On October 14-19, 1990, the 6th International Conference on the Conservation of Earthen Architecture was held in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Sponsored by the GCI, the Museum of New Mexico State Monuments, ICCROM, CRATerre-EAG, and the National Park Service, under the aegis of US/ICOMOS, the event was organized to promote the exchange of ideas, techniques, and research findings on the conservation of earthen architecture.
The conference in Las Cruces was the most comprehensive on the subject ever held, and the most widely attended since this series of international meetings began in 1972. Approximately 300 delegates from over thirty countries participated.
The purpose of this meeting, like those that preceded it, was to promote efforts aimed at preserving historic and archaeological earthen architectural sites. Around the world these sites are threatened by development, tourism, and human neglect.
Presentations at the conference covered a diversity of subjects, including the historic traditions of earthen architecture, conservation and restoration, site preservation, studies in consolidation and seismic mitigation, and examinations of moisture problems, clay chemistry, and microstructures. In discussions that focused on the future, the application of modern technologies and materials to site conservation was urged, as was using scientific knowledge of existing structures in the creation of new, low-cost, earthen architecture housing.
Conference participants had the opportunity to visit Fort Selden, a U.S. military post abandoned in 1891, and now the site of a GCI field project conducted in collaboration with the Museum of New Mexico State Monuments. The project, begun in 1987, is assessing the effectiveness of modern chemical consolidants on adobe, as well as studying other protective measures.
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