The use of geographical information systems to evaluate hazards facing cultural heritage landscapes – a technical report from project DISMA (Disaster Management with GIS with emphasis on cultural sites).
The concept of landscape, with all its rich cultural associations, is explored here in relation to Attica, the area of Greece that includes Athens and neighbouring towns, villages and countryside. The report documents not only the region’s history – its peoples and use of the land – but also the discovery of caves, archaeological findings, religion and art.
It describes also the range of natural hazards facing the area, including land movements, landslides, avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruption, coastal changes, drought, floods, wild fires and invasion of undesirable plant species. Added to these too are the human-induced hazards: alteration of the landscape, such as drainage of lakes and marshes, industry, vandalism, and tourism.
Project DISMA set out to evaluate the risks posed by natural and human-induced hazards to Attica’s cultural heritage. Selected sites included the wetland of Brauron, Cave Koutouki, the Monastery of Agios Georgios and the Archaeological Museum of Agion. Central to the project was the use of a geographical information system (GIS) – software that stores, analyses and displays geographical data and related information. The results outline some of the potential impacts that certain hazards might have. Such information can now be used by cultural heritage organisations to decide on the best ways to control or reduce these risks.
The report concludes that “A poignant problem for societies, of late, is how to go about protecting one of humanity’s most valued resources: the world’s cultural patrimony. We strongly wish that the Greek authorities, local communities and research centres will soon be fully aware of risk analyses’ potential and their role in cultural management.”
This work aims to establish an interregional operation to protect cultural heritage from damage in the face of natural events under the auspices of INTERREG IIIC-Sud Initiative and the Regional Operation Framework of NOÉ Programme – Patrimoine et prévention des risques naturels- with final beneficiary the Eastern Attica Prefecture. In the framework of NOÉ, the aim of the sub project DISMA is the risk estimation of selected sites of cultural interest within the specific pilot case studies of the region of Eastern Attica Prefecture using GIS environment.
This technical report describes the work that was conducted in order to identify and estimate the impacts of natural & human-induced hazards to selected cultural sites and to the economic sector of the surrounding affected area. The research was performed by the Centre for the Assessment of Natural Hazards (CANAH) of the National Technical University of Athens. The scientific coordinator of the sub-project DISMA and Director of the Centre was George Tsakiris.
Click on the link below to see the report, compiled by Dr Amanda Laoupi: