Following to the tragedy that occurred on April 15, 2019 at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, where the roof was destroyed by a fire, the CNRS has appointed Martine Regert, Scientific Assistant Director at the Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) of the CNRS, and Philippe Dillmann, Research Director at the Archaeomaterials Research Institute(1) and researcher at the Archaeomaterials and alteration prediction laboratory(2) at CEA Saclay, to coordinate a "CNRS Notre-Dame worksite".
Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, built almost a thousand years ago, is an extraordinary source of study and information for French researchers. After its partial destruction by fire and the announcement of its reconstruction, the research community was massively involved and many research topics concerning the building were initiated. It is in this context that the "CNRS Notre-Dame worksite", led by Martine Regert, Scientific Assistant Director at the Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) of the CNRS, and Philippe Dillmann, researcher at the Archaeomaterials and alteration prediction laboratory (LAPA), takes place. This project aims to coordinate the work of research teams in collaboration with ministries, institutions and other entities.
The work consists first of all in avoiding any scientific loss. Calcined and less deteriorated debris are kept and recorded for future analysis. Through the three-dimensional mapping of the disaster area, digital tools provide researchers who do not have access to the cathedral for security reasons with information crucial to their research.
In a second step, attention will turn to the work already carried out on this building: due to the age of the roof and its conservation, many studies were undertaken before its destruction. An important bibliographical work will have to be done in order to gather all the published data. Scientific meetings will facilitate the networking of the various researchers and the identification of the studies.
The research work will begin in a third phase, once the research axes have matured sufficiently. The topics covered promise to be diverse and will include the study of organic materials, such as wood for carpentry, or non-organic materials, such as glass, metals such as lead, and stone. The data collected on the characteristics of the building's compounds will help in the selection of materials for the reconstruction of the building.
Research in humanities and social sciences will complete the project in order to assess, from an anthropological point of view, the population's feelings towards this disaster and its consequences.
(1) IRAMAT - CNRS/Université de technologie Belfort-Montbéliard/Université Orléans/Université Bordeaux Montaigne.
(2) LAPA (NIMBE - CEA/CNRS).