Special Issue "Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability of Culture and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Liritzis Ioannis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mediterranean Studies, University of the Aegean, 1 Dimokratias Ave., 85100 Rhodes, Greece
Interests: archaeological sciences/archaeometry; environmental archaeology and archaeometry; archaeoastronomy; geoarchaeology; palaeoclimatology; new technologies in cultural heritage; digital archaeology; conservation of monuments & works of art

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A Special Issue of the international journal Sustainability https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability) under the section Sustainability of Culture & Heritage (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/sections/culture_and_heritage) is planned to be entitled Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. The bridge between science/technology and the humanities (archaeology, anthropology, history of art, and cultural heritage) has formed a well-established interdisciplinary subject with several sub-disciplines; it is growing exponentially, spurred by the fast development of technology in other fields (space exploration, medical, military, and industrial applications). On the other hand, art and culture strive to survive from either neglect, lack of funding, or the dangers of events such as natural disasters and war. This volume will strengthen and exert the documentation of the sustainability of the issue, which arises from the outcome of resulting research and the application of such a duality link. The sustainable dimension emerges from the society, education, and economics through the impact of cultural growth, all of which, after all, produces a balanced society, in which prosperity, harmony, and development are merged to a sustainable local/regional/national/social level. A wide range of subjects linking applied natural sciences with archaeology and cultural heritage of innovative research and applications is anticipated to form this volume. Subjects include but are not limited to the keywords below. The deadline for submission of articles is 31st December 2018, and the envisaged publication, following peer review, is late spring 2019.

Prof. Dr. Ioannis Liritzis
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1800 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.

Keywords

  • archaeometry
  • geoarchaeology
  • digital cultural heritage
  • archaeoastronomy
  • analytical techniques in archaeology
  • STEM in Arts and Cultures (STEMAC)
  • conservation of monuments and works of art
  • new technologies in cultural heritage

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Optical, Physical, and Chemical Interactions between Diammonium Hydrogen Phosphate (DAP) and Pigments
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3803; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143803 - 11 Jul 2019
Abstract
This research investigates and evaluates the optical, physical, and chemical interactions between diammonium hydrogen phosphate (DAP) and seven pigments commonly encountered in archaeological and historic fresco and secco wall paintings and polychrome monuments. The pigments include cinnabar, French ochre, chalk, lapis lazuli, raw [...] Read more.
This research investigates and evaluates the optical, physical, and chemical interactions between diammonium hydrogen phosphate (DAP) and seven pigments commonly encountered in archaeological and historic fresco and secco wall paintings and polychrome monuments. The pigments include cinnabar, French ochre, chalk, lapis lazuli, raw sienna, burnt umber, and red lead. The raw pigments were analyzed before and after the interaction with DAP, and the reaction products resulting from the contact of the pigments with the DAP solution were evaluated to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the effects of diammonium hydrogen phosphate on the color, morphology, and chemical composition of the pigments. The results indicated no significant change of the color or of the chemistry of cinnabar, French ochre, and lapis lazuli. Carbonate-containing pigments, such as chalk and calcium carbonate, were transformed into calcium phosphate, though without a significant change in color. Phase and strong color changes occurred only for the red lead pigment, associated with the transformation of red lead into hydroxypyromorphite. These data established the parameters and identified the risks of the direct application of DAP solutions on pigments. Further research will be undertaken to assess the potential use of DAP as a consolidant of wall paintings and other polychrome surfaces through testing on wall painting/polychromy mockups and on-site archaeological/historic painted surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
The White Marbles of the Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem: Characterization and Provenance
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2495; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092495 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
In this work, samples of the white marbles enclosing the Tomb of Christ, as well as samples from the interior marble facades of the Holy Aedicule structure surrounding the Tomb of Christ in the Church of Resurrection in Jerusalem, are investigated using petrographic [...] Read more.
