Preserving the Past: Safeguarding Cultural Heritage from Earthquakes and their devastating impacts


Bottari Carla Bottari

Carla Bottari

Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Osservatorio Etneo, Catania, Italy

Panzera Francesco Panzera

Francesco Panzera

Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences Department, University of Catania, Italy

Pecchioli Laura Pecchioli

Laura Pecchioli

Humboldt Universität/Technische Universität Wien/Universität Bern

Askan Aysegul Askan

Aysegul Askan

Departments of Civil Engineering and Earthquake Studies, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkiye

Betti Michele Betti

Michele Betti

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Florence, Italy


Monuments, historical sites, and noteworthy architectural works are priceless resources for our community since they represent our common heritage. UNESCO's guidelines underscore the need to preserve cultural and natural sites declared as having 'outstanding universal value,' as they represent a legacy for humanity that will benefit present and future generations. Despite their importance to humanity, these locations are nevertheless vulnerable to the devastating impact of earthquakes and their aftereffects, such as landslides and tsunamis. The tragic loss of priceless historical artefacts as a result of recent seismic events in Turkey, Greece, and Italy highlights the urgent need for focused mitigation efforts. The session aims to explore a multidisciplinary approach to preserving cultural heritage, with a particular emphasis on understanding the impact of earthquakes and their associated effects.


We welcome contributions covering a variety of topics, such as:

  • Archaeoseismological investigations documenting unknown or scarcely known earthquakes.
  • Integrated studies focusing on the local seismic response (RSL) in archaeological sites using geophysical techniques.
  • Multidisciplinary investigations to enhance the seismic history of specific regions and seismic hazard analysis (macroseismic and historical seismology studies).
  • Research focused on strengthening cultural heritage structures to mitigate the effects of future earthquakes (conservation/preservation and vulnerability).
  • Site-specific seismic hazard assessments.
  • Vulnerability analyses and damage assessments related to strong earthquakes and secondary effects such as liquefaction, landslides, and tsunamis.
  • Vibration-based Structural Health Monitoring strategies under changing environmental conditions.


Carla Bottari is a Researcher at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Osservatorio Etneo in Catania. Graduated in Natural Science in 1998 at the University of Messina, PhD in in Geophysics for the Environment and Territory at the Messina University. She is co-author of 44 publications on ISI/Scopus rated journals and presented more than 50 communications at national and international conferences and events, in the field of Archaeoseismology and Geoarchaeology. Citations: 256, H-index: 9 (Scopus database). Her research interests include multidisciplinary investigations for the reconstruction of the seismic history of archaeological sites, including the geochemical identification of active faults. Furthermore, her research encompasses historical seismology and geophysics applied to the archaeological field, with a recent focus on local site effects in archaeological areas to investigate amplification due to historical seismic events.

Francesco Panzera obtained the PhD. at the University of Catania working on numerical and experimental methods to evaluate seismic site response in urban areas. He was PostDoc researcher at the Icelandic Meteorological Office of ReyKjavik (Iceland), working on the European project REAKT (Strategies and tools for Real Time EArthquake RisK ReducTion). He worked at University of Catania as PostDoc researcher in the frame of the European project SIMIT (Establishment of an integrated Italy-Malta cross-border system of civil protection), in an University of Catania project having as goal the study of soil-structure interaction by means of experimental speedy techniques and on the microzonation of the Central Italy after the 2016 Earthquake. At the Swiss Seismological Service – ETH Zurich he was Senior Researcher taking part to several Swiss national projects on seismic risk and on site response. Actually is Assistant Professor at the University of Catania in Solid Earth Geophysics. His expertise in seismic site effects using field measurements, topics related to soil-structure interaction and seismic hazard is testified by several publications.

Laura Pecchioli has specialized in restoring monuments and technologies for conserving archaeological sites. She has participated in various interdisciplinary research projects in archaeological building research. Lecturer and researcher in heritage conservation-restoration and an external lecturer in Archaeoseismology. She has co-edited different scientific journals and is a member of European project committees. Her interests include post-disaster recovery, archaeoseismology, urban and infrastructure resilience, climate change, armed conflicts, and damage assessment.

Aysegul Askan is a professor of civil engineering, earthquake studies and applied mathematics at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. She received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 with her thesis focusing on full waveform inversion for seismic velocity structures. Dr. Askan’s field of expertise includes engineering seismology, earthquake engineering, scientific computing and numerical methods, effects of simulated ground motions on structures, multi-scale seismic risk and loss estimations in urban regions, structural reliability and parameter estimation problems for site characterization. She is the department head of Earthquake Studies program at METU. She is the current general secretary of Earthquake Engineering Association of Turkey and a member of the National Disaster and Emergency Consultancy Board of Turkey. She is a board member COSMOS and European Seismological Commission. Dr. Askan has led and participated in several EU projects, Turkish-Japanese bilateral projects and national projects focusing on seismic hazard and risk problems. She has supervised more than 35 graduate students at METU since 2007. The list of publications by Dr. Askan includes 62 peer-reviewed international journal articles and 3 book chapters with an h-index of 24.

Michele Betti is currently Associate Professor in Mechanics of Solids and Structures at the School of Engineering, University of Florence (Italy), where he received his PhD in Structural Engineering in 2001. His research interests focus on the characterization and identification of the static and dynamic behaviour of masonry structures (and wooden elements), paying attention to the topic of Structural Health Monitoring of heritage structures (towers, domes, buildings, etc.). Recent activities include the set-up of quality-based automated procedure with adaptive tracking for operational modal analysis, data analysis for long-term Structural Health Monitoring (e.g. masonry towers, offshore steel platforms, trees, etc.) and Bayesian-based modal updating procedures through the use of surrogate models. He has authored more than 120 scientific papers in peer-reviewed international journals and conference proceedings (H-index 28 Scopus), and 3 books, and is partner-founder of Kobe Innovation Engineering (University of Florence spin-off company) which is involved in monitoring, structural assessment and numerical modeling for decision making of structures and infrastructures.