The dwelling villages, prehistoric heritage of humanity
UNESCO is an institution of the United Nations which has the task of protecting the world heritage recognized on the basis of some universal values , considered particularly significant for the whole of humanity. To be included in the list, the selected sites must have some standards of excellence and possess at least one of the ten criteria listed in the 1972 Convention.
The criteria chosen for the series of the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alpine area are essentially two:
- The fourth criterion that considers specific types of buildings, architectural, technological or landscape complexes which illustrate significant stages in human history: the series is in fact one of the most important archaeological sources for the study of early agricultural societies and its transformations in alpine regions over the course of about 4000 years.
- The fifth criterion refers to examples of human settlement patterns, or human interaction with the environment, particularly when it appears vulnerable and subject to the impact of climate change.
The admission in the list of UNESCO aims to protect archaeological sites: it requires Member States to the development of programs for management, monitoring and active intervention for the protection of cultural property registered. Experience has shown that, without adequate protective measures, many prehistoric pile-dwelling sites are at risk of destruction.
The inclusion on the list also provides a mark of excellence that enhances awareness of uniqueness in the world of listed sites, creating a driving force for the development of cultural tourism and an opportunity to learn about places, sometimes not very well known to the local people themselves.
The prehistoric pile dwellings are an “invisible cultural heritage”: their potential emerges only from scientific excavations and detailed analysis of the numerous remains found, unlike all the other monuments that form the UNESCO World Heritage.
The inscription means a great support for the efforts made by the various Countries of the Alps to preserve this heritage. The dwelling villages are very important for understanding the development of the most ancient European civilization, constituting the testimony not only of a particular pattern of use of the land and its resources, but above all of cultural forms well adapted to natural environments such as wetlands are the Alpine region.