The Getty Conservation Institute collaborated with the United States National Park Service (NPS) to investigate, develop, and field test, on a limited scale, protective strategies for preserving archaeological sites with standing architectural remains. Field work took place at the one-thousand-year-old Anasazi site at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

The project was based on the use of backfilling as a protective measure that is flexible and easily reversible, one that reduces maintenance while permitting visitation and interpretation of the site. The GCI-NPS team also developed experimental strategies to protect walls from snow melt and to confront problems posed by partial backfilling. Using the lessons learned from the backfilling and testing programs, the team implemented a backfilling procedure for partial reburial of the ruins at Chetro Ketl in Chaco Canyon.

Related articles in Conservation, The GCI Newsletter

Getty Research Library

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Related Non-Getty Publications/Sites

  • Marguerite Halloway, "The Preservation of the Past," Scientific American, 272, no. 5 (May, 1995): 78-81.
  • Katherine Dowdy and Michael Romero Taylor, "Investigations into the Benefits of Site Burial in the Preservation of Prehistoric Plasters in Archaeological Sites," in International Conference on the Study and Conservation of Earthen Architecture, 7th (1993): Silves, Portugal.
  • Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (NASA).
  • Chaco Culture National Historic Park (National Park Service).