HYDRAULIC RISK ASSESSMENT IN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES SUPPORTED BY AN INTEGRATED DIGITAL SURVEY – CFD (COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS) MONITORING APPROACH
Keywords: rock-cut architecture, hypogeum, digital survey, 3D reconstruction, archaeological site, flood risk, hydraulic analyses, water infiltration
Abstract. This paper presents a methodological approach for analysing and evaluating hydraulic risks in complex archaeological areas, and thereby substantially improve general preservation and conservation efforts involving cultural heritage.
The hypogeum of Calaforno (province of Ragusa, Sicily) represents a unique sample of rock-cut architecture in terms of size and architectural features, and an ideal candidate for the case study due to its high historical, archaeological and cultural significance, as well as its intrinsic fragility and criticality associated with hydrogeological and seismic factors.
The interdisciplinary research approach involved archaeological and engineering contributions towards the development of numerical models for the assessment of hydraulic risks threatening archaeological heritage. The morphological characteristics of the site rendered the use of a Laser Scanner necessary for three-dimensional survey.
The prehistoric structures currently undergoing excavation outside the main entrance of the monument have raised concerns regarding the impact of the Manna stream, which flows a few meters from the main entrance to the hypogeum, which has seen periodic flooding in some of its rooms. Simulations of these flooding events were performed in order to attain better understanding of the hydraulic phenomena influencing the site, especially regarding the dynamics associated with surface runoff.
The interdisciplinary approach to this research, combining in-depth archaeological expertise with digital 3D surveying and modelling technologies, has proven fundamental to the effective monitoring of this morphologically complex site, and should perhaps be considered integral to any preventive assessment and risk management initiative involving cultural heritage.