Project 637 - Heritage Stone Designation

© UNESCO/IGCP 637
The team of “IGCP Project 637 – Heritage stone designation” in April 2015 on an organised tour of Vienna city streets examining building stone use

This project aims to firmly establish the first international standard for building and ornamental stones via extensive documentation of those stones that have been significant in human culture.

Suitable nominations will be sought worldwide in an initiative that will aim to record the following characteristics for each stone type:

  • Formal name
  • Other names
  • Area of occurrence
  • Location of quarry/quarries
  • Geological age and setting
  • Primary color(s) and aesthetics
  • Natural variability
  • Composition
  • Technical properties
  • Nature of use (eg sculpture)
  • Vulnerability of supply
  • Historic use
  • Geographic utilization
  • Related stones

The project will enhance the capacity of Heritage Stone Task Group (HSTG), which was established by International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in 2012, to undertake this work. This group has become the largest international group representing natural stone geoscientists.

International heritage stone designation will have social benefits by:

  • promotion of increased awareness of natural stone and its positive attributes in terms of sustainability and regional economic development.
  • facilitation of preservation/restoration of extant stone heritage using appropriate material.
  • its encouragement to safeguard important heritage stone resources from subsequent sterilization where there is pressure for alternative development.
  • promotion of precise specification of stone in the same way that regional designation of foodstuffs has occurred in the European Union.
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