Textiles and Archaeological Sites: Towards a Methodology for Designing Lightweight Protective Structures


Article Preview

The shelter for archaeological areas aims to protect ruins from damages, in order to preserve their historical values, while the excavation work represents a destructive action. The shelter design process for archaeological areas includes dealing with some contradictions, due to the multiplicity of constraints and the complexity of the application contexts. The article aims to state the appropriate use of membranes and temporary structures in these fragile environments through a new concept of textile lightweight solution coming from a decision support matrix. In this applicative example, the elasticity of the proposed textile material – that is a polyurethane-coated knitted textile – and its combination with a bending-active structural element, become a key aspect for reconfiguring the whole system to different sets of problems. The example therefore understands active bending as an approach to generating new structural forms, in which common load bearing behavior is found due to the structures inherently large elasticity and inner stress state.



Edited by:

Dr. Santina Di Salvo




S. Viscuso et al., "Textiles and Archaeological Sites: Towards a Methodology for Designing Lightweight Protective Structures", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 1149, pp. 109-118, 2018

Online since:

August 2018




* - Corresponding Author

[1] T. Roby, M. Demas (2013), Protective Shelter for Archaeological Sites, Mosaics in situ. An overview of literature on conservation of mosaics in situ, The Getty Conservation Institute.

[2] M. Bartolini, M.P. Nugari, S. Ricci, A. Roccardi (2006), Le coperture delle aree archeologiche: Museo aperto, Gangemi Editore.

[3] M.L. Germanà (2013), Archaeological construction and its relationship with place: the theme of shelters, Urban Archaeology Enhancement. Valorizzare l'archeologia urbana, Edizioni ETS.

[4] Z. Aslan (1997), Protective structures for the conservation and preservation of archaeological sites. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies, 3, pp.16-20.

[5] G. Rizzi (2008), Sheltering the Mosaics of Piazza Armerina: Issues of Conservation and Presentation. Archaeological Institute of America, https://www.archaeological.org/news/hca/7. Accessed on 22 Apr (2015).

[6] G. Buccellati (2006).

[7] N. Agnew, R. Coffmann (1991), Development and evaluation of the Hexashelter, The conservation of the Orpheus mosaics at Paphos, Cyprus, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, (1991).

[8] A. Zanelli, E. Rosina, P. Beccarelli, R. Maffei, G. Carra (2013), Innovative solutions for ultra-lightweight textile shelters covering archaelogical sites, Proceedings of the second international conference on structure and architecture ICSA.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1201/b15267-184

[9] W. Lewis (2003), Tension structures. Form and behavior, Thomas Telford Publishing, London.

[10] P. Beccarelli (2016), Designing with membranes. In: A. Zanelli, L. Spinelli , C. Monticelli, P. Pedrali (Eds.), Lightweight Landscape: Enhancing Design through Minimal Mass Structures. PoliMI SpringerBriefs, Milan, pp.40-48.

[11] A. Zanelli (2015), Architectural fabric structures in the refurbishment of archaeological and cultural heritage areas, Fabric Structure in Architecture, Elsevier.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-1-78242-233-4.00015-2

[12] EU 7th Framework Programme Collaborative Project S(P)EEDKITS, Rapid deployment of shelters, facilities and medical care resources following a major disaster,, www.speedkits.eu. Accessed May (2018).

[13] G. Deleuze, F. Guattari (2004), A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

[14] M. Mollaert, L. De Laet, A. Verdonck, S. Lombardi, P. Beccarelli, A. Zanelli (2011).

[15] M. Barozzi, S. Viscuso, A. Zanelli (2015).

[16] E. Rosina, E. Romoli (2015), Shelters for archaeological areas: the issue of materials conservation, Lecture for General Course of Sheltering: Temporary Architecture, Lightweight Construction, Textile Technology, [TEAL-S], Politecnico di Milano.

[17] H. Alpermann, C. Gengnagel (2012), Shaping actively-bent elements by restraining systems, Conference IASS-APCS 2012: From Spatial Structures to Space Structures, Seoul.