In many regions of the world stone was historically the predominant material used for building and artistic purposes. Accordingly, the conservation and maintenance of architectural and decorative stone is a core activity in such regions. Factors such as climate change, pollution, use demands, lack of maintenance, and inappropriate past treatments present challenges for the conservation of stone buildings, structures and objects. In addition to these factors, the decline in traditional building techniques, craft practices and repair methods is also threatening our ability to sustain stone structures and objects into the future. These conservation issues require a multidisciplinary approach that involves professionals, craftspeople, policy makers and owners.
The International Course on Stone Conservation was created in 1976, and 16 courses have successfully been conducted between then and 2009 in Venice, Italy. The recently relaunched course, which will take place in Rome in 2011, reflects advances in practice, science, and technology, including the integration of practical methodologies for stone conservation on sites, buildings and structures.