WG 1

Knowledge Base Development

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Leader: Pinar Karagoz

Middle East Technical University (TR) - ITC


Co-Leader: Roberta Varriale

CNR - Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (IT)

It defines the methodological framework for the UBH classification, establishes general criteria for selecting sites for conservation and/or reuse, identifies case studies, and structures, with other WGs’ contribution, the template for the assessment of the case studies. At the beginning, it will manage a questionnaire for the partners, for a preliminary survey on competencies and local differences. The survey will support the digital platform design as repository of knowledge, shared experiences and dissemination results. Every year, the WG will develop a knowledge base for each selected case study, by collecting historical data related to UBH, as well as major economic and social indicators to allow longitudinal analyses to be undertaken over time. Small teams, with at least one Early Career Investigator each, will be organised on annual base, for assessing on-site case studies, interacting with local stakeholders in a living lab approach, and sharing information on success stories and failures during Short Term Scientific Missions


  • Sergey Balandin (FI)
  • Silvana Bartoletto (IT)
  • Maria Bostenaru Dan (RO)
  • Nasso Chrysochou (CY)
  • Alberto Ferraiuolo (IT)
  • Beata Joanna Gawryszewska (PL)
  • Reuben Grima (MT)
  • Sorin Hermon (CY)
  • Salvatore Iervolino (IT)
  • Ivor Janković (HR)
  • Pinar Karagoz (TR)
  • Aleksandra Krstić-Furundžić (RS)
  • Giovanni Lombardi (IT)
  • Laura Lopez-Gomez (ES)
  • Jorge Magaz Molina (ES)
  • Sara Morena (IT)
  • Jelena Pejovic (ME)
  • Miguel Pérez de Perceval (ES)
  • Preston Perluss (FR)
  • Jamal Raiyn (IL)
  • Ivan Sulc (HR)
  • Mia Trentin (CY)
  • Roberta Varriale (IT)

WG Meetings results

Ancona, June 6-7th 2019

WG1 meeting was leaded in the morning by Roberta Varriale, and in the afternoon by Sorin Hermon. They discussed about how to prepare a survey on U4V participant experience (on SurveyMonkey), to develop “UBH Site” cards, and to prepare a glossary for Underground Built Heritage. In particular, the leaders’ presentation pointed out on the UBH (functional) classification. Finally, the WG discussed about UBH projects and case studies, and how to provide support to the four selected case studies. Results are shown in the WG1 presentation.

Naples, February 12-13th 2020

Reviewing the present contributions received by our workgroup members, specifically those who presented at the Naples workshop, leads towards a highly tentative framework for classifying, analysing and contributing to an enhanced use of underground built spaces and environments. First, a general definition is afforded by Roberta Varriale, which advance the following: “historical artefacts realized underground, which have become significant elements of local material and immaterial cultural heritage”. First, structures which today are underground and function as subterranean space, might not have been such when built, the immediate example is the case of Pompeii. A second point of course concerns the “urban” requirement: numerous heritage sites might be either suburban or even rural and yet exercise sufficient social force to attract both visitors’ and local populations’ attention and veneration. In particular, religious sites include a wide variety of underground structures : temples, shrines, cathedral crypts. In this regard, Nasso Chrysochou has presented an exceptionally well-document register of Cypriot hermitages. These hermitages involve either initial carved dwelling spaces or reused pagan tombs. Similarly, Ivor Janković has presented Saint Romuald’s cave in Istria, Croatia which aside from intrinsic attraction as a site for pious devotion also raises a number of further preservation and excavatory issues. These various uses lead to our second major concern : how to take advantage of sites for community benefit enhancement. How can underground spaces be used to raise locale understanding of the community’s heritage while also creating a potential for enhanced public well-being that need not be simply “tourist attractiveness” and “visitor draws”? Preservation of sites requires changing their status. On Cyprus, many sites have not been classified as historical monuments and are thus subject to the whole panoply of deteriorative phenomena. Above ground construction nearly caused the underground site to collapse. Moreover, valuable frescoes have been damaged due to weather exposure. Seismicity and encroaching development pose serious threats to the hermitages. Community utilization of sites has to be balanced with conservation issues. Also, the question of how to best link community consciousness to those sites needs to be addressed. Renata Salvarani has discussed ways in which various sites have been re-conceptualized so they might be incorporated into the modus vivendi of later ages. Finally, we need to develop tools for listing references to UBH to create a knowledge base. Pinar Karagoz, an expert in data mining, provided our group with a conceptual overview as to how data mining methods might contribute to our group’s goal to build a directory of underground sites and develop a major documentary data base for our project.

Download the full summary (reported by Preston Perluss)

WG 1 Cost Naples summary Under Built Heritage