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TheAthensCharterfortheRestorationofHistoricMonuments1931

AdoptedattheFirstInternationalCongressofArchitectsandTechniciansofHistoric
Monuments,Athens1931
AttheCongressinAthensthefollowingsevenmainresolutionsweremadeandcalled"CartadelRestauro":

1.InternationalorganizationsforRestorationonoperationalandadvisorylevelsaretobeestablished.

2.ProposedRestorationprojectsaretobesubjectedtoknowledgeablecriticismtopreventmistakeswhichwillcause
lossofcharacterandhistoricalvaluestothestructures.

3.Problemsofpreservationofhistoricsitesaretobesolvedbylegislationatnationallevelforallcountries.

4.Excavatedsiteswhicharenotsubjecttoimmediaterestorationshouldbereburiedforprotection.

5.Moderntechniquesandmaterialsmaybeusedinrestorationwork.

6.Historicalsitesaretobegivenstrictcustodialprotection.

7.Attentionshouldbegiventotheprotectionofareassurroundinghistoricsites.

GeneralConclusionsoftheAthensConference

I.DOCTRINES.GENERALPRINCIPLES.

TheConferenceheardthestatementofthegeneralprinciplesanddoctrinesrelatingtotheprotectionofmonuments.

Whatevermaybethevarietyofconcretecases,eachofwhichareopentoadifferentsolution,theConferencenoted
thattherepredominatesinthedifferentcountriesrepresentedageneraltendencytoabandonrestorationsintotoand
toavoidtheattendantdangersbyinitiatingasystemofregularandpermanentmaintenancecalculatedtoensurethe
preservationofthebuildings.

When,astheresultofdecayordestruction,restorationappearstobeindispensable,itrecommendsthatthehistoric
andartisticworkofthepastshouldberespected,withoutexcludingthestyleofanygivenperiod.

TheConferencerecommendsthattheoccupationofbuildings,whichensuresthecontinuityoftheirlife,shouldbe
maintainedbutthattheyshouldbeusedforapurposewhichrespectstheirhistoricorartisticcharacter.

II.ADMINISTRATIVEANDLEGISLATIVEMEASURESREGARDINGHISTORICALMONUMENTS

TheConferenceheardthestatementoflegislativemeasuresdevisedtoprotectmonumentsofartistic,historicor
scientificinterestandbelongingtothedifferentcountries.

Itunanimouslyapprovedthegeneraltendencywhich,inthisconnection,recognisesacertainrightofthecommunity
inregardtoprivateownership.

Itnotedthatthedifferencesexistingbetweentheselegislativemeasureswereduetothedifficultyofreconciling
publiclawwiththerightsofindividuals.
Consequently,whileapprovingthegeneraltendencyofthesemeasures,theConferenceisofopinionthatthey
shouldbeinkeepingwithlocalcircumstancesandwiththetrendofpublicopinion,sothattheleastpossible
oppositionmaybeencountered,dueallowancebeingmadeforthesacrificeswhichtheownersofpropertymaybe
calledupontomakeinthegeneralinterest.

Itrecommendsthatthepublicauthoritiesineachcountrybeempoweredtotakeconservatorymeasuresincasesof
emergency.

ItearnestlyhopesthattheInternationalMuseumsOfficewillpublisharepertoryandacomparativetableofthe
legislativemeasuresinforceinthedifferentcountriesandthatthisinformationwillbekeptuptodate.

III.AESTHETICENHANCEMENTOFANCIENTMONUMENTS.

TheConferencerecommendsthat,intheconstructionofbuildings,thecharacterandexternalaspectofthecitiesin
whichtheyaretobeerectedshouldberespected,especiallyintheneighbourhoodofancientmonuments,wherethe
surroundingsshouldbegivenspecialconsideration.Evencertaingroupingsandcertainparticularlypicturesque
perspectivetreatmentshouldbepreserved.

Astudyshouldalsobemadeoftheornamentalvegetationmostsuitedtocertainmonumentsorgroupsof
monumentsfromthepointofviewofpreservingtheirancientcharacter.Itspeciallyrecommendsthesuppressionof
allformsofpublicity,oftheerectionofunsightlytelegraphpolesandtheexclusionofallnoisyfactoriesandevenof
tallshaftsintheneighbourhoodofartisticandhistoricmonuments.

IV.RESTORATIONOFMONUMENTS.

Theexpertsheardvariouscommunicationsconcerningtheuseofmodernmaterialsfortheconsolidationofancient
monuments.Theyapprovedthejudicioususeofalltheresourcesatthedisposalofmoderntechniqueandmore
especiallyofreinforcedconcrete.

Theyspecifiedthatthisworkofconsolidationshouldwheneverpossiblebeconcealedinorderthattheaspectand
characteroftherestoredmonumentmaybepreserved.

Theyrecommendedtheiradoptionmoreparticularlyincaseswheretheirusemakesitpossibletoavoidthedangers
ofdismantlingandreinstatingtheportionstobepreserved.

V.THEDETERIORATIONOFANCIENTMONUMENTS.

TheConferencenotedthat,intheconditionsofpresentdaylife,monumentsthroughouttheworldwerebeing
threatenedtoaneverincreasingdegreebyatmosphericagents.

Apartfromthecustomaryprecautionsandthemethodssuccessfullyappliedinthepreservationofmonumental
statuaryincurrentpractice,itwasimpossible,inviewofthecomplexityofcasesandwiththeknowledgeatpresent
available,toformulateanygeneralrules.