In this work, samples of the white marbles enclosing the Tomb of Christ, as well as samples from the interior marble facades of the Holy Aedicule structure surrounding the Tomb of Christ in the Church of Resurrection in Jerusalem, are investigated using petrographic and isotopic analysis. The aim is to characterize the marble samples and investigate their provenance. The results demonstrate that all examined marble samples originate from Proconnesos (Marmara island), and can be attributed to the so-called Proconnesos-1 variety. Published maximum grain size (MGS) and isotopic (δ18O and δ13C) values of Proconessos quarries are compared with the respective values displayed by the marble samples of the Holy Aedicule, aiming to achieve—to a certain degree—intra-site discriminations. A number of ancient quarries are excluded through this double parameter criterion as sources for the examined Holy Aedicule marbles. The discussion of petrographic and isotopic results in relation to historical testimonies and previously published archaeometry results, regarding the mortars of the Holy Aedicule, reveal that Proconnesos marble was the material of choice used at different construction phases of the Holy Aedicule, from the time of Constantine the Great and throughout the centuries, both for the cladding of the Holy Tomb and the interior facings of the Tomb Chamber and the Chapel of the Angel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
3D Digital Heritage Models as Sustainable Scholarly Resources
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082425 - 24 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
If virtual heritage is the application of virtual reality to cultural heritage, then one might assume that virtual heritage (and 3D digital heritage in general) successfully communicates the need to preserve the cultural significance of physical artefacts and intangible heritage. However, digital heritage [...] Read more.
If virtual heritage is the application of virtual reality to cultural heritage, then one might assume that virtual heritage (and 3D digital heritage in general) successfully communicates the need to preserve the cultural significance of physical artefacts and intangible heritage. However, digital heritage models are seldom seen outside of conference presentations, one-off museum exhibitions, or digital reconstructions used in films and television programs. To understand why, we surveyed 1483 digital heritage papers published in 14 recent proceedings. Only 264 explicitly mentioned 3D models and related assets; 19 contained links, but none of these links worked. This is clearly not sustainable, neither for scholarly activity nor as a way to engage the public in heritage preservation. To encourage more sustainable research practices, 3D models must be actively promoted as scholarly resources. In this paper, we also recommend ways researchers could better sustain these 3D models and assets both as digital cultural artefacts and as tools to help the public explore the vital but often overlooked relationship between built heritage and the natural world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Archaeometric Approaches to Defining Sustainable Governance: Wari Brewing Traditions and the Building of Political Relationships in Ancient Peru
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2333; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082333 - 18 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Utilizing archaeometric methods, we evaluate the nature of production of feasting events in the ancient Wari state (600–1000 CE). Specifically, we focus on the fabrication of ceramic serving and brewing wares for the alcoholic beverage chicha de molle. We examine the source [...] Read more.
Utilizing archaeometric methods, we evaluate the nature of production of feasting events in the ancient Wari state (600–1000 CE). Specifically, we focus on the fabrication of ceramic serving and brewing wares for the alcoholic beverage chicha de molle. We examine the source materials used in the creation of these vessels with elemental analysis techniques (INAA and LA-ICP-MS). We then assess the chemical traces of the residues present in the ceramic pores of the vessels to detect compounds indicative of the plants used in chicha production (DART-MS).While previous research has identified circumstantial evidence for the use of Schinus molle in the production process, this research presents direct evidence of its existence in the pores of the ceramic vessels. We also assess what this material evidence suggests about the sustainability of the feasting events as a mode of political interaction in the Wari sphere. Our evaluation indicates that regional resource use in the production of the ceramic vessels promoted locally sustainable raw material procurement for the making of the festivities. Likewise, drought resistant crops became the key ingredients in the beverages produced and provided a resilient harvest for chicha production that was adopted by successor groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Archaeoastronomy: A Sustainable Way to Grasp the Skylore of Past Societies
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2240; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082240 - 14 Apr 2019
Abstract
If astronomy can be understood as the contemplation of the sky for any given purpose, we must realize that possibly all societies throughout time and in all regions have watched the sky. The why, who, how and when of such investigation is the [...] Read more.
