Cultural heritage (CH) objects have been constantly undergoing changes/degradation over time. In order to pass the legacy of these objects to future generations, it is important to monitor, estimate and understand these changes as accurately as possible. These investigations will support the conservators to plan necessary treatments in advance or to slow down the specific deterioration processes. The dynamic characteristics of materials vary from one object to another and are influenced by several factors. To detect and predict their changes, accurate documentation and analysis are necessary. Over the years, CH digitization using scientific imaging techniques has become more widespread and has created a massive amount of datasets of different forms in 2D and 3D. Several past projects focused on different aspects of technological developments for better digitization methods. There has been less focus on the processing and analysis of these datasets to make the greatest use of them and to their further exploration for monitoring ‘changes’ in CH artifacts for conservation purposes. The lack of adequate digital tools for monitoring these changes is related to material behavior and stability, which still need to be addressed.

The proposed project will take cultural heritage digitization to a new level by exploring digital datasets for deeper analysis and interpretation. The main idea is to develop methodologies for the assessment of changes in CH objects by comparing and combining digital datasets captured at different time periods. The validity of the methods has to be evaluated through case studies conducted in collaboration with CH experts and stakeholders. The project is an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise on imaging techniques, computing, CH, and conservation science.

The CHANGE project will train a new generation of early stage researchers towards a common goal, namely the assessment of changes of tangible cultural heritage (CH) objects and their monitoring in the atmosphere and/or during their conservation treatment using multimodal imaging techniques in complement to more traditional analytical techniques. Their research will consist in an optimised capturing of data and their analysis, visualisation and management to ensure a better documentation and long-term preservation of our common EU CH. This work will be carried out within an interdisciplinary environment involving 5 CH and 4 Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) beneficiary institutions as well as 9 CH, ICT and industrial partners from 8 EU countries.