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Avigail Appelbaum Charnov
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree Master of Science in Historic Preservation
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Columbia University (October 2007)
Abstract Title: Dust to Dust: A Comparative Look At the Methods Used to Preserve Eleven Earthen Sites in the United States and Mexico By: Avigail A. Charnov Advisor: Pamela Jerome
This thesis explores the question of what techniques work best in the conservation of historic, exposed earthen sites. In it, I take a comparative look at the methods used to preserve ten earthen sites in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The ten sites being examined are: Casa Grande, AZ; Coronado, NM; Dorgan House (Big Bend), TX; Fort Craig, NM; Fort Davis, TX; Fort Selden, NM; Fort Union, NM; Paquimé (Casas Grandes), Mexico; Pecos, NM; and Tumacacori, NM. The main categories of
conservation techniques and issues that are examined are protective coatings, capping and veneer application, wall foundations, drainage, wall braces and supports, vegetation, shelters, roofs, reconstructions, reburial. All sites are public, interpreted and have some level of active preservation maintenance. management is represented. Well over one hundred years of site
Table of Contents Chapter 1: Chapter 2: Chapter 3: Introduction The Sites -Site Histories and Descriptions Plasters and Industrial Chemicals -Exterior Plasters in History and Conservation -Unamended Plasters: Mud and Lime -Portland Cement Industrial chemicals Chemically Amended Plasters Surface Applied Treatments Chapter 4: Capping, Foundations, and Braces Capping Wall Foundations -Basal Deterioration -Drainage -Vegetation Wall Braces Chapter 5: Shelters and Roofs Sheltering Structures Roofs Chapter 6: Chapter 7: Figures Bibliography Backfilling, Reconstruction, and Replication Backfill Conclusion
List of Illustrations Figure 1. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument: Site photo. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 2. Casa Grande: Site map of compounds. (General Information Regarding Casa Grande Ruin, Arizona. United States Department of the Interior. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1913. 16-17.) Figure 3. Coronado State Monument: Site photo. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 4. Dorgan House, Big Bend National Park: Site photo. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 5. Dorgan House: 1950s after abandonment, prior to preservation work. (Castolon Historic District: Big Bend National Park, Texas. Division of Interpretation and Visitor Services, Big Bend National Park, Feb. 1997, 16.) Figure 6. Dorgan House: Fallen mud plaster has piled up against the wall base. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 7. Fort Craig National Historic Site: Site photo. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 8. Fort Davis National Historic Site: Site photo. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 9. Fort Selden State Monument: Site photo. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 10. Fort Selden: Trees planted on or near their historic locations to shield the historic walls from damage by windborne particles. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 11. Fort Union National Monument: Site photo. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 12. Fort Union: Photo of the Mechanic’s Corral, 1866. A typical example of the territorial style of adobe architecture used at the Fort. (<http://www.nps.gov/archive/foun/adhi/fig5.jpg> 5/20/07). Figure 13. Paquimé (Casas Grandes): Site photo. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 14. Pecos National Historical Park: Site photo. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 15. Tumacacori National Historical Park: Site photo. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 16. Tumacacori: Marks caused by water damage visible on the interior of the church building. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006).
Figure 17. Fort Selden: Walls constructed for the test wall project conducted on the site. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 18. Paquimé: Historic walls covered in multiple layers of new old adobe mud. The photo depicts deterioration of the protective earthen plaster. While the plaster should not be allowed to accumulate at the wall bases, the coating does not need to be reapplied immediately upon deterioration, as many layers must deteriorate before the historic material is reached. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 19. Example of the use of wall caps for the conservation of earthen walls at Pecos. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 20. Fort Union: Original brick cornices remaining on adobe walls. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 21. Fort Selden: Coving and undercutting is occurring to many of the wall bases at the Fort. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 22. Fort Selden: Deteriorated sections are removed before new adobes are placed in the wall bases. (Caperton, Thomas J. “Stabilization of Fort Selden’s Ruins.” Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Bulletin 22, No. 3 (1990): 32.) Figure 23. Fort Craig: Deterioration pattern to the earthen remains of the storehouse caused by rain and lack of a good drainage system. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 24. Fort Craig: Plants growing around the ruins. Vegetation on earthen sites should be planned and/or controlled. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 25. Pecos: Vegetation growing out of a historic wall. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 26. Fort Union: Wall braces. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 27. Fort Selden: Wall brace, more visually intrusive than those used at Fort Union. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006). Figure 28. Casa Grande: Ruins, prior to construction of the first shelter in 1902. (Photo from: <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/fig12.jpg> 5/20/07) Figure 29. Casa Grande: First site shelter, constructed in 1903. (Photo from: <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/fig14.jpg> 5/20/07 Figure 30. Casa Grande: Current shelter. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 31. Fort Davis: Concrete bond beam installed on top of the adobe walls causing damage to the historic material. (Photo by author, Jul. 2006).
