Project Results

The project had 4 main objectives, all with several (joint) actions that were performed by the PORTICO partnership:


Cultural history represents a competitive advantage for cities and towns in NWE. To exploit these potentials to the full, in situ preservation of cultural heritage and archaeology should go hand in hand with economic development and the creation of profit zones.

The Portico partners jointly studied a number of technical issues related to building in, on and around archaeological heritage, and making this heritage accessible. Studies included:

-Ultra-light building techniques: building on top of archaeological remains, protecting the vulnerable sites and keeping the underground intact.
-Climate and light: to make very ancient archaeologically vulnerable objects from Roman and medieval times accessible to the public. with optimal climatological solutions.

The Community of Practice on Knowledge jointly developed Terms of Reference for the studies. It also and included work sessions, site visits, focused discussions and exchange between experts and professionals from different organisations (pubic bodies and knowledge institutes). Please click here for the results of the PORTICO studies. In addition to the studies, the solutions for archaeologically friendly building techniques were tested in investments in 3 partner cities:

- An "archaeologically friendly" constructed pavilion in Utrecht’s newly built district Leidsche Rijn, reconstructing a former Roman fortress (opening in Q2 2015)
- An underground visiting center at the Domplein square in the city center, showing the cities’ Roman and mediaeval archaeology, including the (ongoing) monitoring of the influence of climate and light on archaeological profiles (launched June 2014)

Chester has made Towers on Chester City Walls, previously closed to the public for over 25 years, accessible again:
- structural repair of King Charles Tower by way of designed ‘space frame’ and using nano lime technology to consolidate the fragile red sandstone phoenix panel (dated 1613) at King Charles Tower;
- First UK use of Ductal to form the roof canopy over the Roodee Interpretation Hub – now known as The Wing over the Roodee.

- Ultra-light reconstructed synagogue on top of ancient remains – including sustainable preservation and accessibility of subsurface archaeological remains
- Reconstruction of the entrance of the Ubian Monument


One of the attractions of visiting historic cities is the experience to actually feel the past and get in touch with past generations. Challenge is to offer such an experience – based on a combination of the really old, authentic and preserved heritage and virtual ‘real life’ impressions of life in the city in former times. Portico partners wanted to invest in the development of techniques which allow to “travel in time”, through the past and future of NWE. Joint results included “Ave Civitas” and the development of, a digital platform in which professionals in the field of heritage interpretation and communication share their sources of inspiration. The partners experimented with the latest technical solutions. This resulted in tailor-made ‘time-travel’ experiences in each partner city:

-An integrated presentation of the archaeological heritage of Utrecht’s newly built district  Leidsche Rijn (including the presentation of an excavated Roman ship) in Castellum de Hoge Woerd, which enables visitors to experience the relation between man and landscape through time.
- ‘Virtual Domplein’ created 7 time layers of 2000 years of history of the Dom square for the existing visitor center and the new visitor center DOMunder. It brings history alive by allowing visitors/users to travel in time and visit for example the Roman period or the early medieval period on the Dom Square. People can 'walk around' the square and visit Roman barracks, Medieval churches, and meet people who once lived on the Dom square and witness the destruction of the church nave. Detailed knowledge of the Dom square is transformed into a virtual world, which is accessible in stand alone situations (visitor centre, subsurface areas), via the internet and an IPad app.

- Four views of Ghent have been digitalized, enabling you to travel through time and the evolving city. Ingenious multimedia techniques plunge you into history and whisk you off on an exciting journey packed with images and information.
- Multi-touch tables: Museum STAM has invested in new technologies for the period from 1950 to the present day. Image databanks enable visitors to view the collection in a natural and intuitive manner, using their hands to touch, drag, enlarge and reduce content. The technology is so user-friendly that no computer experience is required.  
- Coin trail visualising part of the medieval trade route from Bruges to Cologne or (mobile website).

- Development of a Guidebook, available for sale in the Visitor’s Centres and Book stores in Chester.
- Walls Quest App has been launched and is available to download from the Apple or Android Shop. The App is useable even if you are not walking around the Chester’s Walls. and can be uploaded on smartphones or tablets. The App is called Walls Quest.  
- The website has gone live, which provides information on the project, the Walls Quest App, Guide book etc.
- Lave stone heritage interpretation panels installed around the walls and towers.  
- Digital binoculars for visitors to experience ‘time travel’ for 3 periods of history
- 3 Time capsules with information on Portico, and some items have been placed in Morgan’s Mount, walk way of Kings Charles Tower and Newgate Bridge.

- Digital 3-D-reconstruction of Synagogue at entrance of Archaeological Zone
- Earth quake simulation Praetorium


Portico aimed to strengthen the reciprocity between urban heritage and urban development in social, economic and spatial terms. For the Portico partners, the development and protection of cultural heritage was part of more encompassing regional and urban development strategies. The historic city is a stage for the public and businesses, offers quality of life (which attracts talent), a place to meet, to debate and to inspire. Joint actions of the partners aimed to pinpoint the reciprocity and find ways to strengthen it. They included:

- Joint development of new techniques and collaboration with unconventional partnerships, including public bodies, private partners and knowledge institutes – thus strengthening local clusters. Unconventional partnerships can be very effective to generate the required urban dynamics. By offering inspiring examples, PORTICO wanted to stimulate the creation of such partnerships.
- A study to the impact of cultural history on economic development presented information on the added value of history;
- To stimulate the application of knowledge on other locations, ‘classes of masters’ on archaeology minded spatial development were organized, resulting in a Code of Practice;
- Finding new ways to generate spin-off of investments in cultural history and involving local target groups across the partner cities, particularly youth. In a ‘Students’ Challenge’, teams of students from the PORTICO partner cities were challenged to develop business plans that would enhance the social, spatial and economic spin off of cultural heritage within the cities. The result is available here.


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