In collaboration with Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) organized a forum for archaeologists and conservators to discuss the problems associated with conserving archaeological materials, with special regard for sites and those objects which remain in situ.

Experts from 10 countries gathered at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City to attend sessions on site collaboration between archaeologists and conservators; preservation of sites through modification of the natural surroundings and environmental intervention; and problems associated with the preservation of archaeological patrimony in the developing world. Papers were also presented on the conservation of specific objects and materials—particularly textiles, leather, bone, wood, ceramics, painted surfaces, non-ferrous metals, and iron, gold, and silver. Recent advances in Mexico for the on-site conservation of stucco were reviewed. Lifting, molding, and casting techniques were also considered, with special attention to the recovery of information where only the impressions of an object remain, and to specialized evacuation and conservation measures for cold and frozen sites.

During the course of the conference, a number of areas were proposed for additional research. Among these were the conservation of mud brick, adobe and mud plaster, as well as problems associated with the protection of rock art sites and in situ conservation in tropical climates. Other suggestions included the development of a manual for field archaeology integrating in situ conservation, the dissemination of information about materials that may be used on-site, and a listing of laboratory equipment required in field work.

The program encompassed 21 professional papers, open discussions of major issues and technical visits to archaeological sites. The location of the meeting provided participants the opportunity to meet with specialists who were involved in the excavation of the Templo Mayor, and to visit this remarkable example of large-scale in situ archaeological conservation. Participants also visited Teotihuacan and Cacaxtla—each representing a different approach to in situ conservation—as well as the Centro Nacional de Conservacion y Restauracion at the Exconvento de Churubusco.

Following the conference, the GCI published the proceedings, In Situ Archaeological Conservation. While the English edition of the proceedings is now out of print, the Spanish-language edition remains available from Getty publications.