Figure 32. Tumacacori: The deteriorated church building in 1886. (Photo from: <http://www.nps.gov/archive/tuma/Pres_Efft.html> 5/20/07 Figure 33. Coronado: Reconstructed room. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006). Figure 34. Coronado: Outlining of historic wall locations through the laying of adobe brick. (Photo by author, Aug. 2006).
Chapter 1: Introduction
Exposed earthen buildings pose tremendous problems for the architectural conservator. Although properly maintained earthen buildings can last indefinitely, as soon as the plaster wears off, the base erodes, or the roof fails, the building will begin to deteriorate at a rapid pace. The simple answer is to repair the base, re-plaster the walls, or rebuild the roof, but when it comes to archaeological ruins this is not always the most appropriate action to take as it may harm historic material. The following is a comparative study investigating techniques used for the conservation of exposed earthen sites in the archaeological context. Nine exposed earthen sites in the southwestern United States and one in northern Mexico will be looked at. They are: Casa Grande, AZ; Coronado, NM; Dorgan House (Big Bend), TX; Fort Craig, NM; Fort Davis, TX; Fort Selden, NM; Fort Union, NM; Paquimé (Casas Grandes), Mexico; Pecos, NM; and Tumacacori, NM. Of these ten sites, three are preColumbian, two are mission, four are frontier forts, and one is a ranch. Examination is made of the preservation steps taken, the conditions influencing the choices, and the effectiveness of the various methods, their problems, costs, drawbacks and benefits. A broad spectrum is covered, including plasters (exterior and interior), industrial chemicals, capping, wall foundations, drainage, and wall braces. In addition, the use of shelters, roofs, reconstruction, and reburial will be examined. The sites are administered by a number of organizations and a thank you goes to all of them. The Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS) including the Vanishing Treasures
(VT) Initiative, and the State of New Mexico have all contributed generously to the research undertaken in putting together this thesis.
Earthen Architecture Earth has been used for construction since humans first began to build. Earthen architecture is found on every continent and in most countries of the world. These buildings include some of our most treasured historical and world heritage sites such as Chan Chan, Tel Dan, the Sumerian Ziggurats, the Great Mosque of Djenne, parts of the Great Wall of China, and the ancient city of Jericho, as well as Casa Grande, Tumacacori and the other North American sites. Earth is an abundant and relatively inexpensive material. It is composed of locally available resources, mainly soil with some clay content and water; there is often a pool of local craftsmen familiar with construction techniques; and if maintained it can withstand weather, time, and even natural disasters.1 Once abandoned, an earthen building is extremely difficult to preserve. It will attempt to return to the earth at a rapid rate. Given these factors, abandoned historic adobe sites are often found in a state of such disrepair that less than 50% of each structure remains standing. There are three ways that water, the main cause of deterioration for most earthen structures, can penetrate a wall: through the top, the bottom, or the sides. The conservator’s first challenge is to prevent the entrance of excessive moisture, but realizing that some will inevitably enter, it is equally important to ensure that it can exit
Robert Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts: The Army, Adobe, and Preservation” Cultural Resource Management 22, No. 6 (1999): 55.
without causing harm. The consequences are laid out in “Preservation of Historic Adobe Structures-A Status Report”:
action of rain water on the top of walls resulting in the formation of deep fissures and cracks in the top and vertical surfaces of the walls, slow erosion of the vertical surfaces of walls, undercutting at the base of walls due to the action of saltcontaining ground water or of accumulated rain water.2
Methods, such as capping, can prevent rain water from entering through the top of the wall; the placement of adobe veneers and plasters can protect the sides of the wall; and drainage and re-grading can help stop moisture from rising up through the base. Site managers are faced with the challenge of balancing conservation and presentation, with the understanding that no choice is perfect. While reading the following analysis, bear in mind that the sites interpreted as standing ruins are just that, ruins, and it is impossible to keep a ruin from deteriorating further without changing its appearance, or its status as a ruin. The conservation of historic earthen ruins should perhaps be more appropriately thought of as extending the process of decay over time, rather than suspending or preventing it.
