The Getty Conservation Institute and Instituto Hondureño de Antropolicía e Historia
2006
186 pages

Downloadable in seven sections.



La Escalinata Jeroglífica de Copán, Honduras
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As part of the Maya Initiative, the GCI has been collaborated with the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia (IHAH) on a project to establish a long-term conservation strategy for the Hieroglyphic Stairway at the Maya site of Copán in Honduras, in order to ensure the stairway's preservation for future generations.

In recent decades, the deterioration of the hieroglyphs on the stair risers has been a major concern for scholars, conservation specialists, and IHAH because it impacts the ability to read the carved stone text. The inscription, executed in the eighth century, is the longest known text from ancient Mesoamerica and provides a unique historical account of four centuries of the Copán dynasty.

The Hieroglyphic Stairway of Copán, Hondouras: Study Results and Conservation Proposals presents the project's findings in three major areas of study conducted by scientists and conservators: archival research; laboratory analysis of biological specimens and samples of stone and mortar; and environmental monitoring at the site. In addition, the condition assessment and treatment trials carried out on the stairway were the basis for proposed short- and long-term conservation and maintenance programs.

The report also proposes improvements to the stairway shelter and the designation of a guard assigned to the stairway to prevent access at all times. These proposals include both preventive measures, which mitigate the factors contributing to the deterioration or loss of the stone, and direct remedial repairs to stabilize damaged and deteriorated areas, both now and in the future, following scheduled inspections and monitoring and recording of conditions.

Such a maintenance program of inspection, followed by repair as needed, requires trained personnel to carry it out regularly. The GCI project at Copán involved several local conservation personnel and training in photographic monitoring, but at present the site does not employ sufficient site conservation personnel to address maintenance needs. The training of maintenance technicians in the use of lime mortars for stabilizing stone surfaces and masonry–and in performing basic recording techniques–represents both the best short-term and most sustainable long-term solution to conserving the stairway and other monuments at Copán.

Introduction. Pages i-10. (PDF, 25pp., 2.7MB)
Conservation History. Pages 11-34. (PDF, 24pp., 4.6MB)
Assessment of Current Conditions. Pages 35-78. (PDF, 44pp., 6.7MB)
Proposals for Future Conservation Actions. Pages 79-108. (PDF, 30pp., 5.8MB)
Appendixes A, B, C, D, E. Pages 109-130. (PDF, 22pp., 4.5MB)
Appendixes F, G, H. Pages 131-152. (PDF, 22pp., 4.3MB)
References, Bibliography, Text and Image Credits. Pages 153-161. (PDF, 19pp., 452KB)

How to Cite this Work
Getty Conservation Institute, and Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia. 2006. The Hieroglyphic Stairway of Copán, Honduras: Study Results and Conservation Proposals: A Project Report. Los Angeles, CA; Tegucigalpa: Getty Conservation Institute; Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/gci_pubs/copan_english

How to Cite this Work (Spanish)
Getty Conservation Institute, and Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia. 2006. La escalinata jeroglífica de Copán, Honduras resultados de los estudios y propuestas de conservación: Informe del proyecto. Los Angeles, CA; Tegucigalpa: Getty Conservation Institute; Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/gci_pubs/copan_spanish