Old buildings and particularly religious old buildings from each region are a part of their inhabitants’ identity and memory and they must be preserved as such, not only in their shape and colours but also in their structure, materials and functionality.

Alentejo’s religious buildings reflect undoubtedly the history and character of that region’s people. So, these buildings’ conservation requires a deep knowledge of their masonry’s and renders’ lime mortars, to evaluate correctly their state of conservation, to avoid progression of pathological situations and to plan efficient interventions, with substitution materials with similar characteristics.

The CATHEDRAL project (Characterisation and Conservation of Traditional and Historical Mortars from Alentejo’s Religious Buildings) co financed by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), with the reference POCI/HEC/57915/2004 is the result of a joint collaboration between the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering, the University of Evora, the Regional Direction of Alentejo’s Culture and the Sciences Faculty of University of Lisbon in order to study old mortars of the historic buildings in Alentejo. The exhaustive analysis of their present composition, using several techniques modernly available must be crossed with the historical knowledge about their execution techniques and with the study of their evolution along the time, to preview their present and future behaviour.