If astronomy can be understood as the contemplation of the sky for any given purpose, we must realize that possibly all societies throughout time and in all regions have watched the sky. The why, who, how and when of such investigation is the pursuit of cultural astronomy. When the research is done with the archaeological remains of a given society, the part of cultural astronomy that deals with them is archaeoastronomy. This interdisciplinary field employs non-invasive techniques that mix methodologies of the natural sciences with the epistemology of humanities. Those techniques are reviewed here, providing an excellent example of sustainable research. In particular, we include novel research on the Bohí Valley Romanesque churches. The results provided go beyond the data. This is because they add new value to existing heritage or discovers new heritage due to the possible relationship to the spatial and temporal organization of past societies. For the case of the Bohí churches the results point to a number of peculiarities of these churches in a valley in the Pyrenees. This links these aspects to the ritual, practical and power sphere of past societies. A wonderful example of such links is the high mountain sanctuaries in Gran Canaria, where archaeoastronomy helps promoting a World Heritage candidacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Archaeometry’s Role in Cultural Heritage Sustainability and Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1972; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071972 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The interdisciplinary field of archaeometry covers a wide range of subject categories and disciplines in relation to science and humanities. It is a well-established academic field of study and accredited part of higher education. Since its inception, the nomenclature designation of archaeometry signifies [...] Read more.
The interdisciplinary field of archaeometry covers a wide range of subject categories and disciplines in relation to science and humanities. It is a well-established academic field of study and accredited part of higher education. Since its inception, the nomenclature designation of archaeometry signifies the appropriate methodology applied to archaeological materials and questions emerging from this field, regarding monuments, artifacts, and the reconstruction and management of landscape bearing cultural assets. The measurements of tangible culture denote significant information, such as chronology, authenticity, technology, characterization, provenance, discovering buried antiquities, ancient-day life activities, and three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions and modelling; furthermore, proxy data collected from environmental dynamic non-liner perturbations, which link local ecosystems with dwellings, are gathered by academia to study the past. The traditional rooting signifies the cultural legacies of people, which define the human desire and the confidence of memory and future trends. Beyond the mere study of the past, archaeometry’s role increasingly proves affinity to prosperity, if properly managed. The major archaeometrical contributions in cultural heritage and archaeology in general are reviewed herein, and we present the policies that could develop archaeometrical data into a sustainable stage of local, regional, and national economic development. Τhe United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conventions for the documentation and protection of cultural heritage via new technologies and archaeometry are reviewed and connected to development strategies and sustainable development goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Mobile Augmented Reality for Cultural Heritage: Following the Footsteps of Ovid among Different Locations in Europe
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041167 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
There are many examples of cultural events that distinguish people nationally. Celebrating this can bring people closer, as inhabitants of different countries share similar cultural values. This study investigates a sustainable way to enhance these types of events. On the occasion of the [...] Read more.
There are many examples of cultural events that distinguish people nationally. Celebrating this can bring people closer, as inhabitants of different countries share similar cultural values. This study investigates a sustainable way to enhance these types of events. On the occasion of the 2000-year anniversary of the death of the Roman poet Ovid, we propose a mobile augmented reality (MAR) application that contains historical information related to his life. As Ovid often stated in his last poems, he feared his work would be forgotten after his exile from Rome. This paper focuses on assessing whether this is the case, while also disseminating factual, historic data to people who tested the application. Experiments were conducted in Italy and Romania, in three different cities: Sulmona, Rome, and Constanta. Based on the results collected, four constructs were investigated: comprehensibility, manipulability, enjoyment, and usefulness. The results revealed that the usability of the MAR application, and the interaction metaphor, are appropriate for the general public. The MAR application provided a positive experience, and thus, increased the extent of the occasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
A Geoarchaeological Reading of the City-Overlap-City Phenomenon in the Lower Yellow River Floodplain: A Case Study of Kaifeng City, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041029 - 16 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The unique urban form on the ground and the “city overlap city” phenomenon occurring underground at Kaifeng city, on the Yellow River floodplain, is investigated. Archaeological data and historical geographical analysis were used to study the form of surface remains. Primary data were [...] Read more.
