Project Objectives
This project sought to analyze the GCI's experiences in conservation management planning, identify prevailing needs in the field of heritage management, and develop potential ways in which the GCI can address existing gaps in the field.

symposium panel

Project Overview
The Getty Conservation Institute has been involved in conservation management planning for the last two decades, as evidenced by the Institute's involvement in a series of activities—from courses in Paphos, to its Maya Initiative, to projects in Tunisia and Iraq.

Between 1999 and 2002, the GCI worked with the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y la Arte (Concultura) in El Salvador to implement a value-driven and participatory site management process for the Maya archaeological site of Joya de Cerén to address the complex natural and social conditions related to the site's conservation.

The results and lessons learned during the implementation of this process at Joya de Cerén evolved into a project to review similar GCI work in which a value-driven and participatory management process has been put into practice. The main aims of the evaluation were to:

  • assess the effectiveness of the planning process and its implementation
  • recognize prevailing needs in the field of heritage management
  • identify potential ways in which the GCI can address existing gaps in the field
  • enhance and advance current practices

Four GCI projects involving conservation management planning were selected for analysis:

Rock Art of Baja California
Maya Initiative: Joya de Cerén
China Principles
Valley of the Queens

Through internal project reports and interviews with GCI project personnel, the evaluation process sought to address a series of questions relating to the results and impacts of the projects, including the projects' successes and failures, as well as the lessons learned and the derived by-products of these initiatives.

Research was conducted to highlight contextual differences between projects (such as the nature of the site, or social/political context) and to summarize project specific data, so that comparisons could be made among projects to illustrate diverse approaches to heritage conservation and management, as well as to recognize where difficulties lay in the management planning process.

A document analyzing the experience at Joya de Cerén was completed: Conservation Management Planning: Putting Theory into Practice. The Case of Joya de Cerén, El Salvador. It illustrates the flexibility of the method used and critically reflects on the limitations and challenges faced throughout implementation of the planning process. Through examination of lessons learned, the document highlights key matters to consider for implementing a sustainable and successful management planning effort. This document is available for download.

To share its experiences in management planning in the Maya region, in 2008 the GCI presented the conference panel "Archaeological Sites in the Maya Area: A Conservation Challenge" at the XXII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas in Guatemala City, organized by the Asociación Tikal. The panel sought to present relevant conservation and planning initiatives currently in place in the region and to share experiences among heritage professionals. The panel focused on the following themes:

  • Integration of archaeological research and conservation
  • Conservation of archaeological materials: methodological approaches, interventions and alternative measures (shelters, reburial, etc.)
  • Site management: challenges in reconciling values, attaining sustainability and balancing conservation and presentation

Individual presentations, and a summary of the discussions resulting from the panel, are available for download in their original Spanish-language form in the publication: Sitios Arqueológicos en el Area Maya: Un reto para la conservación. Abstracts of the presentations are available in the English version of the publication: Archaeological Sites in the Maya Area: A Conservation Challenge.

The GCI conducted its research on site management to better understand the ways the conservation management planning process is perceived around the world and to aid the GCI in adapting its current practices to promote success in different contexts.

Specific issues addressed include

  • Challenges in the development of management plans around the world, how those challenges have been resolved, and lessons that can be applied to other projects;
  • Outlining factors that have influenced success in different areas of the world;
  • Situations in which people have tried to apply the site management model promoted by the GCI and have effectively adapted it to their particular context;
  • Ways of making the process more flexible and examining patterns concerning the responsiveness of the process

Page updated: February 2014