Editor’s Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to readers, or important in the respective research area. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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17 pages, 4096 KiB  
Review
Is There Such a Thing as Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology?
Heritage 2021, 4(2), 794-810; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4020044 - 14 May 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 6396
Abstract
This paper examines two related questions: firstly, whether there is a distinctive field of practice that might be called “hunter-gatherer archaeology” and which is different than other kinds of archaeology, and secondly, how such a claim might be justified. This question is considered [...] Read more.
This paper examines two related questions: firstly, whether there is a distinctive field of practice that might be called “hunter-gatherer archaeology” and which is different than other kinds of archaeology, and secondly, how such a claim might be justified. This question is considered through four prisms: (1) whether hunter-gatherers provide a unitary object of research; (2) whether hunter-gatherer archaeology is the same in different parts of the world; (3) whether hunter-gatherer archaeology is characterised by distinctive forms of archaeological record; and (4) whether there are distinctive themes within the field. None of these approaches provide a single unifying core, with any definition at best a constellation of “partially shared features” and with considerable difficulties surrounding the uncritical continued use of the concept of hunter-gatherers, which is linked to colonial ideologies and practices. Rather than provide a single unitary answer, it is proposed that the value and legitimacy of the concept of “hunter gatherer archaeology” requires consideration in the local contexts within which it might be used. In the European context within which I work, the broader social significance of the idea of the hunter-gatherer provides a significant opportunity for the development of a self-reflexive and publicly engaged hunter-gatherer archaeology committed to decoloniality. In this context, the potentials that the idea of a “hunter-gatherer archaeology” provides can, with caution, justify the continued use of the term. This answer will not characterise other locations, especially in colonised nations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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21 pages, 8803 KiB  
Article
Quasi-Static Nonlinear Seismic Assessment of a Fourth Century A.D. Roman Aqueduct in Istanbul, Turkey
Heritage 2021, 4(1), 401-421; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage4010025 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 3906
Abstract
The majority of architectural heritage consists of load-bearing masonry components made up of stone units and relatively weak mortar joints, yielding potential weak planes for masonry structures where tension and shear failures are expected to occur. Advanced nonlinear analyses are required to simulate [...] Read more.
The majority of architectural heritage consists of load-bearing masonry components made up of stone units and relatively weak mortar joints, yielding potential weak planes for masonry structures where tension and shear failures are expected to occur. Advanced nonlinear analyses are required to simulate these phenomena and predict the corresponding nonlinear structural behavior of historic masonry constructions. In this context, this paper presents a model of a stone masonry Roman aqueduct (the Valens Aqueduct), constructed in the fourth century A.D. in Istanbul, Turkey, to explore the seismic capacity and behavior using the discrete element method (DEM). The employed modeling approach comprises distinct rigid blocks interacting along their boundaries based on the point-contact hypothesis. Thus, the discontinuous stone skeleton of the masonry aqueduct is represented explicitly in the computational model. First, a validation study was conducted on the laboratory experiment to demonstrate the capabilities of the adopted modeling approach. Then, a discontinuum model representing the Valens Aqueduct was used to assess the seismic capacity of the structure under gradually increasing lateral forces. The numerical simulations gave insight into the structural response of the aqueduct from the elastic range to total collapse. Additionally, parametric research was performed considering joint properties, namely the joint tensile strength, contact stiffness, joint friction angle, and compressive strength of the masonry, to quantify the effects of contact parameters on the displacement response of the DEM model. Further inferences were made regarding the modeling parameters, and practical conclusions were derived. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers)
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14 pages, 2092 KiB  
Review
Influence of Environment on Microbial Colonization of Historic Stone Buildings with Emphasis on Cyanobacteria
Heritage 2020, 3(4), 1469-1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3040081 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 4680
Abstract
Microbial cells that produce biofilms, or patinas, on historic buildings are affected by climatic changes, mainly temperature, rainfall and air pollution, all of which will alter over future decades. This review considers the colonization of stone buildings by microorganisms and the effects that [...] Read more.
