The “ATHENA” proposal aims to establish a Center of Excellence in the field of Remote Sensing for Cultural Heritage in the areas of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage through the development of an enhanced knowledge base and innovative methods. This center will be established by twinning the existing Remote Sensing and Geo-environment Research Laboratory at the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) with internationally-leading counterparts from other Member States of the EU, such as the Institute of Archaeological and Architectural Heritage of the National Research Council of Italy (IBAM- CNR) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). The goals of the Center will be aligned with the Smart Specialization Strategy of Cyprus. The close collaboration between CUT and other experts in the field of Remote Sensing for Cultural Heritage in the EU will form a synergic network that will permit the transfer of knowledge and training of the existing personnel of CUT. As a result, the ATHENA project will have both direct and indirect social, scientific, and economic outcomes. In addition, the implementation of the project will facilitate future collaborations with experts of the Archaeology and Cultural Heritage sector in an EU level, increase the Centers’ research capabilities, as well as enhance the research and academic profile of all participants. It is noteworthy to underline the importance of the geographical position of the Center in the region of eastern Mediterranean, a region inhabited thousands of years before and therefore abound in archaeological residues. In periods of economic instability, national considerations are overruling the process of European integration. Cultural Heritage (CH) is an integral element of a European set of values and respect for heritage is vital for developing a common European identity. CH sector has always been facing a number of challenges that have increased with the financial crisis that has hit Europe. To name a few, these challenges include the decrease of public budgets, urbanisation, globalisation and technological changes. Within this context, CH professionals are seeking to improve currently used methodologies, in order to better understand, protect and valorise the common European past and common identity. “ATHENA” will seek to improve and expand the capabilities of collaboration between lowperforming and leading institutions, involving professionals dealing with remote sensing technologies for supporting CH sector. The “ATHENA” project is built around EU policies and international conventions related to Cultural Heritage protection, management and best practice (e.g. Europa Nostra policy documents; COM (2014) 477; UNESCO and EU conventions and multilateral treaties related to the protection of tangible Cultural Heritage).
Remote sensing archaeology Cultural heritage preservation