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Conservation in Earthen Heritage: Assessment and Significance of Failure, Criteria, Conservation Theory, and Strategies

Worldwide, there is a vast but fragile earthen heritage that is barely surviving due to serious damage of the fabric. It is generally believed that natural agents are the overall cause for the decay of earthen heritage. However, when thoroughly evaluating, it can be observed that conservators’ interventions have a major impact, which leads to question current approaches to conservation and the reasons why intervention mistakes are repeated and why successful conservation results are still scarce.

The research methodology of this investigation is based in a case study strategy analysing three World Heritage earthen sites, namely Chan Chan in Peru, Aït Ben Haddou in Morocco and Arg-e Bam in Iran. A combination of sources was also used, following a multi-method approach.

This book suggests implementing standards for high quality intervention through the definition of criteria for decision-making and indicators of quality and best practice, as well as clarification concerning procedures in the methodology of intervention. It also stresses the importance of conservation theory in earthen heritage conservation, combining theory and practice. In addition, the book recommends an overall strategy in the conservation of earthen heritage, with particular emphasis on an approach that integrates education, awareness, research and preventive conservation.


Mariana Correia received a PhD in Heritage Conservation from Oxford Brookes University, UK, an Earthen Architecture Master’s Diploma from CRAterre-ENSAG, France, and an Architecture diploma from FAUL, Portugal. She is the President of Escola Superior Gallaecia, the Director of CI-ESG Research Centre, and a teacher of History and Theory of Conservation-Restoration at ESG. She is an International Consultant for ICOMOS for the assessment of World Heritage Sites; Steering Committee Member of WHEAP-UNESCO (2012–2015); ICOMOS-ISCEAH and ICOMOS-CIAV expert; Peer Review Committee member of the Seismic Retrofitting Project (SRP) from The Getty Conservation Institute; President of the Steering Committee of the Earthen Architecture Centre of Mopti, Mali, from the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Portuguese Foundation Convento da Orada and the Spanish Foundation Antonio Font de Bedoya; a UNESCO Chair – Earthen Architecture Scientific Committee member and a coordination council member of the Iberian-American PROTERRA Network. She has authored and edited 17 books in the fields of conservation, earthen architecture, vernacular heritage and sustainability.

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ISBN: 1-4438-8605-X

ISBN13: 978-1-4438-8605-5

Release Date: 19th February 2016

Pages: 468

Price: £57.99

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