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As an example of the recognition and impact the project already had in Europe, it should
be noted that the Spanish Government's National Research and Development Plan for
2000-2003 takes into account the activities carried out in Italy in the field of cultural
heritage and in particular the CNR-project "Safeguard of Cultural Heritage". (cf. Ferrari, 2000)
The importance of cultural heritage in the "global village"
"Many people believe we are living or at least ready to live in a sort of global village
where computers, telecommunications, satellites will cut every distance, every difference,
every identity. Unfortunately, this belief is just a good example of `virtual reality'. In fact, in
`true reality', at the end of the second millennium, we are faced with many of the dramatic
problems which were present at the beginning of this millennium: racism, poverty, ethnic
conflicts, even religious wars.
So, if we really want to enter the third millennium as a true global village we need to
change our way of thinking: we need to pay more attention to our common Cultural
Heritage, because only by respecting the cultural identity of our populations it will be
possible to save the common roots of our civilisation, entering a new age of peace and
Angelo Guarino, President, Cultural Heritage Committee, CNR, 1999
The five sub-projects
The CNR special project "Safeguard of Cultural Heritage" is divided into
five broad sub-projects:
The first subproject deals with the diagnostics of cultural heritage patrimony. It is mainly
devoted to archaeology and to geographical information systems (GIS) useful to safeguard
ancient resources constantly in danger for environmental and human aggression.The sub-
project fosters co-operation of specialists in archaeology, geophysics, cartography,
photogrammetry and tele-surverying in order to discover archaeological sites and, more
importantly, to develop methodologies to allow their protection.
The second sub-project deals with the restoration of cultural heritage. It covers the following
development of new scientific and technological methodologies for researches on
the state of conservation of cultural heritage objects (from paintings to
historical buildings)
development of new materials and procedures to restore and save
cultural heritage objects
development of new technical and legal procedures to prevent the impoverishment
of the cultural heritage in Italy.
The third sub-project aims at saving our memory.The aim of the research undertaken in this
sub-project is to reduce the chemical, physical and biological decay of paper-like and non
paper-like materials. More specifically, it deals with:
studies on paper decay under the action of biological and physico-chemical agents,
studies on new materials and procedures to restore damaged books and
archive documents,
studies on restoration of photographic plates, films and computer magnetic tapes.
The fourth sub-project deals with biological diversity and includes:
studies on ancient and modern DNA, biological origin, genetic and pathological
characteristics of human populations in Italy,
preparation of archives and storing of genoma of ancient and modern populations,