes and Ardèche territories.” Welcomes Pascal Terrasse, Deputy for the Ardèche and President of the Cavern of Pont-d’Arc Grand Project
Today, to be listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO guarantees the conservation of the cave and allows us to understand and explain its significance as heritage. It also helps to enhance the cave, its environment and its cultural context, to participate in the reputation of the project, both nationally and internationally, and to foster the mobilization of the international scientific community for the study of underground environments and parietal art on a global scale.
“Just like the treasure of Atlantis, the Decorated Cave of Pont-d’Arc will remain closed and buried forever in the collective imagination. Nevertheless this unique treasure of the foundation of the first cultural acts shall be known to the widest audience possible through the creation of a unique replica: The Cavern of Pont-d’Arc”, continues Pascal Terrasse
Born from the desire to share this treasure of humanity bequeathed by our ancestors from the Aurignacian period with the greatest number of people as possible, The Cavern of Pont-d’Arc will open its doors to the public in the spring of 2015 in the vicinity of the Decorated Cave, on the heights of Vallon Pont-d’Arc in the Ardèche.
It will offer to as large a public as possible a singular and moving journey through time. Paintings, etchings and archaeological remains will be reproduced here to a 1:1 scale in surroundings that will be identical to those found in the cave: an underground landscape of which the richness itself is remarkable.
According to Jean-Jack Queyranne, the President of the Rhône-Alpes Région, “It is our whole human and artistic history which is summarized in what has been rightly called, the Prehistoric Sistine Chapel. Everything is there: profile, perspective, movement, but also a desire to communicate a message of humanity and creation, which is also that which we bear through our proposal as a World Heritage List nomination or through the creation of The Cavern Pont-d’Arc. “
Hervé Saulignac, the President of the General Council of the Ardèche, adds: “It is a chance that this treasure of intelligence, sensitivity and human presence is in our area. It is our responsibility and our ambition to preserve this masterpiece. Tomorrow, the replica will allow each one of us to discover this jewel of humanity without damaging the original which is in an area protected for science and for our descendants. “
Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, President of the Association for the Development of the Decorated Cave of Pont-d’Arc, adds: “I’m very glad that The decorated Cave of Pont-d’Arc is inscribed on UNESCO’S World Heritage List. This will allow the French people and the entire world to share this treasure bequeathed to us by our Aurignacian ancestors. Let us never forget that our heritage is not only our common good, but also a major asset.

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