Last March 10th was the first edition of the Heritage Innovation Talks (HI TALKS) in Évora (Portugal), organized by the Hercules Lab of the University of Evora.  The goal of the HI TALKS is to present and discuss emerging issues in the framework of the sciences of Cultural Heritage, with the participation of key researchers in the area. In this first edition the members of IRNAS research group “Environmental Microbiology and Cultural Heritage” Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez and Ana Z. Miller have been invited by the organizers.  The contribution of Prof Saiz-Jimenez, intitled “Microbiology and Cultural Heritage: the case of rock art caves” treated on the microbiological problems and the different approaches adopted, of Lascaux and Altamira caves, two caves of special importance included in Unesco’s World Heritage List, and also paradigms of the prejectory of the research group. Dr. Miller’s contribution (“Geomicrobiology of subsurface environments”), was centered in the nature and biogenic origin of secondary mineral deposits in subterranean environments. Both IRNAS members speeches, as well as the presentation by members of the Hercules Lab on the microbiology of the rock art cave of Escoural (the only one in Portugal harboring Palaeolithic rock art) contributed to center the microbiological problematic in subterranean environments as a main threat for the conservation of rare goods of Humankind’s Cultural Heritage, as they are part of the oldest known manifestations of the symbolic behaviour of human beings.


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