Types of Earthen Structures There are many styles of and ways to build with earth, including adobe brick, puddled earth, and rammed earth. Earthen architectural features can also be found in combination with other building materials, such as adobe walls built on stone foundations, or earthen dividing walls inside stone masonry like those at Chaco Culture
James R. Clifton, “Preservation of Historic Adobe Structures: A Status Report” Technical Report 934 (Washington, D.C.: National Bureau of Standards, US Government Printing Office, Feb. 1977), 13.
National Historic Park at Pueblo Bonito.3 It is as hard to apply a single description to earthen buildings as it would be to give one to all stone or wooden structures. Most sites discussed in this thesis were constructed of adobe bricks, but not all of them. Casa Grande and Paquimé, for example, were constructed of puddled earth. Adobe, known in parts of the world as mud brick, is made by mixing soil (proportions of clay, silt, sand), and water, and placing the mix into wooden molds. An organic fiber such as straw, hair, or grass is sometimes added to give strength4 and prevent cracking during the curing process.5 After the molds are removed, the adobe bricks are placed in the sun and left to dry. Once fully cured, they are laid with earthenmortar to form walls that are then normally covered with a protective plaster coating, typically of lime or mud. The making of adobe bricks is an inexact science; locally available materials are used, so proportions and ingredients vary. The type of soil used has a great effect on its durability.6 Adobe bricks containing a relatively high percentage of caliche (calcium carbonate), a natural binder, have often lasted longer than those without. Adobe with sizeable amounts of non-expanding clays also appears to last longer than those containing expansive clays or larger amounts of sand/silt mix with insufficient clay present to serve as binder between the adobe materials.7 Puddled earth differs from adobe only in method of construction; walls are built by “puddling” rather than constructed of laid (adobe) brick. Earthen material is laid up in successive hand-packed courses with no formwork;8
Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 23. Ibid., 24. 5 Jerome Iowa, Ageless Adobe: History and Preservation in Southwestern Architecture (New Mexico: Sunstone Press, 1985), 94-95. 6 Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 24. 7 Ibid. 8 Iowa, 93.
the Great House at Casa Grande was built in this way.9 Rammed earth (pisé) structures are formed in similar fashion, except that the earthen mix is rammed into formwork; these forms are raised with the courses as the construction rises higher.10
Laws Historically, replacement of deteriorated materials was an accepted part of building maintenance. When dealing with historic sites, however, the conservator generally tries to find a way of repairing or stabilizing the structure without replacing too much historic material. Some of these practices have taken on the force of law. Historic sites have been protected by legislation starting with the 1906 American Antiquities Act. The Organic Act of 1916, founding legislation of the National Park Service, extended that mandate, but the wording poses an interpretive challenge for site managers and conservators. It states that the mission of the National Park Service is to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”11 The wording raises questions concerning authenticity, integrity, and conservation. What does “unimpaired” mean? How much historic material can be replaced to ensure that a historic resource remains enjoyable for future generations? This must all be considered when choosing a course of action for the preservation of a historic resource.
The hand packing of these individual mounds often lent a rounded look to the face of the formed unit, sometimes termed a turtle-back. 10 Iowa, 94. 11 The National Park Service Organic Act, 1916 < http://www.nps.gov/legacy/organic-act.htm> 4/20/07
Chapter 2: Site Histories and Descriptions
Each site is described below to provide the reader with the necessary background. The sites are listed in alphabetical order and include a brief history, a description of the site conditions and observations made by the author during the summer of 2006.
Casa Grande (Arizona) Name: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. [Figure 1] Location: Between Tucson and Phoenix in the northern Sonoran Desert region of southern Arizona. Management: The National Park Service. Designation Dates: Declared the Casa Grande Ruins Reservation in 1892, and designated a National Monument in 1918, it was the first federally funded archaeological site preservation project.12 Temperature and Conditions: Casa Grande is located in a desert environment where summer daytime temperatures can reach more than 100˚F; winter temperatures range from 60˚F to 80˚F; spring and summer highs can reach 80˚F and 90˚F with generally dry weather.13 The site receives an average of about eight inches of rain annually.14 Yearly precipitation is extremely variable and long periods of time can go by with no rainfall. Over the last 45 years, June has had the fewest inches of precipitation while August has had the most.15
Jake Barrow, “Against the Odds—Hottai Ki” Cultural Resource Management 22, No. 6 (1999): 52. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/cagr/> 2/11/07 14 City of Casa Grande General Plan 2010, 7.0 Environmental Planning Element <http://www.ci.casa-grande.az.us/pandz/pdf/10environmentalplanning.pdf> 4/17/07 15 Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/cagr/> 2/11/07
Occupation Dates: The Hohokam constructed the pre-Columbian site around 1250. Hottai Ki (Casa Grande or Great House) appears to have been abandoned around 1450.16 It is the oldest site in this study. Architecture and History: The Great House was built of an estimated three thousand tons of caliche–rich17 puddled earth. It is believed that it was a four-story building with walls rising thirty to forty-five feet, four feet thick at the base and two feet thick at the top.18 An opening in a wall on the top-most story aligns perfectly with the setting sun at the summer solstice.19 Site Condition: It is remarkable that despite the stripping of the wooden roof and floor elements by locals, sometime after abandonment, an enormous amount of the puddled earth building, walls and plasters was still in existence when the federal government took control of the site in 1892, after over four-hundred years of exposure.
