Winner of the EuroSpeleo Protection Label 2023

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The European Cave Protection Commission (ECPC) of the European Speleological Federation (FSE), is pleased to announce that following the evaluation of the applications received, the EuroSpeleo Protection Label 2023 has been attributed to the Cork Speleological Group (CSG) from Ireland for their Project: Digging into the Past: Preserving Irelands Cultural Heritage through Cave Exploration.

Caves have been used for millennia as both a place of refuge and a sacred space, and Ireland‟s cultural heritage is often intrinsically tied to these places. Irish caves have significantly contributed to our understanding of past peoples and landscapes, with recent archaeological research from a number of caves drastically altering our knowledge of human and animal habitation in Ireland, and upcoming publications expected to advance the scientific record even further. The project „Digging Into the Past: Preserving Irelands Cultural Heritage through Cave Exploration‟ will build strong relationships between archaeologists and cavers and help cavers understand the importance of preserving cultural heritage in any exploration, particularly where digging is involved.

The need for archaeological and cultural considerations when evaluating the significance of caves has been highlighted in the „Guidelines for Cave and Karst Protection (2022)‟ and one of the key objectives of the ECPC is to generate knowledge about the scientific value of caves and karst, to identify and promote suitable and effective methods of their preservation. In line with this, technical guidance, in the form of a cavers handbook, on how cavers should proceed with cave exploration (particularly regarding sediments), in areas with the potential for significant cultural and heritage impact, will be produced and distributed. This work will be carried out by Cork Speleological Group in collaboration with experts from a number of research institutions, using both archaeologists expertise and cavers local knowledge to help preserve Irelands heritage.

The prize is endowed by €800.- and gear from the FSE sponsor “Aventure Verticale“.