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Eleni P.-The history

In Greece, a predominantly maritime country, there are still ships built with traditional techniques that have a unique value due to their cultural and technological characteristics. Shipbuilding was one of the most important industries of the country in the 19th and until the middle of the 20th century. Many of the design features applied to wooden ships were a direct development of similar features used on ships in the Aegean in earlier historical periods. The preservation and study of these features undoubtedly helps to make clear the continuity of the naval and shipbuilding tradition through the centuries. This is perhaps the main reason why it is worth salvaging and restoring unique traditional vessels that were built with pre-industrial techniques and are no longer in use.


It is therefore very important to preserve such Aegean ships that represent and document the continuity of the Aegean maritime culture of the Greeks. This effort must be intensified today, as such ships are no longer being built and their number is decreasing dramatically from year to year. But even in the wooden boats built today, such as trehanterias, barges, liberty boats, etc., the techniques used are moving further and further away from tradition. First it was power tools, then imported woods, then digital design and finally automation of production that today modernise the minimum production of wooden boats and produce a new generation of boats with less and less traditional features.


The innovative results of the SaveWoodenBoats project, such as the complete guide (best practice) for the rescue of traditional boats, which currently does not exist and urgently needs to be created, the 2D and 3D construction of replicas, as well as digital 3D preserved parts of the ship, through targeted and specialized diagnostic and conservation tasks, as well as the pilot operation of a demonstration laboratory in the form of an "Open Lab" through technologies of Virtual and Augmented Reality (AR /VR) aim to the creation of a new "cultural experience", ie. this is not a limitation, however, as the methodology and associated tools to be developed can be applied to other commercial/economic sectors with appropriate adaptations (such as orchestras, screening venues, performance venues, etc.).


The project partnership aims to recover and preserve the largest possible number of elements of the ship, to produce a comprehensive study for the construction of a replica of the "Eleni P." containing the largest possible number of recovered and preserved elements, to produce a digital replica of the restored ship, and to produce a study on the use and sustainability of the physical replica of the ship. As a demonstration result, the "ELENI P." will be made available to the public as a maritime digital exhibit of the Historical Museum of Hydra, a living cultural institution located in the heart of the traditional settlement of the island. The above objectives will be achieved through the preservation, documentation and promotion of the parts of the ship that can be preserved through the integrated study of the construction of a physical replica of the ship and through the design and creation of a 3D digital replica for the promotion of the maritime cultural heritage of Hydra and the Aegean Archipelago in general.


At the same time, the project will make an important contribution to the competitiveness of the economy, firstly because it will create products and services of a high technological level that can be used in many cases of preservation, promotion and maintenance of cultural monuments in the domestic market, and secondly because it will contribute significantly to the diversification and export of model know-how through the new tools and applications that will be developed for this subject.


The project is expected to represent a significant advance beyond the "current technological state" for Greek standards in the field of diagnosis, conservation, documentation and promotion of historical cultural relics and especially traditional vessels, as it will develop new innovative methods, tools and approaches for the protection and conservation of the country's modern cultural heritage and intangible cultural heritage, focusing on traditional boats and traditional shipbuilding. It is particularly noteworthy that the project is negotiating an innovative approach to the acute problem of the impending uncontrolled deterioration of wooden boats, which have not been maintained for many years despite being designated as monuments. The proposed intervention procedure is in line with the recent regulation under Article 63 of Law 4481/2017 on movable monuments and preserves, as much as possible, both the tangible and intangible characteristics of these vessels that have made them unique examples of the Greek shipbuilding tradition.

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