condition of the structure has been attributed to the fact that years of natural weathering caused by wet-dry cycles led the caliche to form a crust enriched with calcium carbonate on the exposed surface, with another area depleted of calcium carbonate located behind it, at a depth of 20 to 30 cm.
This crust serves as a protective covering. Its cemented
Barrow, 52. Caliche is a naturally occurring mixture of clay, sand and calcium carbonate (limestone) which occurs locally. Harvey H. Kaiser, An Architectural Guidebook to the National Parks: Southwest - Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2003), 23. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid., 24. 20 Barrow, 52. 21 Ibid. 22 Frank Matero, “Lessons From the Great House: Condition and Treatment History as Prologue to Site Conservation and Management at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 3 (1999): 211.
state and low rates of water absorption make this ‘shell’ less susceptible to water and wind erosion.
In this way, the building material has been its own greatest protector.
Conservation History: Three categories of historic structures exist at Casa Grande: The Great House; the surviving low walls and architectural features of buildings that once surrounded the Great House; and unexcavated remains. The ruins of Casa Grande have been divided into different compounds and each compound has been labeled with a letter. [Figure 2] Once the Great House itself was sheltered (discussed in a later chapter), it was more or less protected, while the unsheltered surrounding structures are in need of, and are receiving, treatment.
Coronado (New Mexico) Name: Coronado State Monument. [Figure 3] Location: Next to the Rio Grande River, just north of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Management: New Mexico State Monuments. Designation Dates: Designated a New Mexico State Monument in 1935, and dedicated in 1940. Temperature and Conditions: Information unavailable. Occupation Dates: A pre-Columbian site occupied from A.D. 1300 to about 1625.24 Architecture and History: The site contains the ruins of Kuaua Pueblo25 a farming village occupied by Pueblo Indians. Six subterranean kivas26 - circular, rectangular, and
Ibid., 212. Penny Gomez, Coronado State Monument: Kuaua Trail Guide (Museum of New Mexico - State Monuments, 2002),
Kuaua means evergreen in Tiwa, the name given to a number of related languages that were spoken by many of the Pueblo People in New Mexico. 26 Subterranean rooms used for religious purposes by modern and ancient Pueblo People. Ancient kivas have been found at Hohokam, Mogollon and Ancient Pueblo peoples sites.
square - were built at Kuaua over the course of 300 years. The site was named after Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who is alleged to have camped near the Pueblo with his expedition in 1540 in search of the mythic Seven Cities of Cibola, or the Lost Cities of Gold.27 Site Condition: During excavations in 1935, ceremonial murals were found painted onto the walls of Kiva 3. With the discovery of the murals, the focus of the excavations shifted from an attempt to find proof that Coronado once camped by this site, to the interpretation and preservation of the wall paintings. Built around 1600, and used for only about 25 years,28 Kiva 3 was constructed of irregular balls of dried adobe set into mud mortar to form walls. The main wall of Kiva 3 is about 16 inches thick.29 The walls of the Kiva were covered with 85 layers of mud washes, almost two inches thick. Each layer averages approximately one-thirteenth of an inch thick and seventeen of them30 were painted.31 New techniques32 were devised to separate the layers without harming the paintings. During the 1930’s excavations, the murals were removed from the kiva for conservation; a number can be seen in the site museum.33 Conservation History: Following the dig, Dr. Edgar Hewett, head of the excavation team, reburied the historic architecture. Hewett then used modified techniques and new (modern) materials34 to replicate many of the walls that once stood on the site, and the murals were reproduced inside Kiva 3.35 Just as the original architecture of the pueblo
Eliza Wells Smith, A Bridge to the Past: The New Mexico State Monuments: Special Anniversary Edition 1931-2006 (Santa Fe, New Mexico: New Mexico State Monuments, 2006), 13. 28 Ibid., 14. 29 Wesley L. Bliss, “The Preservation of the Kuaua Mural Paintings” American Antiquity 13, No. 3 (Jan. 1948): 219. 30 At least one source says that there were 87 layers [Smith, 14.]. 31 Bliss, 219. 32 For further information on these techniques please see: Bliss, 218-223. 33 Smith, 15. 34 Modern materials such as gypsum plaster and stucco with wire lathe were employed in the replication. 35 Smith, 15.
