Colour and Space in Cultural Heritage

This COST Action (COSCH) is contributing to the enhanced understanding of material and helps its long-term preservation.

Documentation of cultural heritage involves researchers, scientists and professionals from multiple disciplines and industries. There is a need to promote research, development and application of non-contact optical measurement techniques (spectral and spatial) – adapted to the needs of heritage documentation – on a concerted European level, in order to protect, preserve, analyse understand, model, virtually reproduce, document and publish important cultural heritage in Europe and beyond.

COSCH will provide a stimulating framework for articulating and clarifying problems, sharing solutions and skills, standardising methodologies and encouraging a common understanding, widening applications and dissemination. The action will foster open standards for state-of-the-art documentation of cultural heritage. It will simplify the usage of high-resolution optical techniques, define good practice and stimulate research.


The main objective of this COST Action is to promote research, development and application of optical measurement techniques – adapted to the needs of heritage documentation – based on an interdisciplinary cooperation, on a concerted European level and to offer a novel and reliable, independent and global knowledge base facilitating the use of today's and future optical measuring techniques to support the documentation of European heritage.


This includes:

1.      The development of guidelines for CH authorities concerning the specification of minimal spatial resolution/uncertainty values for a selected set of materials (including its finishing techniques) depending on goal of documentation, e.g. visualisation and condition assessment.

2.      (a) To deepen knowledge of the potential, output, constraints, preconditions and practical aspects of precise spectral and spatial instruments; (b) To research and publish case-studies in the application of the newest spectral and spatial technologies; (c) To offer a critical review of current integration of state-of-the-art spectral and spatial optical technologies into documentation of CH objects; (d) To lay a foundation for an optimised and adapted use of spectral and spatial techniques by CH authorities.

3.      Analysis of mutual benefits from spectral or spatial sensing techniques and the added value of combined usages.

4.      (a) Formation of a sustainable European network of researchers, solution providers, end-users and industrial partners in the field of optical measurement techniques for CH documentation, preservation and reconstruction; (b) The stimulation of interdisciplinary research projects on a national, bilateral and European level; (c) Identification and further development of knowledge centres within the partner network hosting educational services and research support; (d) The promotion of mobility among early-stage researchers.

Information Information

COSCH final book



Digital Techniques for Documenting and Preserving Cultural Heritage

"The essays in this collection are transformative, moving beyond basic collaboration and skilfully contextualizing both scientific knowledge in the humanities and humanities knowledge in the sciences. Doing so not only heightens the quality of the research, but heightens understanding, redrawing traditional lines between disciplines and redening what it means to truly collaborate and to be a scholar in the digital age."- Bill Endres, University of Oklahoma

In this unique collection the authors present a wide range of interdisciplinary methods to study, document, and conserve material cultural heritage. The methods used serve as exemplars of best practice with a wide variety of cultural heritage objects having been recorded, examined, and visualised. The objects range in date, scale, materials, and state of preservation and so pose different research questions and challenges for digitization, conservation, and ontological representation of knowledge. Heritage science and specialist digital technologies are presented in a way approachable by non-scientists, while a separate technical section provides details of methods and techniques, alongside examples of notable applications of spatial and spectral documentation of material cultural heritage, with selected literature and identification of future research. 

This book is an outcome of interdisciplinary research and debates conducted by the participants of the COST Action TD1201, Colour and Space in Cultural Heritage, 2012–16, and is an Open Access publication available under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.

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