Microbial cells that produce biofilms, or patinas, on historic buildings are affected by climatic changes, mainly temperature, rainfall and air pollution, all of which will alter over future decades. This review considers the colonization of stone buildings by microorganisms and the effects that the resultant biofilms have on the degradation of the structure. Conservation scientists require a knowledge of the potential effects of microorganisms, and the subsequent growth of higher organisms such as vascular plants, in order to formulate effective control strategies. The vulnerability of various structural materials (“bioreceptivity”) and the ways in which the environmental factors of temperature, precipitation, wind-driven rain and air pollution influence microbial colonization are discussed. The photosynthetic microorganisms, algae and cyanobacteria, are acknowledged to be the primary colonizers of stone surfaces and many cyanobacterial species are able to survive climate extremes; hence special attention is paid to this group of organisms. Since cyanobacteria require only light and water to grow, can live endolithically and are able to survive most types of stress, they may become even more important as agents of stone cultural property degradation in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Built Heritage Conservation and Climate Change)
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36 pages, 17939 KiB  
Article
A Multilevel Procedure at Urban Scale to Assess the Vulnerability and the Exposure of Residential Masonry Buildings: The Case Study of Pordenone, Northeast Italy
Heritage 2020, 3(4), 1433-1468; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3040080 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 3354
Abstract
More than the 60% of the Italian residential building stock had already been built by 1974, when seismic codes were enforced on a minimal part of the country. Unreinforced masonry buildings represent most of that share, but they are typical for each region, [...] Read more.
More than the 60% of the Italian residential building stock had already been built by 1974, when seismic codes were enforced on a minimal part of the country. Unreinforced masonry buildings represent most of that share, but they are typical for each region, in terms of both materials and structural configurations. The definition of ‘regional’, i.e., more specific, vulnerability and exposure models are required to improve existing forecast models. The research presents a new geographic information system (GIS)-based multilevel procedure for earthquake disaster prevention planning at urban scale; it includes multicriteria analysis, such as architectural types, structural vulnerability analysis, microzonation studies, and socio-economic aspects. The procedure has been applied to the municipality of Pordenone (PN), a district town of the Friuli–Venezia–Giulia region, in Northeast Italy. To assess the urban seismic risk, more than 5000 masonry residential buildings were investigated and common types within sub-municipal areas and exposure data were collected. Simplified mechanical analysis provided a ‘regional’ vulnerability model through typological fragility curves. The integration of results into GIS tool permitted the definition of cross-mapping among vulnerability, damage scenarios (conditional and unconditional) and exposure (seismic losses, casualties, impact), with respect to various earthquake intensities expected in the town. These results are presented at different scales: from the single building, to submunicipal area and to the entire town. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment and Protection of Cultural Heritage Masonry Structures)
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15 pages, 3962 KiB  
Article
Monitoring and Evaluation of Sandstone Decay Adopting Non-Destructive Techniques: On-Site Application on Building Stones
Heritage 2020, 3(4), 1287-1301; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3040071 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2895
Abstract
This paper focuses on the characterization approach to evaluate the decay state of Pietra Serena of historic buildings in Florence (Italy). Pietra Serena is a Florentine sandstone largely used in the city especially during the Renaissance; it is a symbol of cultural heritage [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the characterization approach to evaluate the decay state of Pietra Serena of historic buildings in Florence (Italy). Pietra Serena is a Florentine sandstone largely used in the city especially during the Renaissance; it is a symbol of cultural heritage of Florence and constitutes a large part of the city center, which was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Unfortunately, many environmental factors negatively affect the stone, increasing damage and the danger of falling material. Any detachment of stone fragments, in addition to constitute a loss in cultural heritage, can be dangerous for citizens and the many tourists that visit the city. The use of non-destructive techniques (NDTs) as ultrasonic and Schmidt hammer tests can quantitatively define some mechanical properties and help to monitor the decay degree of building stone. In this study, the NDTs were combined with mineralogical, petrographical, chemical and physical analyses to investigate the stone materials, in order to correlate their features with the characteristics of the different artefacts in Pietra Serena. Correlations between the NDTs results and the compositional characteristics of the on-site stone were carried out; such discussion allows to identify zones of weakness and dangerous unstable elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geosciences for Cultural Heritage and Archaeology)
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37 pages, 7007 KiB  
Article
The Failure of Masonry Walls by Disaggregation and the Masonry Quality Index
Heritage 2020, 3(4), 1162-1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3040065 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 40 | Viewed by 5140
Abstract
The visual method for assessment of the structural behaviour of historic masonry walls, known by the acronym MQI (Masonry Quality Index) was introduced in 2002 by a team of researchers from the University of Perugia, Italy. This is based on a visual survey [...] Read more.