deteriorated over time following abandonment, so too has the reconstruction, although in different ways. Today, visitors to the site can view remnants of the reconstructed adobe walls. Kiva 3 can be entered and the reconstructed murals seen, but these too have been damaged over time, and questions have now been raised regarding preservation of the replica murals and walls, a fascinating twist for a historic site.
Dorgan House, Big Bend (Texas) Name: The Dorgan House. [Figure 4] Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas in the eastern Chihuahuan Desert. Management: The National Park Service. Designation Dates: Included in the Sublett Farm National Historic District, the one-story house became part of Big Bend National Park in 1944.36 Temperature and Conditions: Information unavailable. Occupation Dates: Constructed between 1920 and 1930.37 The house was inhabited until 1938, and again from 1941 to 1944. Architecture and History: The adobe structure was coated on both the interior and the exterior with a lime-based stucco.38 The wall of the northwest façade was approximately 30 inches thick, while the other walls were 12 inches thick.39 The extra thickness slowed the rate of deterioration, allowing it to last longer and in better condition than the others.40
Alex, 4. Exact dates are unknown. Texas Tech. University, College of Architecture, Architecture Research Center <http://www.orgs.ttu.edu/architecturalresearchcenter/hist-pres/dorgan-sublett.htm> 2/12/07 38 Ibid. 39 Alex, 7. 40 Ibid., 5.
Site Condition: Very little remains of the house; the roof is gone and most of the walls no longer exist or are in an extremely deteriorated state, except for the front façade, which has been restored. In a National Park Service report, Stabilization Requirements, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 1962, it was noted that “erosion of adobe at foundation level so common in structures of this type is noticeably absent.”41 This same report compared the material and architectural integrity of the building at acquisition, in 1944, to the state of the structure in 1962, before conservation work was done. [Figure 5] By then both the south porch and the roof, along with all but two support beams, were gone, and the door and window jams were falling out.42 Conservation History: In 2002, the Vanishing Treasures Initiative set aside $48,800 for conservation and stabilization work.43 A veneer of new adobe bricks was keyed into place along the sides of the northwest façade, reestablishing the original width of the wall and protecting the historic material within a shell of new, sacrificial, adobe veneer. All remaining historic walls of the house were capped with amended adobe; it was recommended that either Rhoplex or Daraweld be used for this amendment.
46 45 44
adobe will contain a horse manure binder so as to differentiate it from the original containing a straw binder.
A site visit by the author, on July 16, 2006, found that most of the mud plaster had fallen and was piled up against the bottom of the walls, potentially causing problems of
Ibid., 4. Ibid. 43 Vanishing Treasures, Year End Report, 2002, National Park Service <http://www.cr.nps.gov/archeology/VT/2002yr.pdf> P6-1. 1/30/07 44 Adobe veneers are sometimes referred to as adobe tile. 45 Alex, 5. 46 Ibid. 47 Ibid., 6.
differential fill and capillary rise. [Figure 6] What remained on the walls was extremely thin and fragile.
