The project Culture 2007-2013
‘PaCE - Plants and Culture: seeds of the cultural heritage of Europe’
Coordinator: Prof. Anna Maria Mercuri
Start date: November 15 2007
The project ‘Plants and culture: seeds of the cultural heritage of Europe’ aims to recover and promote green cultural heritage common to Europe in 2008, European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (decision n. 1983/2006/EC). The main ideas guiding this project are the improvement and dissemination of knowledge of the different botanical cultures in the history of European countries, and the safeguarding of their common cultural heritage (as per Article 151 of the Treaty).
Plants and Culture of Europe will be the key words of the PaCE project.
The project covers themes considered by the European Community to be priority issues:
Intercultural Dialogue - Plant Biodiversity - Cultural Landscape
In its research and popularization activities, the PaCE project focuses mainly on the links between plants and culture. It draws on an innovative partnership among universities, museums, archaeologists, botanists and zoologists from European countries (Italy, Spain, Poland and Norway as partners, supporting museums from Hungary, Greece, Romania, France and San Marino). The PaCE's European work group will present scientific knowledge on the significance of plants in human life in Europe. They will trace the history of selected European plants, represented overall by the box (Buxus), an evergreen present in all cultures, a symbol of life for the Ancient Greeks and a plant of peace in northern European traditions.
PaCE will satisfy the intercultural aspect by staging a trans-European exhibition based heavily on the partners’ up-to-date scientific research. The exhibition will coincide with important local cultural anniversaries in the partner countries, such as 250 years of the Botanical Garden of Modena, founded by the Duke of Este (Italy), and 750 years of the city of Krakow (Poland).
According to the specific objectives, PaCE will promote:
1. transnational mobility of researchers working in the laboratories of partners through
1.1) training for young researchers including work experience in laboratories located in other countries;
1.2. meetings to allow exchange of information on treatments and methods, in order to adopt the same investigation methods and improve common scientific interests.
2. transnational circulation of cultural works and products through
2.1. joint research papers providing summaries of national and European history and folk traditions based on plants;
2.2. a trans-European exhibition and educational activities presenting the works of the countries involved in the project, and featuring a common format and plan throughout a number of countries over the same period.
3. intercultural dialogue through
3.1. creation of an international work group on scientific and humanistic themes, investigating local differences and searching for common history;
3.2. common, visible actions, such as combined European languages and traditions on posters and the website.
of the partners, in the cities of Ravello, in Italy (common scientific research, exchanges of researchers, exhibition themes and materials such as posters, virtual reconstructions, etc…; common format of the exhibition throughout the various countries, list of papers for the volume) and Bergen, Norway (conclusions drawn from the research, website and virtual exhibition).
Ravello 23-24 November 2007
Bergen April 2009
Scientific research based on seeds, phytolits, pollen and micro-charcoal analyses from archaeological sites; ethnobotany and list of useful plants of Europe. The research will focus on the links between plants and traditions, art and history, and typical European plants, using up-to-date research carried out by teams of experts in the field. Similarities and dissimilarities in the continental territory will be highlighted, especially in terms of plant introduction, exchanges and forgotten plant resources. Researches will especially concern four periods: the Roman period, the Mediaeval, the Renaissance, and the Modern ages.
Co-operation in joint papers, enabled by exchanges and mobility of researchers, will trace the history of selected plants, and be used as the basis of the exhibition.
A trans-European exhibition on ‘Plants and Culture in the history of Europe’ in different museums in many (at this moment 9) countries (September-October 2008; Fig. 1). The museums will comprise partners and associated partners; there will also be links with institutions that have never been involved in the European project and the participation of other countries will be encouraged. The various branches of the exhibition will be staged more or less simultaneously during the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and are scheduled to last from one week to over a month. Each branch of the exhibition should feature the same title, cover and main lines (e.g. maintaining the same poster contents and order throughout, using the same slide projection methods etc), with the text supplied in both English and the local language. Each museum will adapt the details of its branch of the exhibition to its own experience, and the event will also include educational activities. Posters and virtual representations will be provided, based on the most recent archaeological/botanical data. Brochures, press, radio, television etc. will be used to publicise the action.