TheConferencerecommends:

1.That,ineachcountry,thearchitectsandcuratorsofmonumentsshouldcollaboratewithspecialistsinthephysical,
chemical,andnaturalscienceswithaviewtodeterminingthemethodstobeadoptedinspecificcases

2.ThattheInternationalMuseumsOfficeshouldkeepitselfinformedoftheworkbeingdoneineachcountryinthis
fieldandthatmentionshouldbemadethereofinthepublicationsoftheOffice.
Withregardtothepreservationofmonumentalsculpture,theConferenceisofopinionthattheremovalofworksof
artfromthesurroundingsforwhichtheyweredesignedis,inprinciple,tobediscouraged.Itrecommends,bywayof
precaution,thepreservationoforiginalmodelswheneverthesestillexistorifthisprovesimpossible,thetakingof
casts.

VI.THETECHNIQUEofCONSERVATION.

TheConferenceisgratifiedtonotethattheprinciplesandtechnicalconsiderationssetforthinthedifferentdetailed
communicationsareinspiredbythesameidea,namely:

Inthecaseofruins,scrupulousconservationisnecessary,andstepsshouldbetakentoreinstateanyoriginal
fragmentsthatmayberecovered(anastylosis),wheneverthisispossiblethenewmaterialsusedforthispurpose
shouldinallcasesberecognisable.Whenthepreservationofruinsbroughttolightinthecourseofexcavationsis
foundtobeimpossible,theConferencerecommendsthattheybeburied,accuraterecordsbeingofcoursetaken
beforefillinginoperationsareundertaken.

Itshouldbeunnecessarytomentionthatthetechnicalworkundertakeninconnectionwiththeexcavationand
preservationofancientmonumentscallsforclosecollaborationbetweenthearchaeologistandthearchitect.

Withregardtoothermonuments,theexpertsunanimouslyagreedthat,beforeanyconsolidationorpartialrestoration
isundertaken,athoroughanalysisshouldbemadeofthedefectsandthenatureofthedecayofthesemonuments.
Theyrecognisedthateachcaseneededtobetreatedindividually.

VII.THECONSERVATIONOFMONUMENTSANDINTERNATIONALCOLLABORATION.

a)Technicalandmoralcooperation.

TheConference,convincedthatthequestionoftheconservationoftheartisticandarchaeologicalpropertyof
mankindisonethatintereststhecommunityoftheStates,whicharewardensofcivilisation,

HopesthattheStates,actinginthespiritoftheCovenantoftheLeagueofNations,willcollaboratewitheachother
onaneverincreasingscaleandinamoreconcretemannerwithaviewtofurtheringthepreservationofartisticand
historicmonuments

Considersithighlydesirablethatqualifiedinstitutionsandassociationsshould,withoutinanymannerwhatsoever
prejudicinginternationalpubliclaw,begivenanopportunityofmanifestingtheirinterestintheprotectionofworksof
artinwhichcivilisationhasbeenexpressedtothehighestdegreeandwhichwouldseemtobethreatenedwith
destruction

Expressesthewishthatrequeststoattainthisend,submittedtotheIntellectualCooperationOrganisationofthe
LeagueofNations,berecommendedtotheearnestattentionoftheStates.

ItwillbefortheInternationalCommitteeonIntellectualCooperation,afteranenquiryconductedbytheInternational
MuseumsOfficeandafterhavingcollectedallrelevantinformation,moreparticularlyfromtheNationalCommitteeon
IntellectualCooperationconcerned,toexpressanopinionontheexpediencyofthestepstobetakenandonthe
proceduretobefollowedineachindividualcase.

ThemembersoftheConference,afterhavingvisitedinthecourseoftheirdeliberationsandduringthestudycruise
whichtheywereabletomakeonthisoccasion,anumberofexcavationsitesandancientGreekmonuments,
unanimouslypaidatributetotheGreekGovernment,which,formanyyearspast,hasbeenitselfresponsiblefor
extensiveworksand,atthesametime,hasacceptedthecollaborationofarchaeologistsandexpertsfromevery
country.

ThemembersoftheConferencetheresawanexampleofactivitywhichcanbutcontributetotherealisationofthe
aimsofintellectualcooperation,theneedforwhichmanifesteditselfduringtheirwork.

b)Theroleofeducationintherespectofmonuments.

TheConference,firmlyconvincedthatthebestguaranteeinthematterofthepreservationofmonumentsandworks
ofartderivesfromtherespectandattachmentofthepeoplesthemselves

Consideringthatthesefeelingscanverylargelybepromotedbyappropriateactiononthepartofpublicauthorities

Recommendsthateducatorsshouldurgechildrenandyoungpeopletoabstainfromdisfiguringmonumentsofevery
descriptionandthattheyshouldteachthemtotakeagreaterandmoregeneralinterestintheprotectionofthese
concretetestimoniesofallagesofcivilisation.

c)Valueofinternationaldocumentation.

TheConferenceexpressesthewishthat:

1.Eachcountry,ortheinstitutionscreatedorrecognisedcompetentforthispurpose,publishaninventoryofancient
monuments,withphotographsandexplanatorynotes

2.Eachcountryconstituteofficialrecordswhichshallcontainalldocumentsrelatingtoitshistoricmonuments

3.EachcountrydepositcopiesofitspublicationsonartisticandhistoricmonumentswiththeInternationalMuseums
Office

4.TheOfficedevoteaportionofitspublicationstoarticlesonthegeneralprocessesandmethodsemployedinthe
preservationofhistoricmonuments

5.TheOfficestudythebestmeansofutilisingtheinformationsocentralised.