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Defining "Stone Heritage"

When asked to imagine "tangible cultural heritage" (a.k.a. heritage you can touch), many may think of traditional pieces of clothing, original artwork, ancient artifacts, ​pottery sherds, or some of the other items you might see in an old museum or at an archaeological site. But what about the museum building itself? The impressive rock shelter protecting an archaeological site? Those "mushroom rocks" in the stone forest? Often immobile or grounded, "stone heritage" refers to any rock or stone resource with cultural or historical significance, including geological features.


This often includes, but is not limited to, historic buildings, monuments and statues, gravestones and mausoleums, rock shelters, and other immovable open-air stone resources, such as petroglyphs and pictographs, as well as "geosites" and geoheritage. Since such items can rarely be curated in a museum or professional collections, a myriad of sciences and disciplines are needed to study and protect them.


Thus the multifaceted approach of the Stone Heritage Research Alliance, LLC


We represent a diverse team of professional and education experts from a wide variety of disciplines including geography, archaeology, fine arts, cultural resource management, geomorphology, rock decay science, tourism, and urban planning. Truly representing the power of multidisciplinary cooperation, this list of specialties and applications only continues to grow.


Pioneering new non-invasive research methods to assess the geologic stability of stone heritage resources, the SHR Alliance is the first and only entity providing professional training and certification programs in the Rock Art Stability Index (RASI) and the Cultural Stone Stability Index (CSSI). Both methods were developed by founding members of the Alliance. 


From the colorful deserts of the U.S. Southwest and Middle East, to the stony shores of the Balkans and tropical beaches of the Caribbean, the SHR Alliance has been involved in multiple projects around the world. Learn more about our current endeavors by clicking the link below, and read about how SHR Alliance members utilize the RASI and CSSI as tools for cultural heritage management purposes. 



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