Mysterious Stone Spheres to Be Protected
They join more than 1K sites now on UN list of World Heritage sites
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 29, 2014 9:21 AM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2014 9:34 AM CDT
This March 2, 2013 photo shows a kingfisher in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.   (AP Photo/Charmaine Noronha)
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(Newser) – The planet now has more than 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: places "of outstanding value to humanity" that UNESCO helps to safeguard and preserve. The World Heritage Committee wrapped up its 38th session on Wednesday by adding 26 sites to its list and expanding four more; that list now clocks in at 1,007 sites, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Number 1,000, the Guardian reports, is Botswana's Okavango Delta, a wetland that's home to elephants and white and black rhinoceroses. Other highlights among the new selections:

  • Four archaeological sites that date to between 500 AD and 1500 AD in the Diquis Delta, Costa Rica, and feature stone spheres whose origins are a mystery, LiveScience reports.
  • France's Grotte Chauvet, site of the world's oldest figurative drawings. The pictures, found in 1994, date back some 30,000 to 32,000 years.

  • The vineyards of Piedmont, Italy, where wine has been made since the fifth century BC.
  • The white cliffs known as Stevns Klint, Denmark. A layer of ash in the cliffs is believed to be tied to a meteorite that made impact off the coast of Mexico and is thought to have killed the dinosaurs.
  • Louisiana's monumental earthworks of Poverty Point, which include five mounds made of earth between 3700 and 3100 BC and mark the 22nd US World Heritage site; their "earthen construction … was not surpassed for at least 2,000 years" in North America, UNESCO said.
See the full list here, which also now includes a remarkable road.