Applied Geomatics

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 485–499 | Cite as

An integrated approach for threat assessment and damage identification on built heritage in climate-sensitive territories: the Albenga case study (San Clemente church)

  • Mattia PrevitaliEmail author
  • Chiara Stanga
  • Thomas Molnar
  • Lore Van Meerbeek
  • Luigi Barazzetti
Original Paper


Climate change represents an increasing threat to cultural heritage all around the world. In particular, the consequences of extreme weather events like tornados, heavy rain, and flooding can significantly damage built heritage and archeological sites. To face such issues, an integrated approach for threat assessment and damage identification is of primary importance for managing sites threatened by extreme weather events and climate change. This paper presents a holistic approach for risk assessment and management, specifically focusing on flooding, addressing San Clemente church in Albenga (Northern Italy). Located in the Centa riverbed, and dating back to the fifth century, San Clemente church has a complex historical stratification that reflects the changes that occurred in the area. The integrated approach included the analysis of historical, geometrical-dimensional, and meteorological data to identify the main threats associated with the site through a modified version of the ABC method. In fact, together with the standard categories, we added the category “Sensitivity to change” in order to understand the possibility for the archeological site to change without adverse impacts on its heritage significance. Starting with identified risks, it was possible to define a proper survey strategy to evaluate damages caused by flooding. Through the comparison of pre- and post-flooding condition of the church, it was possible to analyze the damages to the archeological site.


Built heritage Risk and resilience Digital documentation Natural disasters Terrestrial laser scanning Photogrammetry 


