Maintenance, protection and management of minor archaelogical sites in multi-hazard prone areas

Referente: Dott. Antonio Sandoli

Working group

  • Dott. Antonio Sandoli (Assistant Professor);
  • Prof. Giovanni Fabbrocino (Full Professor);
  • Prof. Filippo Santucci de Magistris (Full Professor);
  • Dott. Rossella Nocera (Associate Professor).

Objectives and activities

In addition to the greatest Italian archaeological sites included in the UNESCO list, several minor archeological areas – few known and/or valorized at national level – are present in the inner areas of Italy. The inner areas of Molise Region preserves minor archeological sites dating back to the Roman age – that of Pietrabbondante (province of Isernia) and that of Sepino (province of Campobasso) – representing an attractive for tourists coming from the surrounding regions.
Molise Region is characterized by particular geo-morphological conditions, making then particularly exposed to multiple natural hazards (earthquakes, landslides, earthquake-induced landslides or floods) combined with man-made hazard due to (unavoidable excavations fronts performed to find new archaeological artifacts. Minor archaeological sites are those most exposed to degradation or abandonment, especially when hit by natural or man-made hazards, due to lack of money and/or lack of implementation of preventive risk mitigation strategies.
Literature overview proves that few studies focused on the vulnerability of archaeological assets (columns, arches, domes, porticoes, single walls, statues, etc.) subiected to multiple natural or man-made hazards. This research project aims to cover this gap, setting an innovative procedure for a sustainable preservation of the archaeological heritage from the most critical and widespread natural and man-made hazards. it has the scope of define a general protocol (i.e., Guidelines) for maintenance, protection and management of archaeological sites and intend to: (i) define procedures for cataloguing, surveying and assessing the vulnerability of typical monumental assets under multiple hazards; (ii) study, through experimental tests, an innovative eco-sustainable fiber-reinforced mortar for structural interventions or restoring of artifacts, (iii) implement strategies for maintenance and management of archeological areas prone to multiple hazards. In pursuing such scopes, the archeological area of Pietrabbondante will be considered as a pilot area.

Methodologies to be used to achieve the objectives and timetable of the activities

The project, articulated in three Working Packages (WPs) and composed with sub Tasks provides a strong collaboration among the researchers involved, each contributing with own skills to the success of the proiect.

WP1 – Survey and cataloguing of the artifacts and site characterization

  • Task 1.1. Survey and cataloguing of the archeological artifacts. In this task will be conducted a detailed survey of the monumental assets contained in the
    area of Pietrabbondante, combining in situ inspections with digital crowdsourcing technologies. Geometrical features, typological characteristics of masonry elements (masonry texture, type of materials), degradation analyses of materials and conservation
    state will be analyzed and in included in a digital catalogue (i.e., SUNDAE catalogue developed by CNR-ITC). Non-destructive tests will be performed, and the results included in the digital catalogue. Moreover, a preliminary detailed analysis matching existing historical and technical information will be developed to support the cataloguing phase.
  • Task 1.2. Geo-morphological characterization of the site. It will be investigated the seismic, combined with other natural and man-made hazards, conditions of the area under study. A macro-zoning studies of earthquake-induced landslides, and other natural and manmade-induced hazards will be carried out. As a result, a map of synthetic surface parameters – such as the seismic amplification factor, the spectral acceleration of the Housner intensity- will be developed to characterize the site of Pietrabbondante.

WP2 – Development of simplified models to assess the vulnerability of archeological artifacts and study of compatible technique of interventions

  • Task 2.1. Development of numerical models for monumental assets. This task emphases on the analysis of the failure mechanisms of typical archeological artifacts present in the area under study of Pietrabbondante (arched structures, columns or single walls). Based on existing methodologies, they will be developed simplified procedures for structural salerà and vulnerability assessment for monumental assets subjected to different natural and man-made hazards accounting for soil-structure interaction.
  • Task 2.2. Techniques of interventions. In this task, the mechanical behavior of a new eco-compatible and eco-sustainable mortar mixture reinforced with natural broom fibers will be studied. It will be defined and performed an experimental program concerning: (i)the study for preparation of the mortar specimens (i.e., mix design), (ii) laboratory tests – compression and flexural tests on mortar specimens, and tensile tests on broom fibers – to characterize the mechanical properties of the reinforced mortar. As a result, a feasibility study about the use of such type of reinforced mortar to retrofitting interventions will be conducted.

WP3 – Development of integrated models for safety, maintenance, protection and management or archaeological sites
Based on the results achieved in the previous WPs, simplified Guidelines devoted to catalogue and to assess typical vulnerabilities of monumental assets and to plan maintenance, protection and management of archaeological site will be developed. The goal is that of providing a useful tool for the site managers to support the implementation of basic actions devoted to preserve archaeological areas. The Guidelines will be divided in the following sections: criteria for cataloguing monumental assets, simplified criteria for assessing typical vulnerabilities under multiple hazards, criteria for implementing maintenance and management of archaeological sites.

Expected results

Globalization, societal changes, climate changes, huge increases of tourism and massive technological and digital transition is affecting worldwide, requiring innovation in many sectors. The field of cultural heritage has been interested by these changes and new conservation, protection, maintenance, and management approaches are required.

The proposed project will provide a significant contribution to the scientific innovation activities in the field of disaster risk management. It aims to promote research and technological innovation activities in the field of disaster risk management. It aims to promote research and technological innovation activities that contribute to an effective implementation, at national level, of digital procedures and strategies for maintenance and management of archaeological areas subjected to multiple hazards.

To promote this, the research outcomes will be used to develop simplified Guidelines for site managers, allowing them to catalogue the monumental assets, to clearly identity the most significant vulnerabilities of the monumental assets and to define, with a priority scale, mitigation risk strategies. The document will include protocols to implement simplified vulnerability analyses and a sufficiently detailed program of priority of interventions. As a result of experimental tests, the project will provide first indication of the use of a new eco sustainable fiber-reinforced mortar (with broom fibers) for both strengthening or restoring interventions or monumental assets included in archaeological sites. Thus, in the Guidelines, they will be provided mitigation actions with the purpose of a more rational management of all the social and economic resources, intended for preservation and conservation of the monumental assets included within the archaeological excavations.

Dissemination of research outcomes will be ensured by the publication of scientific papers in a) relevant journals (also in open-access) in the field of structural and geotechnical engineering, b) national and international conference proceedings, c) seminars. The project will be advertised, and updates regularly provided through common social networks, such LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.