Stone monument ensembles and the climate change impact

Project number: 101094822

Project name: Stone monument ensembles and the climate change impact

Project acronym: STECCI

Call: HORIZON-CL2-2022-HERITAGE-01 Topic: HORIZON-CL2-2022-HERITAGE-01-08 Type of action: HORIZON Research and Innovation Actions

Granting authority: European Research Executive Agency

Project starting date: fixed date: 1 September 2023.

Project end date: 31 August 2027.


Heritage preservation, Cultural Heritage, Tombstones, Climate Scenarios, Preservation Guidelines, Social Innovation, Smart Cultural Management, Citizen Science, Digitisation, Cultural Tourism, Sustainability

The project’s aim is to produce innovative and sustainable protection strategies for cultural heritage from the climate change (CC) impact and consequential natural hazards, environmental pollution, and anthropogenic threats. By means of an interdisciplinary approach, the future of medieval tombstones (bos. stećak., stećci, pl.) and similar stone monuments across Europe will be assessed in the context of a changing climate, more precisely under two climate scenarios (SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5) in three periods: 2021-2040 (near-term), 2041-2060 (medium-term), and 2081-2100 (long-term), as per IPCC. The unique shapes, ornaments, inscriptions, cultural and documentary values, and medieval roots have singled out stećci as a tangible phenomenon included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

These monuments, densely distributed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, B&H (> 70 000), and to a lower extent in Croatia (HR), Serbia (SRB) and Montenegro (MNE) have never been subjected to a holistic evaluation that would ensure their sustainable preservation. Working on demo cases, the project will produce representative outputs applicable to the whole European region. Therefore, the focus will also be placed beyond the stećci and include other monuments made of compact limestone, magnesian limestone, and dolomite (in the following text, compact limestone) of similar characteristics in France (FR), Austria (AT), Malta (MT) and Germany (DE).

STECCI is a multidisciplinary project that combines the expert knowledge and skills of conservation and conservation science, climate and environmental sciences, life sciences, social sciences, economy, creative industries, and humanities in order to overcome the challenges posed by CC in the realm of cultural heritage.
STECCI will use state-of-the-art research equipment, digital technologies, the newest approaches in social sciences, and conservation practice excellence to achieve the set objectives based on demo cases, which will be translated and applicable beyond Europe.

STECCI will trace deterioration patterns on cultural property back to climate and environmental conditions, thereby enhancing our understanding of their relationship.
The project will generate the first Preservation Guidelines (monitoring protocol and conservation guidelines) based on scientific research for limestone monuments in two climate scenarios. It will be bolstered with economic instruments to facilitate optimal decision-making in cultural heritage protection (CH).

The development of a low-cost digitization methodology will support the EU policy mandating that all endangered cultural heritage must be digitized in 3D within the next few years.
Citizen science, creative placemaking, storytelling, and other forms of local community involvement will increase scientific literacy, awareness, socioeconomic benefits, and both individual and collective responsibilities in cultural heritage protection among citizens. Cultural heritage, as a driver of sustainable innovation and a sense of belonging in Europe, will realize its full potential through continuous engagement with multiple stakeholders from civil society and the economy.

The social labs in certain partner nations will serve as a model. Utilizing a variety of educational tools (hands-on training, summer academies, workshops, games, and conferences), STECCI will strengthen the role of researchers, conservators, stakeholders, and decision-makers in the sustainable protection and intelligent management of cultural heritage. The project will serve as an example of successful professional and personal cooperation between formerly war-torn nations, with a focus on local communities, and will promote shared cultural values as a means of reducing and preventing social and political radicalism.

STECCI Consortium

  Participant No.Participant organisation nameCountry
1 UNSAUniverzitet u Sarajevu CoordinatorBosnia and Herzegovina
2 HMHeritage MaltaMalta
3 UDGUniverzitet Donja Gorica PodgoricaMontenegro
4 UAAUniversitat fur angewandte Kunst WienAustria
5 SPKStiftung Preussischer KulturbesitzGermany
6 ZSIZentrum für soziale Innovation GmbH WienAustria
7 UMASSveuciliste u Splitu, Umjetnicka akademijaCroatia
8 UNSPMFUniversity of Novi Sad, Faculty of SciencesSerbia
9 IMTInstitut Mines-TelecomFrance