Educational and dissemination activities,
The temporary exhibition will became a permanent exhibition available on the PaCE website about three to six months after the exhibition ends (April-May 2009).
including, for example: i) posters being displayed in local institutions (universities, museums) during the European Heritage’s Days
in 2008; these will introduce the exhibition and the project, detailing all the partners; ii) activities organised for visiting school groups by museums, which will be based on the topics featured on the posters and at the trans-European exhibition; botanic gardens will provide guided tours which focus on the theme of plants and culture, and serve to provide information on PaCE.
a publication of the results obtained, at the beginning of the trans-European exhibition. All the partners will contribute with one or more papers containing up-to-date results of the scientific research on traditional knowledge, artistic expressions and archaeological/archaeobotanical data from sites in Europe.
, a multilingual website providing data on the project, aimed at a public audience. The site will be created according to the rules on accessibility for the disabled, offering an interactive guide to the up-to-date research on plants and culture and the permanent virtual exhibition. This virtual exhibition will be available on the web once the temporary exhibition in the several countries has ended (April-May 2009).
University of Modena and Reggio Emilia - UNIMORE:
- Archaeobotany of Mediaeval sites in Northern and Southern Italy: popular kitchen gardens, and ducal pits in Ferrara (in association with Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici-Emilia Romagna); landscape and plant uses at Jure Vetere, Cosenza (in association with the University of Basilicata).
- Synthesis of data from archaeological sites in San Marino (in association with Musei di Stato - Repubblica di San Marino).
- Research (leader partner in a joint research) on purslane, a formerly wild vegetable that has been cultivated in many countries since Roman times.
- Posters will be displayed in museum in Greece (see associated partner list).
- Educational/popularization activities will be held in Modena, in 2008, linked to PaCE. The Museum Department will organize the trans-European exhibition (40 days in the September/October period) in the centre of Modena, as a key event within the celebrations for the 250th anniversary of the Botanic Garden.
University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ - UNIROMA1:
- Archaeobotany of the world’s only known Roman hanging garden, the recently discovered garden at Villa Adriana (Tivoli, Rome; in association with the Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici of Lazio).
- Research (as leader partner in a joint research) on peach, a fruit known since Roman times, with study of the origin of the consumption of this fruit, and the origin of different cultivars in Europe.
- Synthesis of archaeobotanical data from sites in Hungary (with the cooperation of researchers from the National Museum of Budapest).
- Posters will be displayed in archaeological museums (see associated partner list) and at the historical Botanic Garden of Rome, at Villa Corsini.
European University Cultural Heritage Center of Ravello - CUEBC:
- Publication of a volume collecting the scientific papers, and distribution to the net of collaborators.
- The centre will sustain places organise the venues for the trans-European exhibition in Pompeii-Italy, in Tulcea-Romania and in Lattes-France (see associated partner list).
- Organization of the first meeting in Ravello, to prepare the joint research, the exhibition plan and the volume.
University of Bergen - UiB:
- Renaissance gardens, incl. fishpond systems, and development of a lake used for carp fish production (incl. osteological identification).
- Early formal garden history investigated through archive documentation, and historical and archaeological data in the Bergen region (Milde estate), which is lacking in nearly all Nordic countries.
- Molecular studies of box (Buxus sempervirens) in old European gardens, and history of the plant in Europe (as leader partner in a joint research).
- Posters will be displayed at the Bergen Museum institution.
- Organization of the conclusive meeting of the project.
Jagiellionian University of Krakow - UJ:
- ”Alien and native plants in life and art north of the Carpathians in historical perspective”, based on a selection of ca. 30 native and alien species (e.g., native: Carlina acaulis, Trollius europaeus; aliens: Papaver rhoeas, Helianthus annuus).
- Useful plants in Polish traditions and Europe: i) historical sources and herbals, ii) folk traditions in the 19th century and today, iii) images in art, from Mediaeval Age to the present.
- Role of European contacts in the circulation of plants in the Polish culture.
- Collaboration with joint researches from other countries.
- Popularization activities will include the exhibition, which will take place in the Botanical Museum of the Jagiellonian University. The trans-European exhibition will be part of the series of cultural events celebrating the 750th anniversary of the city of Krakow.
University of Barcelona - UB-FBG:
- Archaeobotanical study of archaeological sites in Spain, integration of micro-morphological and archaeological studies in Roman contexts, and contribution to the compilation of a list of plants known to have been used during the country’s history.
- Study of plant uses and traditions to find the roots of this cultural heritage in Spain.
- Collaboration with joint researches from other countries.
- Posters will be created and displayed at the local institution in Barcelona.