(Italian Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory, Florence, Italy)

Keywords: Immersive exhibition, Digitization, Archives, African rock art

Paper is fragile, but so is rock. The Italian Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory (IIPP) choose to take fragility as the main theme to communicate the heritage of the Institute, more specifically that of the photographic archive which conserves evidence of one of the most ancient human heritage at risk of disappearing, forever. The IIPP archive consists predominantly of the images and films related to Prehistory, produced by its founder Paolo Graziosi between the 1930s and 1970s, during several missions he carried out to study the rock art of the Horn of Africa and Libya, especially in the “Rock-Art sites of Tradart Acacus”, which has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1985 and in the “World Heritage in Danger” list since July 2016.
The digitization project has given rise to the exhibition “The Fragility of the Sign. African Rock Art in the Archives of the Italian Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory”. The exhibition aims at protecting the photographic archive left to the Institute by its founder, and to make it accessible to the greater public.
Through an immersive itinerary, it was possible to make known some of the most ancient and extraordinary examples of human artistic expression, situated in places that are currently inaccessible as a result of domestic and international conflicts.
Explain the relevance for the conference in one sentence:
Share an experience of public archeology carried out through the use of visual and immersive technologies

Relevance for the session: Discuss and share a strategy of study, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage located in war zones
Innovation: The concept of fragility, as a weakness of our archives and of human heritage, but also as a key to open public consciences.