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  Test sample. A sample produced to replicate earthen finishes found at Mesa Verde National Park with a thicker plaster layer covered by very thin wash layer. The sample will be treated with various ethyl silicates and subjected to tests to assess the performance of the consolidants. Photo: Amila Ferron

Earthen Architecture Initiative

The GCI has a long history of contributing to collaborative efforts to advance the study and conservation of earthen architecture through training, research, planning and implementation, and advocacy. Activities that are part of its current Earthen Architecture Initiative include development and dissemination of seismic retrofit measures, analysis of noninvasive structural grouting of seismically induced cracks, and assessing consolidants for earthen finishes.

The initiative also organizes strategic regional efforts to identify areas for project research and implementation. A 2009 experts workshop, convened by the GCI in Sardinia, focused on challenges facing the conservation and management of earthen sites, and on earthen architecture for sustainable development. The final report is available.

P U B L I C A T I O N S   A N D   V I D E O

Proceedings of the Getty Seismic Adobe Project 2006 Colloquium

As part of the Earthen Architecture Initiative, in 2006 the GCI hosted the Getty Seismic Adobe Project Colloquium, which brought together professionals with expertise in conservation, seismic retrofitting methods, and building codes and standards. The colloquium was a forum for discussion of key issues and identification of further research needed to preserve earthen cultural heritage in seismic regions while ensuring safety.

Access the proceedings online.

Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient Historic Metals

By David A. Scott

Now available as a free PDF.

This book provides an introduction to the structure and morphology of ancient and historic metallic materials. It deals extensively with many practical matters relating to the mounting, preparation, etching, polishing, and microscopy of metallic samples, and includes an account of the way in which phase diagrams can be used to assist structural interpretation.

Access this publication online.

The Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant Materials

By Mary-Lou E. Florian, Dale Paul Kronkright, and Ruth E. Norton

Now available as a free PDF.

This teaching guide covers the identification, deterioration, and conservation of artifacts made from plant materials.

Access this publication online.

Thin-Layer Chromatography for Binding Media Analysis

By Mary Striegel and Jo Hill

Now availble as a free PDF.

This volume consists of a handbook and protocols. The handbook serves as a primer for the basic application of thin-layer chromatography to the analysis of coatings, binders, and adhesives found on cultural objects. The protocols provide step-by-step instructions for procedures involved in typical analyses.

Access this publication online.

Video of Panel Discussion
Art as Evidence: The Scientific Investigation of Works of Art

On December 4, 2009, moderator David Bomford, associate director for collections at the Getty Museum, and a panel of experts, including conservators and scientists, discussed the impact of scientific analysis on how we understand, interpret, and care for art.

Watch the video online.

Resubscribe to the GCI Newsletter

Attention! If you are a subscriber to the GCI's print publication Conservation Perspectives: The GCI Newsletter and have not yet renewed your free subscription, please take two minutes and renew online at If you do not renew now, you will not receive future issues! If you are not currently a subscriber but would like to be, you can subscribe for free at the same online address.

Recently Acquired Titles

Recently acquired titles in the Conservation Collection in the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute are available to readers on site at the Getty Center. Some materials are available through your library's interlibrary loan service.

Access the list of titles from the GCI Information Center page.


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GCI Mission Statement
The Getty Conservation Institute works to advance conservation practice in the visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. It serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the broad dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the Conservation Institute focuses on the creation and dissemination of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage.

About the GCI Bulletin
The GCI Bulletin is published electronically six times a year to keep partners and supporters up-to-date with GCI programs and activities.