Special Issue "Geological Materials and Culture Heritage: Past, Present and Future"

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408). This special issue belongs to the section "Geoheritage and Geo-Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carlos Alves
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
LandS/Lab2PT-Landscapes, Heritage and Territory laboratory (FCT-AUR/04509) and Earth Sciences Department, School of Sciences, University of Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
Interests: environmental geochemistry and mineralogy; natural stone durability; petrographic features and stone decay; salt weathering; porous media; weathering processes in the built environment; effects of pollutants on stone decay; stone decay as markers of pollution effects; conservation strategies for stone architectural heritage
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Carlos Figueiredo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CERENA, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon, 1649-004 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: stone decay and conservation in the built environment; cultural heritage; digital image processing and analysis; mathematical morphology; quantitative microscopy; petrophysics; petrography; mineralogy and geochemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jorge Sanjurjo-Sánchez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University Institute of Geology, Universidade da Coruña, ESCI, Campus de Elviña, 15071 A Coruña, Spain
Interests: dating of geological and archaeological materials by luminescence; dating techniques: electron spin resonance radiocarbon, terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides; radionuclide content of rocks and applications: hazards, geothermy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Geological materials are among the earliest materials used by humans, they are still an important component of cultural works that are presently being made and they will surely play a critical role for heritage in the future.

Diverse kinds of geological substances, including minerals, stone and earth, have been used to produce a diversity of cultural objects, as well as raw materials for preparing other final materials such as mortars, concrete, bricks, glass and metals. Heritage from the past can be a source of knowledge for the choices of the present and of the future, since the observations of past behaviour can give lessons for present and future applications.

But the persistence of cultural information recorded in geological materials requires the conservation of these materials, which involves diagnostic studies and intervention measures that can include the replacement of the affected elements. These interventions could involve issues such as criteria for selection of materials and the possibility of application of treatments before their emplacement to improve resistance to pollutants. This will help to preserve in the present the legacy of the past for the future.

The characteristics of geological materials can provide information about the objects made from them such as their dates of making and preferences in the choice of materials (in relation to sources and properties), especially in the cases were non-local materials were used. In this way, the reading of these materials can contribute to the promotion of cultural works in touristic or teaching perspectives.

The use of geological materials in the cultural heritage needs to consider also their impact on humans (both in terms of pollution as, e.g., resulting from the presence of radioactive elements and the thermal comfort of users) and in the environment in general, with a clear attention to the sustainability of building options, including options that could have a positive impact in the environment, e.g. by carbon sequestration. These concerns will be valid for intervention procedures of structures from the past as well as for projects for new cultural objects (and, again, important lessons could be learned from the past).

The aim of this Special Issue is to publish original research with a focus on these diverse issues related to the use of geological materials in the cultural heritage, as well as review articles that discuss their current state and propose new perspectives.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

+ Using geological materials for dating human works;

+ Studies for assessment of potential sources;

+ Promotion of geological materials as cultural objects (including artistic, touristic and teaching perspectives);

+ Methods for diagnostics of geomaterials decay and techniques for their preservation;

+ Uses of geological raw-materials for making other cultural materials (such as cement, concrete, bricks, glass and metals);

+ Impact of materials on humans (thermal comfort, radioactivity and other pollutants);

+ Sustainable options for the conservation and use of geological materials;

+ Present and futuristic views on the use of geological materials for cultural works.