Fort Craig (New Mexico) Name: Fort Craig National Historic Site. [Figure 7] Location: Central southern New Mexico on the west bank of the Rio Grande River, in a remote area above the Rio Grande Valley. Management: Bureau of Land Management. Designation Dates: Transferred to the Bureau of Land Management from the Archaeological Conservancy in 1981. Temperature and Conditions: Information unavailable. Occupation Dates: Established in 1854, and abandoned by the military in 1885.48 Architecture and History: Composed of twenty-two buildings built of adobe and stone, enclosed by an adobe wall with one entrance. Unique to Fort Craig, a defensive ditch surrounded the fort’s outside wall.49 Letters from soldiers reveal uncomfortable living conditions. Complaints abounded about the condition of the adobe buildings, including disintegrating chimneys and walls, leaky roofs, and muddy floors.50 Site Condition: There is not much left of the historic fort. Some of the adobe buildings have been reburied or were never excavated. There is a mixture of stone and adobe buildings, and dirt mounds denoting the foundations of Civil War structures.51
Fort Craig, National Historic Site, 150 Years of New Mexico History <http://www.nm.blm.gov/sfo/fort_craig/fort_craig_history.htm> 2/12/2007 49 “Historic Fort Craig Saddles Up For the 150th Anniversary Party,” Oct. 19, 2004. <http://www.newmexico.org/article/loc/news/page/DB-article/article/117.html> 2/19/07 50 Fort Craig 1854-1885 (Site Brochure, Socorro, New Mexico: Socorro Field Office, Bureau of Land Management). 51 Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, National Park Service <http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/soldier/sitec11.htm> 3/12/07
Conservation History: The adobe soil, procured from local sources, was high in silt and subject to fairly quick erosion. After the fort was decommissioned, its buildings were vandalized and eroded to what today are mostly low mounds.52 In an effort to protect the adobe, some of it has been covered in plaster, which has been repaired and stabilized over time.53
Fort Davis (Texas) Name: Fort Davis National Historic Site. [Figure 8] Location: West Texas on the historic San Antonio-El Paso Road about four hours east of El Paso, Texas. Situated on the south side of the Davis Mountains. Management: The National Park Service. Designation Dates: Became a National Historic Site in 1961. Temperature and Conditions: Average yearly temperatures are 75˚F (high) and 45˚F (low) with an average yearly precipitation of 16 inches. Occupation Dates: Built in 1854, and abandoned by the army in 1891. Architecture and History: Two forts have existed on this site. Remains of the first Fort Davis (1854-1862) include outlines of buildings and foundation walls. Of the second Fort Davis (1867-1891) a good deal remains. Site Condition: Fort Davis’ unusually good preservation is due to the specific circumstances surrounding the fort: after decommissioning, the buildings were in continuous use by local farmers, squatters, etc. In 1963, the National Park Service
Socorro Resource Management Plan, U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces District, Socorro Resource Area, Aug. 1989 <http://www.nm.blm.gov/sfo/sfo_rmp/RMP_Section5_Part2.pdf> 2/19/07 53 Ibid. <http://www.nm.blm.gov/sfo/sfo_rmp/RMP_Section2.pdf> 2-34. 2/19/07
decided to rebuild missing sections of adobe buildings retaining at least 70% original material.54 Of two-hundred-and-fifty historic features, five buildings have been restored and furnished in period style, and twenty-one have been re-roofed.
Conservation History: Fort Davis is a fascinating example of preservation issues surrounding the reconstruction of historic adobe sites. The site is often described as “one of the best remaining examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest”,56 but it contains substantial reconstructions. Those ruins that have not been reconstructed or re-roofed are today conserved through the application of veneers and unamended adobe wall caps.57
Fort Selden (New Mexico) Name: Fort Selden State Monument. [Figure 9] Location: Radium Springs, southern New Mexico, along the Rio Grande Valley, seventeen miles north of Las Cruces. Management: New Mexico State Monuments. Designation Dates: Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and made a State Monument in 1973.58 Temperature and Conditions: Temperature and precipitation have been recorded since 1870 at a site 13 miles away. The average yearly temperature range is 76.4˚F (high) and
Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 57. Fort Davis National Historic Site Texas Final Environmental Impact Statement: General Management Plan (National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, Fort Davis National Historic Site), 72. 56 Kaiser, 183. 57 Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 57. 58 Smith, 53.
43.9˚F (low).59 The rainy season extends from July 1 through September 10, during which time 54 percent of the site’s annual rainfall is received. Mean annual precipitation is 8.49 inches.60 Windborne abrasives blast the exposed adobe walls during spring sandstorms.61 Occupation Dates: Established on May 8, 186562 and abandoned in 1891.63 Architecture and History: All the structures, save the Administration Building, were one-story high and covered with a flat, dirt roof resting on wooden beams.64 The adobe bricks, made by the soldiers,65 were of local soil.66 The exterior adobe walls, laid with stone foundations, were two feet thick; the interior adobe walls, laid upon mud brick foundations, were one foot thick, and did not support roof beams.67 The walls rose to a height of ten feet (floor to ceiling) with a two-foot parapet above the roof.68 While inhabited, the walls were capped with lime plaster,69 serving as a simple protective covering over the wall as long as it was maintained. Adobe bricks were also used, in some instances, as a coping that created a drip edge70 to keep water away from the adobe
Troy D. Thompson and Michael R. Taylor, “Establishment of Conservation, Design and Construction Criteria For Protective Shelters at Fort Selden State Monument, New Mexico” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 5 (2001): 46. 60 Thomas J. Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” in 6th International Conference on the Conservation of Earthen Architecture: Adobe 90 Preprints (Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute Publications, 1990), 14. 61 US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 10, 1994. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1994_Issues/1994_no_10.htm> 3/12/07 62 Historic Preservation: A Plan for New Mexico (Santa Fe: New Mexico, State Planning Office, 1971), 54. 63 Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” 14. 64 Smith, 48. 65 Arnold Vigil, Backtracks (Santa Fe, New Mexico: New Mexico Magazine, 1994), 134-135. 66 Charles Selwitz and Blanche Kim, Laboratory Studies on the Use of Alkoxysilanes for the Preservation of Historic Adobe, Scientific Program Memorandum (Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute, Mar. 6, 1995), 2. From the files of Fort Davis National Historic Site. 67 Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” 13. 68 Ibid. 69 Ibid., 14. 70 Ibid.
