Cultural Heritage Science and Technology

The preservation, protection and promotion of Cultural Heritage (CH), its content and its concepts, is an issue of prime importance for human development and well being as well as a dynamic contributor to sustainable growth of society.[1],[2] Indicators of socio-economic development, such as tourism,[3] employment, small businesses and trade, construction and city growth, education and training are strongly linked to the Cultural Heritage assets of a country and this is of particular relevance to Greece where archaeological and historical treasures have the potential of becoming a national “heavy industry”.

In parallel, high-level scientific research, technological development and innovation are key ingredients to supporting and enhancing our Cultural Heritage via highly cross-disciplinary activities including: (a) scientific investigations for understanding and interpreting Cultural Heritage, (b) conservation and preservation of material and immaterial Cultural Heritage safeguarding it for future generations, and (c) use of enhanced tools for presentation of the cultural content and efficient access to it including education and training.

The Institutes of FORTH pursue internationally recognized research, serving several aspects of Cultural Heritage science and maintain highly competitive facilities to support such research and services. In fact, recently, a network of laboratories based largely at FORTH, has been included in the National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.[4],[5] The vision and the mission of this cross-disciplinary initiative is to advance the state-of-the-art of scientific methods and techniques, including key information technologies, so as to develop and offer innovative, reliable and efficient tools that will enable users to address demanding research challenges in the field of Cultural Heritage science.

In the work package on Cultural Heritage science and technology, scientists at FORTH will collaborate with the partial support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to address demanding research and technological challenges that include:

  • Use of innovative methodologies based on the combination of geophysical surveys, satellite imaging, acoustic sensing technologies and modeling tools for an integral approach to archaeological landscape mapping both on the ground and underwater;
  • Development of versatile photonic tools for materials analysis and conservation in museums and in field campaigns;
  • Application of smart laboratory tests for assessing the mechanisms underlying monument damage and development of specific methodologies for optimizing materials selection in monuments undergoing conservation;
  • Establishing of advanced genomic methods and protocols for the detailed characterization of ancient genetic material from human, animal or plant remains;
  • Development of interoperability standards across all sorts of data relevant to answer a museums and cultural heritage research question;
  • Design and development of ambient interactive systems providing multi-user natural interaction for the ubiquitous social fruition of cultural heritage assets.


[1]       Culture and Development” United Nations, A/C.2/65/L.50, (2010)
[2]       Culture for Development Indicators Suite” UNESCO initiative:
[3]       The Impact of Culture on Tourism” – ISBN- 978-92-64-05648-0 © OECD 2009
[4], page 58
[5]       Two relevant projects on Research Infrastructures (IPERION-CH and PARTHENOS) with involvement of FORTH (IESL, ICS, IMBB) are funded by the EU Horizon-2020 Research Infrastructures programme.