TC301 Historic Sites

Preservation of Historic Sites

Host Member Society: Italy

Short name: Historic Sites (TC301) - Terms of Reference 

GeoWorld GroupPreservation of Historic Sites (TC301)

There is no news to show for this TC

Organization of Symposia and workshops with the aim to exchange and compare experiences and to collect case histories. Two international symposia were already organized in Naples in 1996 and 2013. A special volume titled "Geotechnics and Heritage" was also published in 2013, containing invited lectures related to exemplary case records. The first J. Kerisel Special Lecture was successfull delivered by prof. Giovanni Calabresi during the 2013 ICSMGEin Paris . The second Kerisel Lecture was successfully delivered by prof. Carlo Viggiani in occasion of the 2017 Seoul ICSMGE. In 2015, two special issues of the Rivista Italiana di Geotecnica (Italian Geotechnical Journal) have been promoted with the aim of collecting additional case histories. A workshop was planned during the ECSMGE in Edinburgh and during the ICSMGE in Seoul.

Preservation of monuments and historic sites is one of the most challenging problems facing modern civilization. It involves in inextricable patterns various cultural, humanistic, social, technical and economic aspects. The complexity of the topic is such that a shared framework of reference is still lacking among art historians, architects, structural and geotechnical engineers. This is proved by the fact that, although there are exemplary cases of an integral saving of any structural components with its static and architectural function, as a material witness of the knowledge, the culture and the construction techniques of the original historical period, there are still examples of uncritical confidence in modern technology which leads to the replacement of previous structures with new ones, which only preserve an iconic appearance of the original monument.

For these reasons publishing short books on specialized topics, like well documented case studies of restoration works at one specific site or of a monument, or detailed overviews of construction techniques, intended as a material witness of knowledge of the historical period in which the monuments were built, or specific conservation/preservation works, may be of great value.

The audience for such books should be professionals and academics in the wider fields of civil engineering, architecture and cultural resources management, and particularly those involved in art history, history of architecture, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, archaeology, restoration and cultural heritage management, and even the wider public.

Forthcoming titles in the series

1. General principles of preservation with emphasis on geotechnical aspects, by Giovanni Calabresi and Salvatore D’Agostino

2. The stabilization of the leaning tower of Pisa, by John Burland, Michele Jamiolkowski and Carlo Viggiani

3. The Pienza Cathedral, by Giovanni Calabresi

4. The restoration of Ghirlandina Tower in Modena and the assessment of soil-structure interaction by means of dynamic identification techniques, by Rossella Cadignani, Renato Lancellotta and Donato Sabia

5. The cathedrals of Pisa, Siena and Florence. The medieval building works, by Luca Giorgi and Pietro Matracchi

6. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, by Efrain Ovando Shelley

7. Protecting the Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà from tunnelling construction, by Eduardo Alonso

8. Are the requirements of modern civilization compatible with the preservation of historic sites? The construction of the underground line in Naples, by Giulia Viggiani

The book series page has now been activated on the Publisher website, because the first book on the Ghirlandina tower is now in production. This is the link to the series page:

Contact / Further details

Series Editor: Prof. Renato Lancellotta (
Publisher: Alistair Bright (

By considering that each monuments is a "unicum" and taking into account the concept of "integrity" it is rather difficult to apply approaches based on guidelines to the preservation of monuments. Therefore the effort is devoted to

  • framing of the special requirements and constraints to be considered in any rehabilitation intervention on Monuments in order to preserve their of cultural and historical integrity;
  • geotechnical methodologies suitable for the interventions on Monuments and Historic sites.

The Second Kerisel Special Lecture was successfully devivered by prof. Carlo Viggiani at the 2017 Seoul ICSMGE.

A three-day International Symposium on Geotechnical Aspects of Heritage Structures (ISGHS 2019) will be organised by National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structure of IIT Madras (NCSHS-IITM) & IGS-Chennai Chapter in collaboration with IGS-Trichy Chapter and Anna University under the aegis of Technical Committee (TC301) of International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE). 

The venue is decided as IIT  Madras,  Chennai  which is strategically located in southern part of India with numerous heritage structures (including UNESCO World Heritage site of Mahabalipuram)  within its vicinity. 

Dates are fixed as 16 - 18  September 2019.  The 1st bulletin of the symposium has been already circulated.

Summary on recent activities (2019) of our TC members.

