However, despite its significance and value, in 2017 staff at ICCROM determined that the Mora sample collection was in urgent need of attention to safeguard its physical assets and associated information. The first and most important step to undertake was to compile a detailed inventory of the sample collection, as a basic means for protecting against loss, and highlighting its significance. In response to an international call for proposals launched by ICCROM, the HERCULES laboratoryfrom Évora University - Portugal was selected to undertake this task.
The Mora sample collection project is the result of a close collaboration between ICCROM and HERCULES laboratory, which began in 2018. The project’s overall objective was to systematically record and describe all the samples, to re-organize, re-house, and create a digital collection catalogue for conservation and research purposes. Three main goals of the project were:
1)DOCUMENT the collection by gathering all available associated information, systematically photographing and compiling an individual documentary record of every sample;
2) SAFEGUARD the collection through undertaking a diagnostic survey of all samples to assess their condition and conservation needs, and to re-organise and re-house the entire collection. The information gathered during this step will also form the basis for development of the future conservation strategy and protocols governing access to the collection;
3) SHARE the collection through the creation of an open access digital collection catalogue available via ICCROM’s website.
The first phase of the project was carried out between January 2018 and November 2019 by a multi-disciplinary team led by Milene Gil of the HERCULES Laboratory. In December 2019 a second phase of the project was initiated in response to the discovery of a further 250 samples fragments belonging to the Mora collection that had been stored in another location in the ICCROM laboratory in Rome.