  1. Accardo G, Giani E, Giovagnoli A (2003) The risk map of Italian cultural heritage. J Archit Conserv 9(2):41–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agapiou A, Lysandrou V, Alexakis DD, Themistocleous K, Cuca B, Argyriou A, Sarris A, Hadjimitsis DG (2015) Cultural heritage management and monitoring using remote sensing data and GIS: the case study of Paphos area, Cyprus. Comput Environ Urban Syst 54:230–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alfieri L, Burek P, Feyen L, Forzieri G (2015) Global warming increases the frequency of river floods in Europe. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 19(5):2247–2260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andreou GM, Opitz R, Manning SW, Fisher KD, Sewell DA, Georgiou A, Urban T (2017) Integrated methods for understanding and monitoring the loss of coastal archaeological sites: the case of Tochni-Lakkia, south-central Cyprus. J Archaeol Sci Rep 12:197–208Google Scholar
  5. Apel H, Aronica GT, Kreibich H, Thieken AH (2009) Flood risk analyses—how detailed do we need to be? Nat Hazards 49(1):79–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arnbjerg-Nielsen K, Willems P, Olsson J, Beecham S, Pathirana A, Bülow Gregersen I, Madsen H, Nguyen VTV (2013) Impacts of climate change on rainfall extremes and urban drainage systems: a review. Water Sci Technol 68(1):16–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Arobba D, Caramiello R (2006) Rassegna dei ritrovamenti paleobotanici d’interesse alimentare in Liguria tra Neolitico ed età del Ferro e variazioni d’uso del territorio. In Archeobotanica e alimentazione. Workshop, Vol 18. Firenze, pp 255–273Google Scholar
  8. Arobba D, Firpo M, Massabò B, Piccazzo M, Poggi F, Ramella A (2006) Geoarcheologia del sistema deltizio del fiume Centa (Albenga-Liguria Occidentale). In: N. Cucuzza, M. Medri (eds) Archeologie. Studi in onore di Tiziano Mannoni, pp 25–28Google Scholar
  9. Ball D, Watt J (2008) Risk management and cultural heritage. Middlesex University, School of Health, Biological and Environmental Sciences, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Barazzetti L, Scaioni M, Remondino F (2010) Orientation and 3D modelling from markerless terrestrial images: combining accuracy with automation. Photogramm Rec 25(132):356–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Burke S, Macdonald S (2014) Creativity and conservation: managing significance at the Sydney Opera House. APT Bull 45(2–3):31–37Google Scholar
  12. Cowley DC (2011) Remote sensing for archaeological heritage management. EAC occasional paper no. 5. Occasional publication of the aerial archaeology research group no. 3. Europae Archaeologiae Consilium: Budapest, Hungary, p 307Google Scholar
  13. De Reu J, Plets G, Verhoeven G, De Smedt P, Bats M, Cherretté B, Van Meirvenne M (2013) Towards a three-dimensional cost-effective registration of the archaeological heritage. J Archaeol Sci 40(2):1108–1121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Del Lucchese A, Gambaro L (2008) Archeologia in Liguria, n.s., Vol. I, 2004–2005, Genova De FerrariGoogle Scholar
  15. Fatorić S, Seekamp E (2017) Are cultural heritage and resources threatened by climate change? A systematic literature review. Clim Chang 142(1–2):227–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gagliolo S, Fagandini R, Federici B, Ferrando I, Passoni D, Pagliari D, Pinto L, Sguerso D (2017) Use of UAS for the conservation of historical buildings in case of emergencies. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives 42(5W1):81–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gallay M, Lloyd CD, McKinley J, Barry L (2013) Assessing modern ground survey methods and airborne laser scanning for digital terrain modelling: a case study from the Lake District, England. Comput Geosci 51:216–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ghose S (1999) Protection against natural and manmade disasters. Risk preparedness for cultural properties: development of guidelines for emergency response, 159Google Scholar
  19. Gomez-Heras M, McCabe S (2015) Weathering of stone-built heritage: a lens through which to read the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 11:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grussenmeyer P, Landes T, Voegtle T, Ringle K (2008) Comparison methods of terrestrial laser scanning, photogrammetry and tacheometry data for recording of cultural heritage buildings. Int Arch Photogramm Remote Sens Spat Inf Sci 37(B5):213–218Google Scholar
  21. Guidi G, Russo M, Ercoli S, Remondino F, Rizzi A, Menna F (2009) A multi-resolution methodology for the 3D modeling of large and complex archeological areas. Int J Archit Comput 7(1):39–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Herle I, Herbstová V, Kupka M, Kolymbas D (2010) Geotechnical problems of cultural heritage due to floods. J Perform Constr Facil 24(5):446–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huong HTL, Pathirana A (2013) Urbanization and climate change impacts on future urban flooding in Can Tho city, Vietnam. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 17:379–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. ICCROM (2016). A guide to risk management of cultural heritage,
  25. ICOMOS (1993). International Scientific Committee, Conservation Economics,
  26. IPCC (2014) IPCC fifth assessment report: climate change 2014, Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Jung FC (2010) From “Blue Shield” to disaster management: the awareness and actions of risk preparedness from world’s cultural property. J Cult Property Conserv 12:43–56Google Scholar
  28. Lamboglia N (1934) Per l’archeologia di Albingaunum. Collana Storico-Archeologica della Liguria Occidentale, Società storico-archeologica ingauna e intemelia, Vol. III, Albenga, 57–59 Google Scholar
  29. Liu B (2010) Uncertain risk analysis and uncertain reliability analysis. Journal of Uncertain Systems 4(3):163–170Google Scholar
  30. Lerma JL, Navarro S, Cabrelles M, Villaverde V (2010) Terrestrial laser scanning and close range photogrammetry for 3D archaeological documentation: the Upper Palaeolithic Cave of Parpalló as a case study. J Archaeol Sci 37(3):499–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Massabò B (2006) Albenga (Sv) – L’area archeologica nell’alveo del Centa: le terme pubbliche romane e la chiesa di San Clemente. The Journal of Fasti Online,
  32. Massabò B (2010) Topografia di Albenga romana. Albenga. Un antico spazio cristiano. Chiesa e monastero di San Calocero al Monte, Fratelli Frilli Editori, pp 73–77Google Scholar
  33. Minos-Minopoulos D, Dominey-Howes D, Pavlopoulos K (2017) Vulnerability assessment of archaeological sites to earthquake hazard: an indicator based method integrating spatial and temporal aspects. Ann Geophys 60(4):0445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitchell KD (2017) Cultural heritage and rising seas: water management, governance, and heritage in Venice and Amsterdam. UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 161.
  35. Muller A, Reiter J, Weiland U (2011) Assessment of urban vulnerability towards floods using an indicator based approach—a case study for Santiago de Chile. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 11:2107–2123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nadel D, Filin S, Rosenberg D, Miller V (2015) Prehistoric bedrock features: recent advances in 3D characterization and geometrical analyses. J Archaeol Sci 53:331–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. National Trust for Historic Preservation (1993) Information Booklet No. 82.
  38. Paolini A, Vafadari A, Cesaro G, Santana Quintero M, Van Balen K, Vileikis O, Fakhoury L (2012). Risk Management At Heritage Sites a Case Study of the Petra World Heritage Site. A Case Study of the Petra World Heritage Site. Amman, JordanGoogle Scholar
  39. Pelling M (2011) Adaptation to climate change: from resilience to transformation. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  40. Pergola P (2010) Albenga alla fine dell’antichità e durante l’Altomedioevo: proposte per un’immagine della città. Albenga. Un antico spazio cristiano. Chiesa e monastero di San Calocero al Monte, Fratelli Frilli Editori, pp 31–37Google Scholar
  41. Piccazzo M, Firpo M, Ivaldi R, Arobba D (1994) Il delta del fiume Centa (Liguria occidentale): un esempio di modificazione recente del clima e del paesaggio. Il Quaternario 7(1):293–298Google Scholar
  42. Price RK, Vojinovic Z (2011) Urban hydroinformatics: data, models, and decision support for integrated urban water management. IWA Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  43. Reeder-Myers LA (2015) Cultural heritage at risk in the twenty-first century: a vulnerability assessment of coastal archaeological sites in the United States. J Island Coast Archaeol 10(3):436–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Remondino F, El-Hakim S (2006) Image-based 3D modelling: a review. Photogramm Rec 21(115):269–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Remondino F, Rizzi A (2010) Reality-based 3D documentation of natural and cultural heritage sites—techniques, problems, and examples. Appl Geomatics 2(3):85–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Santoro E (2017) The acquisition, production & dissemination of geospatial data for emergency management & preservation of cultural heritage. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives 42(5W1):15–24Google Scholar
  47. Shao W, Keim BD, Garand JC, Hamilton LC (2014) Weather, climate, and the economy: explaining risk perceptions of global warming, 2001–10. Weather Clim Soc 6(1):119–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. UNESCO (2010) Managing disaster risks for world heritage. UNESCO, Paris, p 2010. isbn:978-92-3-104165-5Google Scholar
  49. Vosselman G, Maas HG (2010) Airborne and terrestrial laser scanning. CRC Pres, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  50. Waller RR (1995) Risk Management Applied to Preventive Conservation. Storage of Natural History Collections. A Preventive Conservation Approach 1:21–27Google Scholar
  51. Wisner B, Gaillard JC, Kelman I (eds) (2012) Handbook of hazards and disaster risk reduction and management. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  52. Zucchi V. (1938) Topografia storica della piana di Albenga nel Medio evo - I. I corsi d’acqua. Rivista Ingauna E Intemelia, IV(1–4), pp. 18–52Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Fotogrammetria e Topografia (SIFET) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture, Built Environment and Construction EngineeringMilanItaly
  2. 2.Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture and Urban StudiesMilanItaly
  3. 3.Carleton Immersive Media StudioCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of EngineeringUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations