Heritage science is an interdisciplinary research domain spanning the humanities and sciences. It focuses on enhancing the understanding, care, use and management of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage so it can enrich people’s lives, both today and in the future.
The heritage science sector has expanded rapidly in the past years, with a nine-fold increase in the number of scientific publications produced annually, as opposed to twenty years ago. At the same time, the sector is becoming more international, with one-third of published results produced through international collaborations. Despite this dramatic expansion and change, key issues remain. These include:
In response, ICCROM monitors and shares new scientific knowledge, and gathers information and data on the heritage science sector to understand its capacity and activity. By tracking developments and highlighting key issues, ICCROM looks to stimulate analysis and debate in the goal of improving the sector’s ability to address current needs and future challenges.
A key problem affecting heritage science is the lack of consolidated data regarding its capacity, its disciplinary diversity and the research it produces. This information is needed to identify knowledge gaps and resource shortfalls within the sector. ICCROM’s goal is to develop an online resource to share this information. This will help highlight needs and support evidence-based strategy and policy development for heritage science in Member States. Through this work, ICCROM aims to identify key challenges affecting cultural heritage conservation and heritage science, and to stimulate initiatives to address these issues.