walls, especially important as most of the exterior adobe walls were not coated in plaster. The inner walls, however, were covered with a lime plaster.71 Site Condition: In 1871 the post commander reported that: “The buildings and quarters…have been well built from the material afforded by the country (adobe) but that material … disintegrates so fast during summer rains that constant repairs are needed to preserve the buildings from decay and ruin.”72 Upon withdrawal, the army hired workers to exhume the bodies from the cemetery. In payment, the workers were allowed to strip the buildings of wood, leaving them without roofs, windows, or doors.73 About 85 percent of the historic adobe structures have been lost due to erosion,74 and the site, at times, has been heavily overgrown with mesquite.75 Given this, it is remarkable that any substantial ruins remained standing when the site became a State Monument. Conservation History: Preservation campaigns were conducted at Fort Selden in 1972, 1974, 1985,76 and 1991.77 Only remnants of adobe walls remain observable, but below ground, the foundations (of stone and adobe) are intact.78 Current conservation treatments include the application of unamended shelter coats, capping with unmodified adobe bricks, and veneer infills.79 In an attempt to stop windborne particles from
Ibid. Ibid. 73 Ibid. 74 Anthony Crosby, “Investigation of the Adobe Remains” in Fort Selden State Monument General Management Plan (2004), 44, <http://www.nmmonuments.org/publications/selden_08.pdf> 4/29/07 75 Thomas J. Caperton, “Adobe Stabilization Techniques” in Adobe: Practical and Technical Aspects of Adobe Conservation, ed. James W. Garrison and Elizabeth F. Ruffner, 35 (Prescott, Ariz.: Heritage Foundation of Arizona, 1983). 76 Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” 14. 77 Fort Selden State Monument, General Management Plan, 167. <http://www.nmmonuments.org/publications.php?inst=10> 4/29/07 78 Anne Oliver, Fort Selden Adobe Test Wall Project: Phase I Final Report (Fort Selden State Monument, Radium Springs: New Mexico, June 2000), ix. 79 Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 57.
damaging the walls, trees were planted near their historic locations, and native grasses were seeded around the perimeter of the fort and on the parade ground.80 [Figure 10] In 1985, New Mexico State Monuments began an extensive test wall study at Fort Selden.81 Phase I of the project saw the construction of 15 adobe test walls82 for the evaluation of wall coatings, cappings, and foundation treatments. Phase II of the project began in 1987. Thirty-five adobe test walls were built by the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in collaboration with New Mexico State Monuments.83 In 1993, the GCI set up tests for consolidant-amended shelter-coat trials.84
Fort Union (New Mexico) Name: Fort Union National Monument. [Figure 11] Location: In the high plains, seventy-five miles from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Management: The National Park Service. Designation Dates: Declared a National Monument in 1954. Temperature and Conditions: Typically sunny, the area can be windy, with semi-arid conditions and summer rainstorms. The average temperatures in July are 85˚F (high) and 51˚F (low); in January the high is 47˚F and the low is 16˚F.85
The grasses, once they had taken hold, needed no additional watering. Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” 210-211. 81 The Fort Selden Adobe Test Wall Project was undertaken in three phases. Phase I began in 1985 and was run by Michael Taylor for New Mexico State Monuments, Museum of New Mexico. Phases II and III were conducted from 1988 till 1994 by the Getty Conservation Institute. The data gathered from the many Fort Selden test walls is very important, but it must be remembered that what was tested was the interaction between the specific conservation materials, the amounts used in the tests, and the adobes to which they were applied. Adobes at disparate sites might very well react differently, as might varying concentrations of a chemical. Reburial and sheltering projects have also been conducted at the site. 82 Oliver, ix. 83 Information gathered from the test walls visitor packet given to me by the staff on duty at Fort Selden on the day of my visit there. The packet was written by Michael Romero Taylor, 2. 84 Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 57. 85 Fort Union National Monument, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/foun/> 2/16/07
