Submarine museums: today usable, safe and sustainable thanks to THETI, It took two years and nine brains to work, but the High Polytechnic School of Milan and Turin has developed a multidisciplinary project with the imperative not to alter the ecosystem and the site itself. THETI stands for "Integrated Technologies for the Sustainable Management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage", Was developed starting from the case study of the Underwater Archaeological Itinerary of Capo Graziano in Filicudi and to tell it are the two team leaders: Clery Bionaz and Davide Agostoni.
1) When and how was the project born? With what goal?
The project was born as part of the sixth cycle ofHigh Polytechnic School, a school of excellence for young talents in the fields of Engineering, Architecture and Design founded by the Polytechnics of Milan and Turin. The goal of THETI was to create an integrated system for the conservation of underwater sites directly in their environment, without altering the ecosystem and the site itself, allowing at the same time a better usability to all visitors.
TETI is a multidisciplinary project proposed by the Superintendence of the Sea of the Sicily Region and is based on the principles issued by the UNESCO Convention for the protection of underwater heritage, which indicates the correct methods of conservation and use of underwater archaeological assets.
2) How many participated, how long did it last and how many funds invested?
Nine students of the High Polytechnic School, divided into two teams of four and five people who worked in close collaboration even if with different specific objectives. The TETI project lasted two years, this is the duration of the ASP courses, and the students received a scholarship for the development of the project of one thousand euros each.
3) What experience does visitors expect if the TETI project is implemented? Will the environment also benefit?
Visitors could enjoy a completely new and interactive experience thanks to the hydrophone guide system, the light guides with optical fibers and the underwater information panels, the "info boxes", which will allow visitors to obtain information in an orderly, concise manner and alternatively, during the visit on site, in total safety.
As for the environment, TETI is completely eco-sustainable thanks to the use of non-toxic materials, the absence of any environmental impact on flora and fauna and the independent power supply of the entire system through the use of renewable energy.
4) What major difficulties were faced in the part dedicated to museumization?
The greatest difficulties were found in formulating solutions that would allow to solve several problems at the same time. For example, being able to use the hydrophone system for both signaling and surveillance and conservation systems for both the equipment and the exhibits of the museum itself. All this with the aim of the lowest possible cost, both in terms of installation and maintenance.
5) Conservation but also sustainability: what difficulties did you face to intertwine them?
The difficulties encountered in this case were mainly related to the use of substances that allowed the preservation of the finds without polluting the surrounding environment. The problem was solved thanks to the study of innovative and risk-free materials. Innovative solutions have been found for the preservation of finds such as the technique that uses anodized aluminum or magnesium on the surface of objects, as an alternative to zinc, which is very dangerous. This solution has the advantage of being durable over time, simple to apply and not harmful to the surrounding environment. For the conservation of bronze, which is a precious object, the effectiveness of green corrosion inhibitors, not dangerous for human health, was tested.
6) Are solutions repeatable in other similar or different cases?
The system has also been designed with a view to use in any underwater site and in the most diverse conditions such as the distance from the coast, the depth of the seabed, the wind and sea conditions ... This is why TETI is a general solution applicable to many cases. both similar to that of the Underwater Archaeological Itinerary of Capo Graziano in Filicudi, taken into consideration, and to very different cases.
7) Why is the underwater museum totally sustainable? How did you get this eat what additional cost or what savings?
The underwater museum is completely sustainable from an energy point of view because it is equipped with photovoltaic panels and wave motion exploitation systems capable of storing electricity, all in a floating "body" that requires minimum maintenance. The system involves only a very modest initial cost for installation, given the simplicity that characterizes it, while the maintenance costs are almost non-existent as the system powers itself; periodic checks for correct functioning can also be carried out by the staff accompanying visitors on excursions.
Interview byMarta Abbà