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MPNS COST Action IE0601
Wood Science for Conservation of Cultural Heritage (WoodCultHer)

Main objective The main objective of the Action is to improve the conservation of our wooden cultural heritage by increasing the interaction and synergy between wood scientists and other professionals applying wood science and technology towards the study, conservation and restoration of wooden artefacts of artistic or historic interest (WCHOs, i.e. Wooden Cultural Heritage Objects). Specific objectives may be identified as follows: General - To put into evidence how the modern scientific knowledge about wood may contribute to Diagnosis and Conservation of wooden Cultural Heritage. - To favour meeting and interaction, at both scientific and practical level, of researchers in the field of wood, specialists in conservation of wooden artworks, manufacturers of equipment and products which might be successfully used for the diagnosis, restoration and conservation of wooden artworks. - To acquire a deeper insight into several fields and processes concerning wood material (e.g. the ageing processes, their factors - physical, mechanical, biological, chemical, environmental - and their interactions), in order to improve the conservation of wooden artworks. - To develop criteria for evaluating durability of interventions during very long time (centuries). - To develop criteria for ensuring “re-treatability” (i.e. that present interventions will not impede future interventions, if and when needed). Wood deterioration - To develop new methods for the evaluation of new techniques and products for the conservation of wooden artworks. - To acquire further understanding of the process of bacterial wood degradation in order to develop practical conservation methods to preserve historical wooden structures and remains in the soil. - To further develop micro waves as a conservation method against insect degradation. Diagnostic methods and equipments - To develop and foster the implementation of the use of practical sensors to indicate risk to wooden objects in museums and at historic sites, or during the transportation of artworks. Interactions between wooden artworks and environment - To be able to better evaluate the interactions between individual wooden artworks and environment, also by direct monitoring physical changes and damage processes in objects. Dendrochronology - To stimulate the development of non-destructive high resolution scanners for in situ inspection of wooden objects to identify aging and degradation processes, that also allows tree-ring analyses (dendrochronology) for exact age determination. - To disseminate results which obtained by applying "dendro-provenancing" techniques, in order to support further historical and technological studies. Non-destructive inspection of wooden objects - To further develop non-destructive methods and equipments, for inspection and evaluation of both movable and non-movable WCHOs. Numerically modelling of risk of damage - To develop and validate mathematical models and computer simulations of short- or long-term phenomena, from the observation of past events and processes, aiming towards prediction of future behaviour. - To develop methods for predicting by simulation the long-term result of present interventions (e.g. present tendency to provide panel paintings with flexible cross-ties or frames). Long-term behaviour and "accelerated ageing" - To further explore specific subjects such as the properties and behaviour of "old" wood, the influence of ageing on the properties of WCHOs. - New principles, criteria, observation and evaluation methods need therefore to be developed in order to evaluate expected deterioration of WCHOs in the very long term. - To acquire knowledge and establish methods for studying deteriorations that take place during very long time periods (decades and centuries), and for evaluating the long-term compatibility of interventions, treatments, products, aiming to improve the conservation of wooden artworks. - To develop adequate models of the ageing and deterioration processes, deriving from the observation of past events and processes, aiming towards prediction of future behaviour. Archaeological and archaeo-botanic wood - To improve prevention of bacterial decay of wood in foundation piles and archaeological sites. - To develop methods and standards for evaluating procedures and products for conservation of archaeological and archaeo-botanic wood. Timber structures - To develop specific safety factors for verification of WCHO timber structures. - To develop appropriate load tests for WCHO timber structures. - To produce guidelines about criteria for conservation (and reinforcement, if necessary) of WCHO timber structures. - To produce guidelines and standard documents concerning (for various situations and types of structures) inspection, assessment of load-bearing capacity, use of visual versus instrumental methods, practices and responsibilities. - To develop criteria for evaluating effectiveness and durability (during very long time, i.e. centuries) of interventions performed on WCHO timber structures. - To foster development of national or local grading rules for existing “old” timber structural elements; to encourage, make available and compare results of test campaigns aimed to determine reliable strength and stiffness values for such timbers. Wooden foundations - To improve knowledge and techniques appropriate for conserving wooden foundations piles under historical buildings. - To increase knowledge on the process of bacterial wood degradation under water (e.g. ship wrecks, foundations piles), and to define strategies to control the soil hydrology or water streaming in open water leading to a reduction or even to stop the wood degrading bacterial activity. Standardization - To put in active contact the European scientific communities dealing with conservation of wooden Cultural Heritage, in order to provide a very strong and wide scientific background, and an informed consensus throughout European countries, for standardization (particularly of CEN/TC 346) in the field of wooden artworks. - To contribute to European Standardization in the field (inputs to CEN/TC 346 "Conservation of Cultural Property") - It should be emphasized here that since in the field of Cultural Heritage each artwork - especially if made of wood - is different (materials, wood species, manufacture, history, environment(s), decay/deterioration, interventions, ...), each artwork needs/deserves a "personal" care, i.e. individual assessment, evaluation, solutions; therefore the technical standards should specify methods and criteria, not "standard solutions" to problems.

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General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Prof Luca UZIELLI (IT)

Vice Chair of the Action:

Dr Joseph GRIL (FR)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:



Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF

Final Report

Download Final Report as PDF


Action website:

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Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page