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Eurolithos Newsletter No. 5 - Nov 2021

In the past year, EuroLithos partners have worked in close collaboration with the administrators of the GeoEra Information Platform to ensure that vast amounts of information regarding European ornamental stone is open and freely accessible to the public. As a result, Eurolithos has set up the framework for collecting the unique stone resources, already half the European countries have made a significant contribution. Although the project is near its end, partners are committed to adding more information to this platform and encouraging national geological agencies in neighbouring countries to upload information.

Visiting quarry in the Dionysos marble close to Athens, Greece

Screen Capture : freely access interactive maps on the Min4EU platform on EGDI

Eurolithos WG3 aimed to develop the first version of the first Pan-European ornamental stone. As a result, the online Atlas now displays existing available data on the provenance of European Ornamental Stones. 

Ornamental stone is a low-emission material commonly used both inside and outside buildings. Therefore, increased use of stone is foreseen for new building projects and restoring historical landmarks in our urban and rural cultural landscapes.  

Hence, Eurolithos has prioritised developing and maintaining Pan-European information system for essential European ornamental resources after the project has ended. During the project’s duration, Eurolithos participants assembled ornamental stone knowledge to be displayed and shared as a series of maps on the GeoERA information portal:  EuroGeoSurveys’ European Geological Data Infrastructure (EDGI)

Spatial data from each partner will, by the end of 2021, be available on the Min4EU platform in the EGDI portal. This mapping service continues to evolve from the regular harvesting of national databases.  Ornamental Stone knowledge is one of many geological topics covered within the EuroGeoSurveys harmonised data service EGDI.


Users may directly and freely access interactive maps on the Min4EU platform on the EDGI portal by choosing a submenu item and viewing the ornamental stone data assembled and harmonised to date. The Atlas is the first attempt for collecting and standardise information about European ornamental stone resources. We anticipate updating the platform to allow more countries to be included – the work continues.

While the Atlas addresses the geological and geographical distribution of ornamental stone, the stone directory provides the technical characterisation of each stone. The framework for this directory is complete. As of  November 1, 2021, the total number of entries 1219.  350 unique “identity cards” for ornamental stone have been produced and linked to provide information on a stone’s composition, physical properties, and “performance in use” criteria. As with the Min4EU platform, the metadata is available on the EDGI platform work on producing identity cards will continue after the project ends. Current partners and other national geological surveys will provide the data required. Uncover detailed information about ornamental stone resources in Europe assembled to date by clicking on the points: 

Screen Capture :

From EDGI portal freely access technical characteristics for 350 unique ornamental stone types

The ornamental stone industry holds the competence to assess the economic values of an ornamental stone resource. However, local, regional and national governments and other public institutions are left with the difficult task of managing sites. Balancing conservation needs (e.g. historical and geodiversity values) with future stone exploitation (ensuring stone is available to preserve architectural heritage) is a complex task.  EuroLithos has completed eight case studies to identify tools to assist in the valorisation of stone resources, that is, the non-economic assessment of a stone’s value. 

Eight Eurolithos case studies served as a starting point to produce the best practices and guideline document that outlines how decision-makers and experts together can assess values of stone types, quarries and quarry landscapes; how to conduct inventories of links between stone resources, built heritage and stone crafts in a way that can be used in the assessment of stone value.


Eurolithos partners, case study leaders and the authors of the guidelines hope that their draft will help develop policy that will ensure better recognition of stone-built heritage, improved conditions for SME’s and better protection of stone resources in land-use planning. The document represents deliverables 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4.


Case studies, methods, and practices developed in the project deserve proper scientific publishing. Thus, Eurolithos will produce a volume of peer-reviewed papers. In addition, all partners have been invited to submit papers for a special issue on ornamental stone to be published in the NGU Bulletin. 8-10 manuscripts are expected (deadline January 15, 2022). Proposed articles address the theme of ornamental stone heritage, including assessing the intrinsic value of stone quarries and quarry landscapes, the value of stones from their use in stone-built heritage, and the traditional crafts.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731166

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