1. Jean-David VERNHES was our delegate at the ECSMGE in Reykjavik and He reports as follows:

(a) regarding Tuesday’s TC301 session, thoroughly chaired by Cavit Atalar, Nicosia, all presented topics were consistently related to Heritage. The session received the interest of the audience (the room was packed with people, what wasn’t always the case in other sessions). All our session contributions are online on the ECSMGE 2019 website:

(see D3 - 6 in :

(b)  During Monday lunch, the TC members Charles Augarde, Guido Gottardi, Daniele Spizzichino and Jean-David Vernhes reflected on many aspects of our activity, two of them deserving special attention:

b1. Expanding the reference terms, in order to capture not only the role of our discipline on the safegarding and preservation of a single monument, but also considering the preservation of "diffuse heritage", i.e. problems related to the scale of a urban environment (slope stability, exacavations, undergroung infrastructures etc.)

b2. Interaction with other disciplines and professionals involved in decision making when dealing with intevention techniques.



2. Two members of our TC were invited to deliver keynote lectures at the International Symposium on Geotechnical aspects of Heritage Structure (ISGHS 2019), organized by IGS-Chennai Chapter & National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structure (NCSHS-IITM), Madras, 16-18 September 2019: Alessandro FLORA and  Yoshinori Iwasaki.

The lecture delivered by Flora was titled “The key role of geotechnical engineering in the preservation of monuments”, and presented the case history of the Theodosian walls and towers of Costantinopoli (nowadays Istanbul, Turkey) to show that by jointly considering local response analysis and dynamic soil – structure interaction, the seismic behavior of historic structures can be reliably predicted, and such an approach should be always used to guide restoration works in order to minimize the effects of earthquakes.

The lecture delivered by Iwasaki was titled “The authenticity and integrity of soils and foundations of heritage structures” and concentrated on the need to clearly define these concepts before planning retrofitting works. Some well known case histories, like the Pisa tower, were shown in his lecture as examples of effective actions on heritage structures.

Both lectures raised interest in the attendees and were followed by intense discussion.

Many case histories of Hindu and Muslim monuments were presented by other speakers in the conference, showing a lively local geotechnical community working on cultural heritage.

Finally, the dissemination project of a Book Series on "Built Heritage and Geotecnics", published by Taylor&Francis is successfully in progress. The first two volumes on the Ghirlandina Tower in Modena and the Cathedral of Mexico City, that are examples of interaction among different disciplines and professionals, are already available. The reference website:


No special links have been yet established, by considering the peculiarity of this topic.

# Type Full Name Country
1 Chair Renato Lancellotta Italy
2 Secretary Alessandro Flora Italy
3 Nominated by TC Chair Carlo Viggiani Italy
4 Nominated by TC Chair Giovanni Calabresi Italy
5 Nominated by TC Chair John Burland United Kingdom
6 Nominated by TC Chair Efraìn Ovando Shelley Mexico
7 Nominated Member Mamoru Mimura Japan
8 Nominated Member Chikaosa Tanimoto Japan
9 Nominated Member Kari Avellan Finland
10 Nominated Member Merita Guri Albania
11 Nominated Member Jean-David VERNHES France
12 Nominated Member Patrick Yong Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
13 Nominated Member Antonio Jaramillo Spain
14 Nominated Member V. Ulitsky Russia
15 Nominated Member M.B. LISYUK Russia
16 Nominated Member Masoud Makarchian Iran
17 Nominated Member Jean LAUNAY France
18 Corresponding Member Yoshinori Iwasaki Japan
19 Corresponding Member Orhan Inanir Turkey
20 Corresponding Member Christos Tsatsanifos Greece
21 Nominated Member Dimitrios Eglezos Greece
22 Nominated Member Harry Saroglou Greece
23 Corresponding Member Anargyros Alexandris Greece
24 Corresponding Member Charles Augarde United Kingdom
25 Corresponding Member John Lambert Netherlands
26 Nominated Member Guido Gottardi Italy
27 Nominated Member Michele Jamiolkowski Italy
28 Nominated Member Jamie Standing United Kingdom
29 Nominated Member Ivo Herle Germany
30 Corresponding Member Daniele Spizzichino Italy
31 Corresponding Member Heon-Joon PARK South Korea
32 Corresponding Member Dong-Soo Kim South Korea
33 Nominated Member I.V. Anirudhan India
34 Nominated Member K. Muthukkumaran India
35 Corresponding Member Stephan Jefferis United Kingdom
36 Nominated Member Pilar Rodríguez Monteverde Spain
37 Nominated Member Hongwei Sun China

Contact Technical Committee : Preservation of Historic Sites

This message will be sent to TC301 Historic Sites officers