Sophia Zoumbaki (The National Hellenic Research Foundation) and Constantine Cartalis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), “Monuments of cultural heritage threatened by climate change: A suggestion of how to read the past and protect the future”
Climate change is an inevitable natural process which human communities always had to face. Nowadays this phenomenon is accelerated by anthropogenic causes and has evolved to become one of the most threatening dangers for our planet, raising also numerous practical and ethical issues, one of them being the responsibility to protect world cultural heritage. We will discuss on the links between climate change and cultural heritage and focus on results of an interdisciplinary research project (implemented by the University of Thessaly, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the National Hellenic Research Foundation) aiming at contributing to the efforts to preserve the cultural capital of Greece from the impacts of ongoing climate change. A number of archaeological sites and monuments located at climate vulnerable eco-systems have been selected as cases for a closer investigation with the prospect of offering a useful tool to decision-making authorities as well as an example for the prediction and management of crises related to climate dangers. The development of a platform based on a multi-criteria system provides models of high spatial resolution aiming at the prediction of climatic dangers in the sites in question, classifying natural threats and assessing the sensitivity and adaptive capacity in each case. The analysis of historical sources and archaeological data offers the parameter of diachrony to the investigation of existing environmental weaknesses in the micro-scale of a certain region as well as of the effects of natural events, which can only be assessed by their impact on concrete human societies. As a fruit of this project, concrete management planning and interventions necessary for each individual case are suggested in order to address the challenge to ensure the safekeeping and sustainability of cultural treasures.