Restore world’s cultural heritage with the latest science

IPANEMA-CNRS, Paris-Saclay, France.

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National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France.

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National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris, France.

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French Academy of Sciences, Paris.

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Two months on from the tragic fire at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, we hope that restoration efforts will draw on scientific-heritage research.

Multidisciplinary research can guide historical interpretation and restoration, and inform the public’s subsequent perception of the building’s authenticity. It also helps to limit potentially irreversible damage to the world’s heritage in the future.

The European Commission’s 2021–27 Horizon Europe programme recognizes the importance of heritage research to societies and economies. And an international declaration signed in Paris at this year’s World Meeting on Heritage, Sciences and Technology aims to improve the understanding, preservation and enhancement of heritage and to illuminate how heritage research can inspire scientific discoveries (see To this end, the declaration calls for heritage studies to be included in the mission statements of research organizations, cultural institutions and funding agencies.

Nature 570, 164 (2019)

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