Attention first turned to the conservation of the world’s earthen heritage towards the end of the 1960s, following a few archaeological campaigns in the Middle East (Iraq). Starting in 1972, the topic became the subject of special academic conferences spearheaded by Piero Gazzola, the first president of ICOMOS. Today, a fresh reading of the Proceedings and Resolutions resulting from the international meetings over a fifty-year period allows us to ‘take stock’ of the current situation and, in particular, compare the theoretical premises with the actual work that has been done. Through these documents and the rich body of published research that they inspired, a considerable corpus of in-depth (increasingly geographically broad) information about earthen heritage emerges to which the development of theoretical reflections on the topic and coherent conservation practices do not always correspond. Since historical earthen architecture constitutes a considerable part of the Cultural Heritage identified by UNESCO (around 15% of the World Heritage List)1, conservation of this evidence cannot neglect the essential aspects for which it is recognised as “Heritage of Humanity”2. While recognising that the material out of which these works are made poses particularly complex conservation problems due to its perishable nature, this characteristic cannot justify total reconstruction or replacement activity that would jeopardise its authenticity and erase its history. Such practices are extraneous to the conservation of historical-cultural heritage. In the following, we shall trace the conceptual path marked out by the conferences over the years, with the aim of determining its topicality and identifying the criticalities entailed by the various developments, more or less in line with the original conservation premises.

Conservation of Earthen Architecture: an overview of International Guidelines and Resolutions

Bartolomucci
2021-01-01

Abstract

Attention first turned to the conservation of the world’s earthen heritage towards the end of the 1960s, following a few archaeological campaigns in the Middle East (Iraq). Starting in 1972, the topic became the subject of special academic conferences spearheaded by Piero Gazzola, the first president of ICOMOS. Today, a fresh reading of the Proceedings and Resolutions resulting from the international meetings over a fifty-year period allows us to ‘take stock’ of the current situation and, in particular, compare the theoretical premises with the actual work that has been done. Through these documents and the rich body of published research that they inspired, a considerable corpus of in-depth (increasingly geographically broad) information about earthen heritage emerges to which the development of theoretical reflections on the topic and coherent conservation practices do not always correspond. Since historical earthen architecture constitutes a considerable part of the Cultural Heritage identified by UNESCO (around 15% of the World Heritage List)1, conservation of this evidence cannot neglect the essential aspects for which it is recognised as “Heritage of Humanity”2. While recognising that the material out of which these works are made poses particularly complex conservation problems due to its perishable nature, this characteristic cannot justify total reconstruction or replacement activity that would jeopardise its authenticity and erase its history. Such practices are extraneous to the conservation of historical-cultural heritage. In the following, we shall trace the conceptual path marked out by the conferences over the years, with the aim of determining its topicality and identifying the criticalities entailed by the various developments, more or less in line with the original conservation premises.
978-88-8080-470-3
978-88-8080-315-7
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/131761
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