The visual method for assessment of the structural behaviour of historic masonry walls, known by the acronym MQI (Masonry Quality Index) was introduced in 2002 by a team of researchers from the University of Perugia, Italy. This is based on a visual survey of the faces and the cross section of a wall panel, and it aims at verifying if a wall complies with the “rules of the art”. Based on this analysis, it is possible to calculate a numerical index: numerous tests, carried out on site by the authors to validate the method, have demonstrated that the index is able to provide useful information about the mechanical characteristics and structural response, in general, of the analysed wall panel. The failure mode of a wall panel under the action of an earthquake is a critical aspect. In general, the failure modes can be categorized in two classes: masonry disaggregation and the development of a local or global mechanism of wall elements (macroelements). Several theoretical models and numerical simulations only consider the latter. In this paper, application of the MQI method is further investigated, with particular emphasis to those masonry typologies which are more prone to collapse by disaggregation during a seismic event. Under the action of an earthquake, some types of masonry are typically unable to deform and to split in macroelements, and another type of failure occurs: this is the so-called “masonry disaggregation” or “masonry crumbling”. This type of failure anticipates the ones resulting from macroelement methods or stress analysis. As a conclusion, these latter methods become completely inappropriate and potentially hazardous, as they overestimate the seismic capacity of the building under investigation. The MQI method has been adapted to assess the structural response of different types of masonry under the action of an earthquake. In detail, the aim was to verify when the phenomenon of masonry disaggregation is likely to occur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seismic Vulnerability Assessment for Heritage Buildings)
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23 pages, 9283 KiB  
Article
Aesthetical Issues of Leonardo Da Vinci’s and Pablo Picasso’s Paintings with Stochastic Evaluation
Heritage 2020, 3(2), 283-305; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3020017 - 25 Apr 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 7972
Abstract
A physical process is characterized as complex when it is difficult to analyze or explain in a simple way. The complexity within an art painting is expected to be high, possibly comparable to that of nature. Therefore, constructions of artists (e.g., paintings, music, [...] Read more.
A physical process is characterized as complex when it is difficult to analyze or explain in a simple way. The complexity within an art painting is expected to be high, possibly comparable to that of nature. Therefore, constructions of artists (e.g., paintings, music, literature, etc.) are expected to be also of high complexity since they are produced by numerous human (e.g., logic, instinct, emotions, etc.) and non-human (e.g., quality of paints, paper, tools, etc.) processes interacting with each other in a complex manner. The result of the interaction among various processes is not a white-noise behavior, but one where clusters of high or low values of quantified attributes appear in a non-predictive manner, thus highly increasing the uncertainty and the variability. In this work, we analyze stochastic patterns in terms of the dependence structure of art paintings of Da Vinci and Picasso with a stochastic 2D tool and investigate the similarities or differences among the artworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Artistic Heritage)
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19 pages, 10931 KiB  
Article
A Scan-to-BIM Methodology Applied to Heritage Buildings
Heritage 2020, 3(1), 47-67; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3010004 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 92 | Viewed by 14687
Abstract
Heritage buildings usually have complex (non-parametric) geometries that turn their digitization through conventional methods in inaccurate and time-consuming processes. When it comes to the survey and representation of historical assets, remote sensing technologies have been playing key roles in the last few years: [...] Read more.
Heritage buildings usually have complex (non-parametric) geometries that turn their digitization through conventional methods in inaccurate and time-consuming processes. When it comes to the survey and representation of historical assets, remote sensing technologies have been playing key roles in the last few years: 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry surveys save time in the field, while proving to be extremely accurate at registering non-regular geometries of buildings. However, the efficient transformation of remote-sensing data into as-built parametric smart models is currently an unsolved challenge. A pragmatic and organized Historic Building Information Modeling (HBIM) methodology is essential in order to obtain a consistent model that can bring benefits and integrate conservation and restoration work. This article addresses the creation of an HBIM model of heritage assets using 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry. Our findings are illustrated in one case study: The Engine House Paços Reais in Lisbon. The paper first describes how and what measures should be taken to plan a careful scan-to-HBIM process. Second, the description of the remote-sensing survey campaign is conducted accordingly and is aimed at a BIM output, including the process of data alignment, cleaning, and merging. Finally, the HBIM modeling phase is described, based on point cloud data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heritage Building Information Modeling (HBIM))
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