As part of the “Stunde Null” project the colloquium “Guidelines on Safeguarding the Cultural Significance of Urban Structures Damaged by Armed Conflict” took place from 30 June to 2 July 2016 at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg. On this occasion international experts discussed recommended actions for a sensitive management of war-damaged historic cities. Not only is direct destruction during the war a tremendous challenge for cultural preservation, but clearing work, the removal of debris and reconstruction in historic cities often also bring additional waves of destruction. The experiences amassed in Europe after World War II have shown the following: historic structure, still present beneath the debris, as well as subterranean features and archaeological remains were often subject to large-scale destruction. The development of a “Toolkit for Safeguarding the Cultural Significance of Historic Urban Fabric Damaged in Armed Conflict” (The Cottbus Initiative) is planned as an extension to the colloquium.
The colloquium at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg was organised by Leo Schmidt and collaborators of the section heritage conservation. The participants were international heritage experts and representatives of relevant institutions such as ICOMOS, ICCROM, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, the German Archaeological Institute, ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives, Global Heritage Fund, the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, the Helwan University (Cairo) and the University of York.