EU GRANT Active Project

Systematic autonomous remote surveying of underwater cultural heritage monuments and artifacts using non-destructive, cost-effective and transportable digital solutions

NERITES project provides monitoring solutions for Underwater Cultural Heritage sites, which offer autonomous and robust methods for monitoring of chemical, environmental and geophysical indicators. These methods offer an order of magnitude cost reduction of associated campaigns, in situ monitoring techniques and flexibility of platform deployment. 

NERITES project focuses its efforts on Underwater Cultural Heritage monuments and artifacts assessment, being the most challenging environment when compared to most in-land cases. The technologies proposed herein comprise a set of multidisciplinary scientific and engineering approaches combining beyond state of art components and methodologies, aiming at reducing OPEX and CAPEX in Underwater Cultural Heritage surveying missions. 

The context proposed in NERITES comprises a transportable framework for the cost-effective, systematic remote surveying of Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) assets’ (buildings, artisan, artifacts, monuments, etc.) state-of-preservation, through basic research and innovations on:

  • Novel, non-destructive, low-cost digital sensing devices and techniques: a) 1DoF LIBS able to change the position of its head across one dimension and ensure metering in-water accuracy from 20cm target distance to map metals (e.g., Iron, Aluminum, Zinc, Copper) presence and concentration, b) innovative QCL sensor with no need of a water sampling mechanism for hydrocarbons and carbonates mapping, c) advanced photogrammetry for hyperspectral visual evidence about visually detectable colonists, structural cracks, texture, color defects. The combination of the specified sensing technologies’ types and properties has been carefully selected to ensure that they could collectively provide a deep UCH condition monitoring and assessment overview to the end-user.
  • The sensing devices are integrated onto an appropriately configured transportable autonomous underwater remote multi-sensing platform: a triangularly combined torpedo-shaped AUV platform; supported by a submerged power and data docking station which is tethered to a buoying surface platform with renewable generation capacity, for continuous power and low-bandwidth communication supply.
  • NERITES aims to innovate on UCH sites state-of-preservation and degradation assessment protocols utilizing autonomous remote sensing platforms which aim to reduce both OPEX and CAPEX, assessment accuracy, human risks, onshore analysis time required, when compared to conventional systematic assessment protocols considered in the common practice. To ensure validated in-situ assessment results, during the project, the detected defects’ severity will be correlated to the available measured features (LIBS, QCL, Photogrammetry): different concentrations of specific minerals, hydrocarbons and carbonates and optically visible defects, and validated on-site conventional sampling baselines (using divers).

Funding programme type: Horizon Europe

Grant reference #:HORIZON-CL2-2023-HERITAGE-01

Website: NERITES project

  • LZH Lazer Zentrum hannover
  • Atlantis Consulting
  • Ministro della Cultura
  • International Hellenic University
  • Universita della Calabria
  • CNR
  • Graal Tech
  • Universität Ulm
  • Robust Systems Engineering Ltd.
  • Engitec
  • ALPES LASERS SA, Switzerland

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