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Tru Vue blog: 20th Stone Conservation ICCROM Course

Earlier this year, Claudia Fiocchetti ACR was able to attend the 20th International course organised by ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) in collaboration with Inah (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) in Mexico City and Chicanna’-Campeche thanks to a Tru Vue grant.

I am extremely happy to have been able to attend this course as it exceeded my expectations. It was absolutely very helpful, incredibly well organised and has enriched my knowledge and experience hugely.

The course was scheduled in 8 modules, 4 modules in Mexico City and 4 in Chicanna’. In Mexico City the course was held at the INAH Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC) in Churubusco where we attended very intense activities, mainly national and international lectures delivered by experts.


SC17 course group visiting the National Museum Anthropology Mexico City (photo credit: Valerie Magar)

The lectures topics given in the first month in Mexico City of the course ranged from from Historical introduction to Mexico and its architectural heritage, Constructive systems/architecture, Geology, Management and people centred approaches, Conservation philosophy, Architectural surfaces, Change and its impact, Types of decay: causes and symptoms, Mechanisms of decay identification, Salts – sources, formation and effects, Biological interaction with heritage, Biological treatments, Past and current treatments, Cleaning and desalination, Introduction to emergency stabilisation, Inorganic consolidation methods and materials, Protective treatments: why and how, Maintenance and Monitoring. In addition to the lectures, we took part in practical sessions and we had the opportunity to visit important museums and sites, where we had the chance to interact with heritage professionals.


Claudia Fiocchetti and other participants during the thermo camera demonstration at Science UNAM Physics Institute - Mexico City (photo credit: Valerie Magar)

The second part of the course (5 weeks) was held at the Mayan archaeological site of Chicanna’, in Campeche state. The training in Chicanna’ focused much more on field tests and research on: OVO (Organised Visual Observation) method, Documentation (Guiding principles, Tools and techniques, Processing data, Field exercise and attendants presentation), Diagnostic (Field tests and diagnostic techniques, Field tests and analytical techniques, Preparation and presentation of the collected data). Then there were lectures and practical sessions on Conservation Treatments: Cleaning and biocide treatment, Stabilisation/consolidation micro application and use, Lime: What is it?, Lime: How is it used?, Lime Conservation mortars – performance, Characterising mortars, Mixing and Applying Mortars. The participants were divided in group and it was assigned to each group a portion of Chicanna’ Structure I and III.

Each group had to prepare a treatment proposal and then after discussion with the teacher panel the attendants could undertake the practical conservation work for the last 10 days of the course. On the last days each group presented the final report of the work undertaken.


Claudia Fiocchetti and other participants during the mortar analysis exercise in the classroom in Chicanna Campeche (Mexico) (photo credit: Valerie Magar)

I found the course very well organised and planned. In particular, I found the module on Documentation extremely interesting for my activity especially for some useful 3D softwares we learnt to use. In addition to that, I found very interesting lectures on new studies for treatments (essential oil applications) for bio-colonisation affecting stone artefacts and buildings; I am following the developments of those studies and looking forward to have occasion to experiment more with them. Other modules weren’t completely new for me, but it was absolutely didactic the way in which they were presented and they way they head towards the field practice. This made Claudia Fiocchetti ACR Wall Paintings and Stone Conservation Page 2 of 2 me to reflect on my past experience and on more comprehensive approach I am going to have from now on any conservation project. Before this course, I had experience of working in archaeological sites, but the jungle environment was new for me and it gave me a new prospective and for sure it has broadened my knowledge.

I am still working as a freelance and I am taking any occasion to update colleagues on my experience and I am going to write a small article to sum up the benefits of this course on the Icon News. During the course, I posted regular updates on the activities of the SC17 course on the News section of my website.


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