During May and June of 2001, GCI staff continued their work on the Maya site of Copán in Honduras, a project being conducted in partnership with the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia (IHAH). The focus of the work is the hieroglyphic stairway on the site, which features around 2,000 intricately carved Maya glyphs. The project team has already extensively surveyed the stairway—using stereophotograph and metric survey—to gather the precise data necessary to provide a condition evaluation, create a basis for site monitoring, and guide an intervention strategy.
The most recent work regarding Copán began with a meeting at the GCI to discuss possible treatment tests to be carried out in the GCI's scientific laboratories with respect to the conservation of the stone in the stairway. The campaign then continued at the site itself, where the project team installed site-monitoring equipment and prepared a condition assessment of the stone.
The team reviewed this assessment—and the previously completed condition survey—in order to evaluate the causes of decay of the stairway's carved stone. This evaluation resulted in a proposal for a campaign, which will take place in the fall, to test possible treatments. The proposal included a selection of specific areas of the stairway to be treated during the test campaign and an identification of the materials, based on suitability and local availability, to be used for the conservation treatments that will take place during the test phase.
The work at Copán is part of the GCI's Maya Initiative, which seeks to advance regional conservation practice and collaboration among the countries of the area.