Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. This serial transnational World Heritage site comprises 111 settlements in the six Alpine countries of Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Slovenia.
Recent studies show, however, that public awareness of pile dwellings as a World Heritage site is still quite low. This may be due to their poor visibility and accessibility under water and in bogs. Since inscription in 2011, much has been achieved using this approach in terms of protection, research and outreach:
Common protection standards have been established:
in addition to regular monitoring, erosion markers and water-level stations are
now in place almost everywhere at all sites so that protective measures can be
taken quickly if necessary.
Pile dwellings have long been a subject of
research in the field of wetland and underwater archaeology. Because
conventional excavations usually also imply destruction of the original material,
intensive effort is being devoted to developing new, less invasive approaches.
Owing to the seriality of the World Heritage
site, joint communication and public relations have been a focus from the very outset.
In addition to a common website, this focus has resulted in projects such as
the Palafittes Guide app, a number of exhibitions, the palaFITtes.tour that was
part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and various multilingual flyers,
brochures and publications.