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

IGCP Project meeting in 2017

Two sessions on Natural stone research and Heritage stone designation

  • 24 to 28 April 2017, during the European Geosciences Union General Assembly held in Vienna, Austria

The session is organized by the IUGS Heritage Stone Subcommission, which main purpose coincides with the purpose of IGCP-637: Natural stones are the main material used in architectonic heritage, and this session is the fifth edition dealing with those natural stone types that have achieved important use and have been given significant recognition in human culture.

Their recognition will promote public and policy-maker interest in stone built heritage, encourage the use of local natural stone and ensure the availability of the natural stone required for the maintenance of the built heritage and the quality of new buildings. The final purpose is to get the recognition of Global Heritage Stone Designation. Some stones coming from developing and emerging countries will have their first presentation in an international conference.

The conference program is divided into six oral presentations and 20 posters.

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Brief outline of the project

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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