The Lithos Project, spanning over a twenty-four month period started in May 2011 and ended in July 2013, was part funded through the cooperation cross border Operational Programme, Italia Malta 2007 as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project was born with the objective of establishing an international research centre, specializing in stereotomy and stone construction.
The ‘Provincia Regionale di Ragusa’ was the Leader Partner of this project while Heritage Malta, together with the ‘Centro Regionale per la Progettazione e il Restauro‘ and l’Universita degli studi di Palermo were Project Partners in this Project. Sicily and Malta, with their architectural and artistic heritage retain common aspects and share various important similarities. These shared similarities are well evident in both the atmospheric and environmental conditions and also in the construction materials. During the period of this project, studies regarding these similarities were carried out. A study of local historic buildings with a focus on stereotomy was conducted, and throughout the study, Maltese craftsmanship was compared with that of the Sicilian counterparts. These studies can provide important information for the rediscovery of the ancient tradition which can be applied to new construction. Moreover, such studies permit the exchange of conservation and restoration methods between both Malta and Sicily.
As part of the Lithos Project, Heritage Malta worked on the conservation and restoration on one of the facades of the Inquisitor’s Palace in Vittoriosa as a case study.
Thanks to the Lithos Project, Heritage Malta invested in a variety of modern conservation equipment, tools and technical know-how. Heritage Malta mastri, conservators, and the apprentices currently following vocational training in Masonry Heritage Skills are now being exposed to the use of this equipment and have the opportunity to carry out their work with greater ease and efficiency and at the same time respecting conservation principles.
In order to widen the benefits of the Lithos project two formation courses were organized for the Maltese Partners in Sicily. These courses consisted in an academic and a practice stage for the Mastri and apprentices, who at the moment are carrying out their work experience with Heritage Malta. The Maltese participants had a first-hand experience in a restoration site abroad. Moreover the participants were able to acquire a wider knowledge on the history of architecture and stereotomy.