Since archaeological research started, a large number of Roman Limes sites were excavated, recorded and partly preserved. They form the single largest cultural heritage monument across Europe from Scotland to the Black Sea. In 2005 a newly created World Heritage Site “Frontiers of the Roman Empire” was set up as a serial phased UNESCO Site; this implicates that individual countries sharing a section of the Roman Limes, can join in step by step. Two significant artificial barriers are already inscribed as World Heritage Site (Hadrian´s Wall/UK, 1987; Upper German-Ratian Limes/DE 2005). The Antonine Wall in Scotland was nominated in 2007. Beside UK and Germany, already four more countries (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia) have put their Limes sections on the national Tentative Lists for inscription on the UNESCO List. Now Hungary and Slovakia decided to nominate their monuments, which are part of the Danube Limes.
While the three already inscribed Limes sections in UK and Germany are artificial frontiers characterized by a connecting wall line, the project deals with the development of the Danube Limes, a river frontier which runs from Bavaria in Germany to Romania. The nomination of the river frontier (Danube) requires specific measures for the definition, protection and presentation.
Efforts to preserve the Limes monuments as a historical witness for future generations certainly collide with the necessities of modern urban development and the utilisation of the countryside. The Limes monuments in Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary are in danger to be seriously damaged or destroyed. It is vital to set up a commitment to achieve appropriate balance between preservation, conservation, access, the interests of local communities and sustainable economic use of our archaeological sites. It can be stated that such a framework provides a large potential for (soft) tourism including local service providers and local trade, as the new UNESCO WHS "Danube Limes" will address the people in the countries as well as world-wide, which will increase the number of workplaces.
The project concentrated on a sustainable protection of the joint heritage of the Roman frontier system in all the Danube countries under UNESCO World Heritage status. The monument preservation authorities of Hungary and Slovakia have set up a working cooperation for a collaborative nomination in 2012 with partners from Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Objectives concerned the definition and selection of sites in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria, the finalisation of all the archaeological records on sites in Hungary and Slovakia, the delimitation of the relevant core and buffer zones and the mapping of all selected sites according to UNESCO requirements and common standards for the Danube Limes section defined by all project partners. The Hungarian nomination file of the “Ripa Pannonica” includes 121 sites, 2 sites were selected for the nomination in Slovakia and 22 sites are included in the Austrian Tentative List. The main work concentrated on harmonization of individual aspirations for the protection of archaeological monuments, the chances and possibilities for a sustainable long-term monument preservation and the needs of individual local communities. The core zones of the prospective World Heritage Site include all the military areas (fortresses, forts, watch-towers), while the size of the buffer zones including adjacent civil settlements varies according to local conditions. Negotiations for final zoning of the sites in Hungary and Slovakia continued with various stakeholders on local, regional and national level via information events (also in Austria), lectures and a travelling exhibition. The finalisation of the Management Plans and the development of a joint management structure were greatly supported by the Up-date of the Management Plan for the Upper German-Raetian Limes, also functioning as a role model for future applications in other Danube countries. Within dissemination activities a final project brochures were made on the Danube Limes, short guides inform various stakeholders and target groups (politics, regional development, professional archaeology, heritage management, tourism) about the aims and the progress of the project. All partners contributed to project presentations on international and national conferences(Germany, United Kingdom). Hungary and Slovakia prepared final project closing DVDs. The city of Paks prepared a beest practice study on the basis of the experiences of the site of Lussonium (landscape architectural plan, garden design plan, reception building's plan, signpost designs) and continuously updated its website. The Austrian partner conducted several awareness raising campaigns for local communities via museum events, lectures and site guides and thorugh the BMUK working group.