A Slovenian project focussing on the river Ljubljanica has received a UNESCO award for best practice in underwater cultural heritage, and archaeologist Andrej Gaspari has been honoured with the appointment to a UNESCO advisory board, the public broadcaster’s news portal MMC has reported.
The project focused on underwater research, the conservation of a dugout boat from the 2nd century BC, remedial work on the river banks and monitoring, among other things.
It culminated with the Ljubljanica River Exhibition in the town of Vrhnika, which is dedicated to the natural and cultural heritage of the river and its surroundings.
Ljubljanica, declared a cultural monument of national importance in 2003, is one of the most important but also one of the most at-risk archaeological sites in Slovenia.
According to MMC, there are plans to have it placed on the UNESCO list of natural and cultural heritage.
The project was conceived and led in 2014-2016 by Irena Šinkovec from the Ljubljana Museum of Galleries in collaboration with the Vrhnika municipality, Ljubljana’s Biotechnical Faculty as well as domestic and foreign experts.
Meanwhile, Andrej Gaspari, head of the archaeology department at Ljubljana’s Faculty of Arts, was elected a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Board.
He is credited with laying the foundations of advanced underwater archaeology in Slovenia.
The two recognitions came on 21 June as part of the seventh conference of signatories to the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Paris.