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Cultural heritage and surrounding

The workshop will summarise state-of-the-art in the research of environmental and operational influences on cultural heritage in order to improve and up-to-date mutual information about scientific achievements and capacity of research facilities in the pre-Accession to the EU countries and will support transition of this information to the EU countries as well as to the countries of Community’s external policy interests. It will help to select themes for medium term courses and joint or concerted research (METEOR) in the field of surrounding or interior environment influences on cultural heritage. It will gather data on relevant national and international funding possibilities. The workshop is aimed to direct the relevant research orientation and training of teachers necessary for a sound economic and social local or regional development. All this will be used for relevant networking and twinning arrangements and links among pre-Accession to the EU countries, as well as, between them and the EU countries in the area of cultural heritage research.

Description of the contents, the workplan, the steps, the approach or the methodology

Historical monuments are inevitably embedded in the surrounding environment. Some environmental factors (wind, temperature fluctuations) remain almost unchanged during the lifetime of structures and are usually more or less well understood. Many other factors, however, evolve from recent human activities and pose a large number of questions about their impact. Workshop will summarise comparative testing of measurement methods and sensors, service of historic and actual pollution, exchange of results of regional mapping of environmental stress of monuments and materials. The topics will further involve:

a. Atmosphere and climate

Characteristics of exterior and /or interior conditions on the behaviour of cultural heritage monuments will be investigated. Objects of cultural heritage have in many cases been exposed to varying pollution impacts during decades or centuries. They have often been affected by high SO2 concentrations from the period of industrialisation until recent decades. In the last period the substantial reduction of SO2 emissions has created a new multi-pollutant situation where other pollutants and their combinations can be of decisive importance. These factors including the effect of soiling by particulate is taken into account in the choice of materials. In a new ”multi-pollutant” situation SO2, NO2, O3, and their reaction products are the main actors. Since the functions have been obtained using data from at the best the past ten years the presented dose-response functions do not capture the pollutant situation, especially when the SO2 concentration is low.

b. Industrial (technological) seismicity

The increasing growth of transportation networks results in vibrations which negatively influence the long-term monument behaviour. The threshold values and accumulation of deformation due to vibrations should be studied. Moreover, recommending modern techniques in railway and road constructions in the vicinity of sensitive monuments, negative vibration impacts can be diminished. Other vibration sources should be distinguished and, if possible, they should be avoided (in a co-operation with local authorities).

c. Foundations and subsoil

The state of foundations and of the subsoil represent probably the most important factors controlling the structural behaviour of historical monuments today. Old monuments are mainly endangered by recent building activities in their vicinity. Such activities are often linked with lowering the water table, excavations and other disturbances of the previously long lasting soil state. Consequently, soil deformations resulting in non-uniform settlements or change in earth pressures arise. The role and limits of modern building activities must be clarified and new technologies for the remedial measures should be studied (standard techniques are usually not suitable as they destroy the subsoil involving old "cultural" layers of great historical value).

d. Others

A fast developing tourist activity brings new problems to the preservation of historical monuments. The construction of new roads, parking and accommodation facilities is linked with problems discussed in previous paragraphs. Additionally, the frequent human presence inside of some type of historical monuments change the temperature and humidity state there. This can sometimes result even in severe structural problems (e.g. in case of man-made cavities, old mines etc.). This problem, however, is still not fully understood.


Fitz, S (D); Henriksen, J (NO); Knotková, D (CZ); Kobus, J (PL); Kučera, V (S); Maurício, A (P); Neguer, J (IL); Singh, J (UK); Stoica, D (RO); Válek, J (CZ); Vali, J (EE); Varotsos, C (EL)

Workshop proceedings

National Presentations - State of the Art Reports
Bulgaria: Sofia - Degradation of Cultural Heritage in Surrounding EnvironmentS. Tzekova, K. Delev, D Tepavicharov
Czech Republic: Degradation of Cultural Heritage in Surrounding EnvironmentD. Knotková
Estonia: Degradation of Estonian Lighthouses in Surrounding EnvironmentJ. Vali
Germany: Saving Cultural Heritage in GermanyA Spotlight on the Present Situation at the Beginning of the New MillenniumS. Fitz
Greece: State-of-the art in the research of Environmental and Operational Influences on Degradation Cultural Heritage in GreeceC. Varostos, K. Theodorakopoulou
Israel: State of the ArtResearch on the Degradation of Cultural Heritage in surrounding environmentJ. Neuger
Latvia: Environmental Influences on Cultural Heritage of LatviaG. Mezinskis, L. Krage, M. Dzenis
Norway: Case Study of "Kristiania Kvadraturen" in OsloJ. F. Henriksen
Poland: Assessment of the Environmental Risk of Cultural Heritage Objects in PolandJ. Kobus
Portugal: Environmental degradation of cultural heritage in Portugal (1970-2001)A. A. Maurício
Romania: Degradation of Romanian Cultural Heritage in Surrounding EnvironmentR. Sofronie, D. Stoica
Sweden: Dose-response Functions as a Basis for Assessment of Acceptable LevelsV. Kucera
United Kingdom: Degradation of Cultural Heritage in Surrounding EnvironmentJ. Singh