Natural stone is the most widely used inorganic raw material. It was first employed specifically for the construction of dwellings and other buildings, later also used for a growing infrastructure (e.g., defence structures, roads, bridges, ports, etc.). Many of these structures, together with countless sculptures, have become part of the common cultural heritage of all of humankind, and deserving of protection for the next generations to come.

In the age of globalization of human activities, resources of local stone deserve even a deeper appreciation and their greater protection. To increase our understanding of the importance of local natural stones for human society and art history, we are organizing this international and multidisciplinary conference, which should offer a platform to geologists, geographers, architects, sculptors, art historians, archaeologists, art restorers, and all other specialists involved in any aspect of natural stone use in the context of cultural heritage. To fulfil this general objective, the conference will focus on the following topics:


  1. Natural stone as a traditional resource: there is no other mineral resource quite like natural stone
    • Viability of local stone resources, small-scale production, and their ability to compete with the globally traded stone varieties.
    • Prospecting, exploration, and evaluation of natural stone resources.
    • Traditional vs. modern quarrying techniques.
    • Stone extraction as a geomorphological process.
    • Quarry landscapes: strategies for their protection/conservation and/or sustainable management.
    • Socio-economic aspects of stone quarrying, processing, and utilization.
  2. Natural stone as a universal building / architectural / sculptural material: how the proper understanding of their properties promotes their successful use
    • Links between the genesis, composition, properties, and mode of use of natural stone (with special emphasis on hand-processed / carved architectural and sculptural stone).
    • Traditional vs. modern processing techniques.
    • Natural stone testing (in both laboratory scale and field / in situ tests).
  3. Natural stone durability and the decay of natural stone
    • Environmental interactions of natural stone in heritage structures.
    • Laboratory techniques for testing stone durability.
    • Non-destructive and microdestructive techniques for in situ testing of decayed or decaying stone.
  4. Natural stone in monuments: restoration or protection?
    • Provenance studies of stones used in monuments: modern approaches for the determination of old quarries / extraction sites.
    • Laboratory techniques for the investigation of stone, stone surfaces, patinas, and polychromy from heritage structures (with a specific focus on microscopic and analytical techniques).
    • Pre-restoration investigation strategies.
    • Compatibility of original and new stone in heritage structures.
    • Traditional vs. modern restoration / conservation approaches for natural stone (with a special emphasis on refill mortars and their compatibility with natural stone).
    • Post-restoration monitoring and the long-term behaviour of restored monuments.
    • Stone spolia and their role in modern cultural heritage protection.
  5. Open topics for any other aspects of natural stone and case studies
    • Case studies and comparative studies, with special attention to the involvement of scientists working with the conservation of cultural heritage in different parts of the world.


Authors are welcome to submit their papers (oral or poster communications) on any of the above topics. Presentations should be original, not-as-yet published results; however, broader review papers on any aspect of natural stone are also welcome. Post-conference publication of selected papers (in a peer-reviewed international scientific journal with a significant impact factor and/or a book) is planned, as well.