Dr. Carlos Alves
Dr. Carlos Figueiredo
Dr. Jorge Sanjurjo-Sánchez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Micro Destructive Analysis for the Characterization of Ancient Mortars: A Case Study from the Little Roman Bath of Nora (Sardinia, Italy)
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 2544-2562; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage4030144 - 20 Sep 2021
Viewed by 537
Abstract
In this work, a protocol of a partially invasive sampling for the archaeometric characterization of ancient mortars from the little Roman Bath of Nora (Sardinia, Italy) is presented. Optical microscopy and different analytical techniques such as X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, thermo-gravimetric analysis, and [...] Read more.
In this work, a protocol of a partially invasive sampling for the archaeometric characterization of ancient mortars from the little Roman Bath of Nora (Sardinia, Italy) is presented. Optical microscopy and different analytical techniques such as X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, thermo-gravimetric analysis, and physical/mechanical tests have been carried out on the mortars. These analyses were performed to investigate the chemical composition, alteration products, and binder pozzolanic activity. An innovative method of image analysis has been tested to obtain information about the size and shape of both the mortar aggregates and the binder/aggregate ratio. This new particle-size analysis has two different advantages: (i) it saves a huge volume of material compared to a classic granulometric classification through its use of a sieve and (ii) is eco-friendly in respect to the environment by saving a large volume of liquid waste derived from the acid attack for the separation of the insoluble aggregate from the soluble binder, as would be done for a common sieving. Results show a local provenance of the aggregates. The use of two different limestones for the mortars’ binder production was detected and probably this raw material belongs to the nearby Roman town of Karales (current day Cagliari). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Materials and Culture Heritage: Past, Present and Future)
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Article
Geological Materials in Late Antique Archaeology: The Lithic Lectern Throne of the Christian Syrian Churches
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 1883-1898; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage4030106 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 378
Abstract
The geological materials used in early Christian Syrian churches involve a lithic furnishing element: the lectern throne of the Syriac bema, a stone device used as a support for the holy books. Some inscriptions found in Syria suggest an interpretation for this artifact, [...] Read more.
The geological materials used in early Christian Syrian churches involve a lithic furnishing element: the lectern throne of the Syriac bema, a stone device used as a support for the holy books. Some inscriptions found in Syria suggest an interpretation for this artifact, located in the middle of the Syriac bema hemicycle, fronting the altar zone. These elements were made of basalt or limestone, depending on the geographical–geological context of the building. In this work, an unedited classification of the main typologies of thrones is proposed with a collatio between geo-archaeological data, epigraphic texts, mosaic inscriptions, literary sources, and findings. The role of this uncommon piece of furniture, uncertain up to now, is explained with a new interpretation coming from archaeological–architectural data combined with ancient sources. The study thus locates this architectonical sculpture in the building stratigraphy and also describes decorations from the lecterns, thus contributing to chronology analysis of published and unedited Syrian sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Materials and Culture Heritage: Past, Present and Future)
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Review

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Review
The Forerunners on Heritage Stones Investigation: Historical Synthesis and Evolution
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 1228-1268; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage4030068 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 788
Abstract
Human activity has required, since its origins, stones as raw material for carving, construction and rock art. The study, exploration, use and maintenance of building stones is a global phenomenon that has evolved from the first shelters, manufacture of lithic tools, to the [...] Read more.
Human activity has required, since its origins, stones as raw material for carving, construction and rock art. The study, exploration, use and maintenance of building stones is a global phenomenon that has evolved from the first shelters, manufacture of lithic tools, to the construction of houses, infrastructures and monuments. Druids, philosophers, clergymen, quarrymen, master builders, naturalists, travelers, architects, archaeologists, physicists, chemists, curators, restorers, museologists, engineers and geologists, among other professionals, have worked with stones and they have produced the current knowledge in heritage stones. They are stones that have special significance in human culture. In this way, the connotation of heritage in stones has been acquired over the time. That is, the stones at the time of their historical use were simply stones used for a certain purpose. Therefore, the concept of heritage stone is broad, with cultural, historic, artistic, architectural, and scientific implications. A historical synthesis is presented of the main events that marked the use of stones from prehistory, through ancient history, medieval times, and to the modern period. In addition, the main authors who have written about stones are surveyed from Ancient Roman times to the middle of the twentieth century. Subtle properties of stones have been discovered and exploited by artists and artisans long before rigorous science took notice of them and explained them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Materials and Culture Heritage: Past, Present and Future)
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