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Bringing back olfactory cultural heritage

By Naiara Álvaro

When we think about cultural heritage we tend to picture things that we can see. However, a new project of the European Union called Odeuropa aims to bring back smells and fragrances of the past. A group of researchers formed by historians, linguists, computer technicians, etc. will analyse how scents were portrayed and try to replicate them. They will also create an Encyclopedia where all the smells will be explained.

Nevertheless, there are some issues that the study is working with, for example, the fact that smells change. Moreover, people’s perception of them also changes with time, because something that might seem luxurious in the past may cause repulsion in today’s society.

The leader of the project, Inger Leemans, believes that we have little knowledge about our sensorial past and that it is relevant to study it to help visualize our history and traditions. Some of the scents they are trying to categorize are resins, used for incense burning in various religious practices.

If you would like to know more, check the following video by the EFE agency:

Image: XL Semanal

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