Manual Básico de Conservación para las Misiones Jesuíticas Guaraníes

As a result of a WMF technical mission involving international experts in archaeology, history, architectural preservation, environmental conservation, and site and tourism management carried out in 2002, the governments of Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay and Uruguay agreed to the establishment of a Training, Conservation, Management, and Sustainable Development Program for the Jesuit Guarani Missions in these countries. This Program aimed to train local administrators in conservation, documentation, management and tourism development for these sites. With the support of WMF, and the World Heritage Center of UNESCO, as well as public and private organizations of each country, the program started in 2003 and ended in 2007.

Apart from various multidisciplinary workshops, the Program held three courses focused on the conservation of the architectural heritage of these sites. The material prepared for these courses resulted in the present basic conservation manual focused specifically on the Jesuit Guarani Missions in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The volume has nine chapters that address different topics such as: theoretical issues; a guide to the documentation procedures for architectural heritage; the nature of the materials found in these Missions; the deterioration factors to which they are susceptible; bio-colonization problems encountered; a brief review of conservation treatments; an introduction to lime and mortars; the importance of conserving original mortars and matching replacement mortars to them; and, accident prevention during conservation interventions in architectural heritage. To end, some conclusions are drawn regarding the most important points that have to be kept in mind during these interventions. A bibliography of reference works is included, and a Spanish-Portuguese double entry lexicon of technical terms closes the volume. Moreover, a CD is included that provides guidelines for different technical operations. These are included in either Spanish or Portuguese, and are divided intro three types of procedures:

  1. On site documentation procedures, such as dimensional and photographic survey, condition survey, and survey of separate blocks not included in the masonry.
  2. On site methodologies for determining water absorption, soluble salt extraction, removal of thin acrylic coatings, elimination of surface biocolonization, eradication of higher vegetation, and consolidation of ceramic tiles.
  3. Laboratory procedures for the determination of water absorption, porosity and drying curves; of the presence of carbonates and gypsum in efflorescences; of the presence of chlorides and sulfates via spot tests or ion-selective strips; a simplified mortar analysis for historic mortars; and the determination of a granulometric curve for mortar aggregates.

It was the aim to provide a basic introduction to the different topics that were found to be the most relevant for the conservation of the architectural heritage of the Jesuit Guaraní Missions in the area shared by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay  

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