J2-4424 An integrated approach for conservation of cultural heritage wall paintings

The preservation of cultural heritage (CH) is the only way to effectively transfer it to future generations. Given its importance, the key for a successful preservation of historical materials is a multidisciplinary approach to conservation issues. First step involves fundamental understanding of an individual cultural heritage object (CHO) and its condition through knowledge-based learning and utilisation of advanced diagnostic and computational techniques. Second step requires appropriate choice and implementation of conservation interventions needed, which can only be achieved through development of methodologies, tools and materials to counteract, stop, and (ideally) revert the degradation process. However, for prolonged preservation of CH, the act of conservation itself is not regarded the final step; in order to ensure the future of CH, validation of the effectiveness of conservation interventions needs to be performed, as well as long-term monitoring of the CH itself.

Wall paintings represent one of the most important types of cultural heritage. As an integral part of architecture their state of preservation usually reflects the history of architecture itself by displaying degradation, damage, numerous historical treatments and redesigns. Wall paintings, embellishing architectural façades are particularly prone to decay since they suffer direct exposure to environmental conditions. Moreover, digital documentation can significantly improve the understanding of their present state, as well as planning of preservation maintenance, presentation and promotion. Advanced techniques, such as LIDAR, can be particularly useful in providing an overall assessment of the entire surface investigated, which can be profitably used to identify those specific areas in which further analytical measurements, sampling, laboratory analysis or conservation-restoration treatments are required. Sometimes sites of interest are difficult to access, or the test fields where conservation and restoration interventions have been carried are no longer available after scaffolding has been removed’. The use of advanced equipment such as drones is therefore highly desirable, since they offer faster, more advanced (comparison of 3D models taken before and after the procedure), safer and cheaper analysis (no “roadblocks”, scaffolding, permits, or safety requirements e.g. helmets and seat belts) of the object condition. Furthermore, when new materials are developed (such as the new cleaning and consolidation procedures presented in this project), it is very important to monitor the condition of the materials following such interventions, as the long-term effectiveness of such interventions is often still unexplored.