The unique urban form on the ground and the “city overlap city” phenomenon occurring underground at Kaifeng city, on the Yellow River floodplain, is investigated. Archaeological data and historical geographical analysis were used to study the form of surface remains. Primary data were collected from four 25 m long drill cores which were obtained from different locations at Kaifeng city and the sedimentary cycles were quantitatively divided-out and dated. The results show that the evolution of Kaifeng’s surface urban form mainly occurred over four periods, the first of which was before 225 BC; the second took place between 225 BC and 956 AD; the third between 956 AD and 1219 AD; and the fourth between 1219 AD and 1907 AD. The results support the view that the city wall of today has undergone continuous reconstruction on the basis of previous city walls and thus forming the special landscape sequence of overlapped walls as a result of the 1642 AD and 1841 AD floods. The results also substantiate the “city overlap city” phenomenon at Kaifeng city where there are at least “three and a half ancient cities” located underground today, and suggests the “city overlap city” landscape is a harmonious production comprising both natural and human heritages that are of worldwide significance in terms of authenticity and integrity. Our results contribute to understanding the effects of Yellow River flooding on shaping adaptive landscapes and human beings, and suggest that Kaifeng city as well as other lower Yellow River sites become World Heritage sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
The Sacred Landscape of the “Pyramids” of the Han Emperors: A Cognitive Approach to Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 789; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030789 - 02 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The so-called “Chinese pyramids” are huge burial mounds covering the tombs of the Emperors of the Western Han dynasty. If we include also the mounds of the members of the royal families, these monuments sum up to more than 40, scattered throughout the [...] Read more.
The so-called “Chinese pyramids” are huge burial mounds covering the tombs of the Emperors of the Western Han dynasty. If we include also the mounds of the members of the royal families, these monuments sum up to more than 40, scattered throughout the western and the southern outskirts of modern Xi’an. They are mostly unexcavated and poorly known, although taken together, they form a fascinating sacred landscape, which was conceived as a perennial witness of one of the most magnificent Chinese dynasties. This sacred landscape is today encroached by the frenetic urban development of the Xi’an urban area. We discuss and elaborate here some of the results of a recent, new satellite-imagery survey of these monuments, highlighting the aspects which may contribute to solutions for sustainable and compatible development within this important ancient landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Ancient Organic Residues as Cultural and Environmental Proxies: The Value of Legacy Objects
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030656 - 27 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Often treated as an accessory science, organic residue analysis (ORA) has the capacity to illuminate otherwise hidden aspects of ancient technology, culture, and economy, and therein can play a central role in archaeological inquiry. Through ORA, both the intact vessel freshly excavated from [...] Read more.
Often treated as an accessory science, organic residue analysis (ORA) has the capacity to illuminate otherwise hidden aspects of ancient technology, culture, and economy, and therein can play a central role in archaeological inquiry. Through ORA, both the intact vessel freshly excavated from a tomb and the sherd tucked away in a museum storage closet can offer insights into their contents, their histories, and the cultures that created them—provided the results can be carefully calibrated to account for their treatment during and after excavation. The case study below presents ORA data obtained from a range of artifacts from Late Bronze Age Crete, setting results from freshly-excavated and legacy objects alongside one another. Although legacy objects do tend to yield diminished results from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective, our comparative work has demonstrated both their value and untapped potential when their object biographies are carefully considered. It also sheds light on biomarker degradation processes, which have implications for methodologies of extraction and interpretation of legacy objects. Comparative studies such as these broaden the pool of viable ORA candidates, and therein amplify ORA’s ability to reveal patterns of consumption as well as ecological and environmental change. They also highlight the role and value of data-sharing in collaborative environments such as the OpenARCHEM archaeometric database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Review on the Archaeological Chemistry of Shellfish Purple
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3595; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133595 - 29 Jun 2019
Abstract
Shellfish purple, also known as Tyrian purple and royal purple, has a long history, which has been revealed and documented in recent years through valid physicochemical studies using sophisticated techniques. The aim of the work was to summarize the conclusions of these studies [...] Read more.
Shellfish purple, also known as Tyrian purple and royal purple, has a long history, which has been revealed and documented in recent years through valid physicochemical studies using sophisticated techniques. The aim of the work was to summarize the conclusions of these studies and to describe the results of two unpublished investigations regarding the (i) identification of shellfish purple in a textile (4th century BCE) from ancient Macedonia and (ii) dramatic effect of the dyeing conditions on the composition of the purple dye. Moreover, a critical discussion is included about the discovery of the shellfish pigment and dye based on the available scientific evidence. Previously published reports describing the identification of the shellfish colorant in objects of the cultural heritage were carefully summarized. Shellfish purple was not used only as colorant, but it served other purposes as emphasized in this review. In particular, examples for the use of shellfish purple in medicine, grave goods and fillers and plasters in walls, were described. Examples of materials and methods that were used in the past to produce “fake” purple, imitating the aesthetic result of the valuable royal marine material were summarized. Finally, the solubility of indigoids was discussed using modern approaches of physical chemistry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Sciences in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage)
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