The Eastern Mediterranean region, including Greece, Asia Minor; Cyprus and the Levant, is probably one of the richest areas of the world as far as archaeological heritage is concerned; and undoubtedly one of the most investigated, however scientific analysis of finds and documentation, preservation and communication services lack a regional strategy. There are excellent research centers in the region (some of which are members of the STACHEM partnership) and certain elements of advanced research infrastructure, but coordination and policies are indeed lacking. This has several adverse effects; such as duplication of efforts; lack of interoperability at the data level, and in general missed opportunities for collaboration among research institutions. In addition there is a clear shortage of scientific and technical resources, such as laboratories of applied chemistry and physics for archaeology, multimedia communication centers, digital libraries, etc., so that analyses and data processing very often have to be carried out far away from the region.
In this context, the Cyprus Institute has launched the Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center (STARC), which is designed to become a significant scientific and technological resource for the regional archaeology and cultural heritage communities. It is important to ensure that, from its earliest design and planning phase, STARC is adapted to the needs and demands of these communities, and that its development is integrated in European and regional strategies for the build-up of research infrastructures in the relevant fields.
The goal of the STACHEM project is to contribute to a regional strategic plan for research infrastructures devoted to archaeological sciences and digital heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean, and simultaneously to support and complement the design and planning process of STARC, ensuring that it is embedded in the said strategy, closely adapted to the regional needs and integrated in the Euro-Mediterranean environment of archaeological sciences and digital heritage. The STACHEM project has been focusing on the following areas:
- Natural and materials science approaches to the study of archaeological remains and sites
- Technologies and infrastructure for underwater archaeology
- Applications of information and communication technology to cultural heritage
A project within the European Union, Seventh Framework Programme Capacities Specific Programme, Research Infrastructures.