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Degradation of cultural heritage

The workshop will summarise state-of-the-art in the research of degradation of 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 in this field and will gather data on relevant national and international funding possibilities. The workshop is aimed to influence cultural heritage 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

The topics will include physical, chemical, biological and micro-biological deterioration of cultural heritage, economic issues related to degradation of built cultural heritage, diagnostics of deterioration, classification of degraded materials, etc.

Detrimental effects of air pollutants on materials have been known for a very long time. Observations of deterioration effects on objects of cultural heritage indicate the accelerating effect of pollutants in polluted urban districts compared to the natural weathering in clean rural areas. Since the late 1950’s there have been several studies scientifically examining the processes that cause damage to materials. The studies were at first concentrated at important technical materials. In the last decades, however, an increased concern is given also to materials and objects of cultural heritage. This is caused both by the acknowledgement of the unique value of historical objects and by the fact that the restoration and maintenance of these objects represent very high cost and requires often application of unique restoration expertise and techniques.

As far as it is known, no systematic inventory has been performed of stock of materials applied on objects of cultural heritage on regional or national basis. The difficulty of categorisation and generalisation is due to specific or even unique characteristics of objects of cultural heritage both concerning construction and materials use. Despite that certain material categories like natural stones, brickwork, some roofing materials and rendering form a substantial part of objects of cultural heritage. Also some materials with low occurrence on modern buildings are important in applications in the field of cultural heritage like lead, stained glass or stucco.

Workshop will further deal with methods assessment of stock of materials at risk of objects of cultural heritage, survey of dose-response and damage functions, worklife evaluation, maintenance cycles.


Bech - Andersen, J (DK); Brenan, T (IRL); Flieger, M (CZ); Mandrioli, P (I); Nuss, I (D); Palfreyman, J (UK); Tamm, T (EE); Vadineanu, A (RO); Wasserbauer, R (CZ)

Content of Workshop proceedings

National Presentations - State of the Art Reports
Austria: Molecular Techniques: Aplication to the Analysis of Microbial Communities Colonising Art Works and to the Monitoring of Changes. Case Study: Wall Paintings of the Castle of Herberstein G. Pinar, W. Lubitz
Finland: Biodegradation of Cultural HeritageState of the Art, Finland H. Viitanen
Italy: Biodeterioration of Cultural Heritage in Italy: State of Art C. Urzi, F. De Leo
Latvia: Problems of the Biodegradation of the Cultural Heritage in Latvia B. Andersons
Norway: Research on Biodeterioration of Cultural Heritage in Norway J. Mattsson, T. Oftedal
Romania: State of the Art and Biodeterioration I. Gomoiu, D. Mohanu
Slovakia: Biodegradation and Treatment of Ancient Wood in Slovakia L. Reinprecht
Spain: Biodeterioration: An Overview of the State-of-the-Art and Assessment of Future Directions C. Saiz-Jimenez
United Kingdom: The Environmental Control of Dry Rot J. W. Palfreyman
United Kingdom: The Domestic Dry Rot Fungus, Serpula lacrymans, its natural origins and biological control J. W. Palfreyman