A. Cosentino “Scientific examination of Cultural Heritage raises awareness in local communities: The case of the newly discovered cycle of mural paintings in the Crucifix chapel (Italy)” Science Education and Civil Engagement, 8:1, 15-20, 2016.
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Scientific research can play a valuable and unique role in promoting cultural heritage in local communities. Because of recent advances in scientific analysis a deeper understanding of fine artworks can be achieved than was ever possible by a simple visual examination. Formerly difficult questions are today relatively straightforward scientific experiments with clear answers; when was the object created; what materials and techniques were used; was it damaged or repaired.
This paper describes the scientific studies carried out on 18th century wall paintings discovered in 2012 in a small Italian village. An international team of research institutes (USA, Denmark, Portugal and Italy) were involved in the technical examination of the cycle. The scientific findings which were presented to the local community during a public conference raised awareness on the value and uniqueness of their cultural treasure; This represents a successful model for civically engaged science, international academic financing and expertise was utilized for the benefit of the local community.