Our project

The Domaine d’intérêt majeur (DIM) Heritage and ancient materials is the Île-de-France research network dedicated to the study of ancient and patrimonial materials.

Its singularity relies upon a strong interdisciplinary paradigm, which expresses through 8 transversal research thematics. It cares about improving the scientific and public knowledge about ancients materials, based on a dialog between research in physics, chemistry, computer science, environment sciences, biology and art history, archeology, paleontology and text studies.

Socio-economical partners, involved in scientific research and its valorization, are members of the DIM.

Paris declaration



Paris Declaration, 15 February 2019


In the context of the global meeting on “Heritage, Sciences and Technologies” organized by the French Academy of Sciences and IPANEMA under the aegis of the Inter-Academic Group for Development (GID) from the 13th to 16th February 2019 in Paris, participants endeavour through this declaration to initiate a call for action through the mobilization of knowledge to improve the understanding, preservation and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage in order to promote sustainable development.


  • the scientific, intercultural, educational, economic and social values of the world’s cultural and naturalheritage;
  • the growing collective desire to preserve such heritage passed on through History;
  • the magnitude of damage, often irreversible, to the world’s heritage due to natural disasters and climate-related phenomena, negligence, targeted destruction in times of conflict, as well as looting that generates a long-term negative impact on the countries of origin of these goods;
  • the contribution of tourism to the global economy, but also the negative impacts of mass tourism on heritage preservation as well as the risk of its commodification and alteration;
  • the emergence of new research fields and methodological revolutions which contribute to cutting edge scientific discoveries and to innovative technologies in the study of ancient materials and environments that contribute substantially to the understanding, conservation and sustainable use of heritage;

Considering that:

  • the world’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage and natural heritage is still largely unevenly and inadequately recognized, inventoried and protected: new discoveries are consistently being made that highlight the need to pursue and intensify research and documentation of heritage assets;
  • the study of heritage requires an increase in collaboration between experimental sciences, the humanities, the conservation sector, environmental and information sciences;
  • the study and dating of ancient materials using available technologies contribute to the advancement of knowledge;
  • heritage is fundamental for communities to take ownership of their history;
  • heritage constitutes a unique channel for sharing culture and scientific knowledge with all people;
  • heritage contributes to strengthening social cohesion, to development, as well as to peace and to stability;
  • the enhancement of knowledge and of understanding of heritage assets is a source of job creation in numerous sectors: economics, tourism, education, cultural industries…;
  • the role of national and international institutions, such as UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM, ICOMOS, and the network of academies that GID facilitates, is important in this realm;

Participants to the global meeting on “Heritage, Sciences and Technologies” urge countries and institutions to commit themselves to:

  • include heritage studies in the mission statements of research organizations, cultural institutions and funding agencies, combining experimental sciences, humanities, conservation, environmental and information sciences;
  • simplify interdisciplinary recruitment;
  • intervene with relevant authorities so as to inform and to encourage them to:
    • invest in laboratories carrying out research to improve knowledge and to safeguard heritage;
    • use all research instruments (large-scale facilities, mobile laboratories, databases, the field) as a melting pot for interdisciplinary heritage studies;
    • facilitate access to these infrastructures for researchers from countries that do not have such facilities;
    • put in place an effective policy for defining standards in the heritage sector;
    • support interdisciplinary training activities in the heritage sector, notably those related to recent developments in the methods of studying, protecting and managing the diversity of heritage assets;
  • take action in the public arena to:
    • implement an economic development policy based on studies dedicated to heritage;
    • disseminate the knowledge provided through the study of heritage, in particular to combat the use of heritage as an instrument of political and social division;
    • raise public awareness of the importance of the diversity of heritage and include it within societal development programs;
    • encourage greater efforts to document, inventory, protect, and enhance access to all forms of heritage and its associated knowledge for the development of its economic and social potential.

Paris, 15 February 2019 .

About the DIM

About our projet

The DIM « Matériaux anciens et patrimoniaux » (MAP) is a region-wide research network. Its singularity relies on a close collaboration between human sciences, experimental sciences such as physics and chemistry, scientific ecology and information sciences, while integrating socio-economical partners from the cultural heritage environment. Based on its research, development and valorization potential, we expect such an interdisciplinary network to raise the Ile-de-France region up to a world-top position as far as heritage sciences and research on ancient materials are concerned.

What is a DIM ?

DIM, a field of major interest

Domaine d’intérêt majeur (DIM) is a research network, financed by the Île-de-France region for 4 years. The allocated fund is redistributed to the members of the network, based on calls for proposals. It finances PhD grants, post-doctorate researches, workshops, equipments, etc.

The DIM label is meant to increase the scientific standing of the research institutions from Île-de-France, by supporting structuring projects and disruptive innovations in very specific fields.

In the 2017-2020 period, following a scientific expertise process, the regional scientific board decided to select 9 DIM projects. The selected projects were attributed a DIM label by the Region Council of île-de-France on 15 December 2016.