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Côa, the River of a Thousand Engravings| 52mins
Director: JeaLuc Bouvret | Producer: Gabriel Chabanier
Focus Years: 2006 | Country: France
Subject Tags: culture, education, environment, europe, france, portugal, science
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
The total number of engravings in the open air, estimated to be several thousand, make Côa a unique site in Europe. They stretch along 17 kilometers of the Côa Valley and include several of the river’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 population…. The Minister of Culture resigned and in the resulting chaos, the opposition brought the government down. In 1994, the Côa 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.

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