CÃ´a, the River of a Thousand Engravings| 52mins
Director: JeaLuc Bouvret | Producer: Gabriel Chabanier
Focus Years: 2006 | Country: France
The total number of engravings in the open air, estimated to be several thousand, make CÃ´a a unique site in Europe. They stretch along 17 kilometers of the CÃ´a Valley and include several of the riverâ€™s tributaries. Although 120 million Euros had already been invested in the construction of a new dam, a movement began in 1994 to protest against these works and the expected resulting submersion of the prehistoric works. The struggle was merciless: archeologists on hunger strikes, petitions across the country and in the international scientific community, protest marches by the local populationâ€¦. The Minister of Culture resigned and in the resulting chaos, the opposition brought the government down. In 1994, the CÃ´a Valley was declared a national heritage site but without stopping the construction works. The dam project was finally abandoned in 1995, and the site became protected and was transformed into an area for archeological tourism. The site was eventually classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1998.