The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, believes that the inauguration of Gorham’s Cave as an UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ‘important realisation of the value that lies around us’. He made the comments at a special ceremony held in mid-September where he officially accepted the Certificate of Inscription from UNESCO, branding the cave as a World Heritage site. A plaque commemorating the occasion was also unveiled.
Speakers and international officials, scientists and intellectuals shouldered both political parties as well as Natural History Museum’s Professor Chris Stringer on one of the prospective panoramic platforms overlooking the landmark cave.
Professor Minja Yang, the presenter of the award on behalf of the Director of UNESCO, said that it is ‘our hope that future research on these sites will continue and become even more exemplary. The real work begins now’.
Professor Clive Finlayson, who has worked on the project for over 20 years was overwhelmed with a sense of pride as the occasion unfolded. He thanked the support of two of the closest people to him in this project, his wife and son Geraldine and Stuart.
“Two very special people have been with me in this project since the very beginning, that’s Geraldine and Stuart [Finlayson],” he said. “Stuart started coming down at the age of six, which means he can truly say he was brought up in Gorham’s Cave. Our adventures in the 1970s had made us share an experience with the Neanderthals, as these birds had been roosting here since at least 125,000 years ago.”
The Chief Minister said that Gibraltar would not be found wanting in the protection of Gorham’s Cave and the trusteeship we will now carry for mankind. “We are just the present-day generation who have loved this place and found comfort, peace and protection under its towering heights,” he said. “Now that we are distinguished as one of the most important 30 sites in the world that work will continue.”