Occupation Dates: Three forts were built at the site; remains of the third can be seen today. The first Fort Union existed from 1851 to 1861; the second from 1861 to 1862; and the third from 1863-1891. The site was abandoned in 1891.86 Architecture and History: Fort Union was constructed in what became known as the territorial style of adobe architecture with brick copings, and white painted door and window frames.87 [Figure 12] The buildings were of adobe with foundations of local limestone. The soil used in the adobe came from the valley located to the north of the fort. The adobe buildings were covered with an exterior plaster of gypsum, lime, charcoal and occasionally soil,88 and an interior plaster of gypsum, lime, and animal hair. In an 1886 report, Colonel Henry Douglass wrote that the exterior plaster covering the walls served as protection from the fierce summer thunderstorms.89 The buildings were often painted.90 The third fort was constructed quickly and shoddily.91 The flat metal roofs caused serious problems, as their inability to efficiently shed rainwater permitted it to leak into the adobe walls at the roof-wall seam, causing deterioration and detachment of the plasters.92 Site Condition: By the 1870s and the 1880s, the majority of exposed stucco had detached and fallen from the walls.93 As specified in the enabling legislation, the remnants of the buildings have been preserved as ruins. Most of the ruins have been
Kaiser, 148. Ibid., 153. 88 Ibid., 25. 89 Architectural Conservation Laboratory, Plaster and Paint Stabilization Project: Fort Union National Monument, Watrous, New Mexico; Fort Davis National Historic Site, Fort Davis, Texas, Volume 1: Fort Union National Monument: Final Conditions and Treatment Report (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania), 25-26. (In the holdings of the US National Archives, Region III, Santa Fe, NM). 90 Ibid. 91 Kaiser, 155. 92 Architectural Conservation Laboratory, 26. 93 Ibid.
capped and propped where needed with supports, as walls were not tied together correctly when built, causing some to lean at odd angles and others to fall over.
Conservation History: Fort Union has a long history of preservation. Following an adobe deterioration study, commissioned in 1995, a campaign began to recap most of the walls with new cement-modified adobes (replacing previous cement-modified adobe caps), and to supplement a number of failing architectural features with unamended adobes.95
Paquimé (Casas Grandes), Mexico Name: Paquimé, or Casas Grandes. [Figure 13] Location: Chihuahua, Mexico, fifty miles south of New Mexico. The site is in the Sonoran Desert, geographically not far from Casa Grande and Tumacacori. Management: The Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH)). Designation Dates: Designated a World Heritage Site in 1998. Temperature and Conditions: Located in an arid region with temperatures capable of reaching above 104˚F in the summer and below 63˚F during the winter.96 The hot, dry area does not usually receive precipitation, but when the summer rains do come, they are
Joachim Almergren et al., Preservation of Fort Union National Monument (Prepared for Mike Taylor and Jim Trott, National Park Service, Dec. 9, 1992), 7. 95 Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 58. 96 Roy P. Brown “The Protection and Conservation of the Adobe Structures at Paquimé, Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico” in 6th International Conference on the Conservation of Earthen Architecture: Adobe 90 Preprints (Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 1990), 204.
often torrential. The area receives 10 to 20 inches of rainfall per year,97 and can be quite windy, especially during the spring and winter.98 Occupation Dates: The pre-Columbian site was occupied from 700 AD until about 1400 AD.99 Architecture and History: The structures were formed of puddled earth with distinctive T-shaped openings.100 The exterior walls of the buildings were plastered with a calicherich mud that was either painted white or decorated with colorful patterns. The city boasted an impressive infrastructure, with running water and a sewer system.101 Site Condition: The site is a confusing maze of short, mud-covered walls with rounded tops. It is difficult to determine where one structure ends and the next begins. Conservation History: The earthen ruins have been preserved by coating102 them in multiple, sacrificial layers of “new old” adobe mud.103 Due to wear and tear on the ruins, visitors are no longer allowed to wander through the maze of walls that make up the site. Instead, a path has been laid around the outside of the ruins.
Pecos (New Mexico) Name: Pecos National Historical Park. [Figure 14] Location: Twenty-five miles southeast of Santa Fe near the Pecos River. Management: The National Park Service
Keith Kintigh, Buried Civilization of the Americas. <http://www.public.asu.edu/~kintigh/asb223/bc27paqu.htm> 4/26/07. 98 Ibid., 204. 99 Michael Romero Taylor, Earthen Architecture Preservation Along the Borderlands—Symposia Between Mexico and the United States, Cultural Resource Management. <http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/20-11/20-11-8.pdf> 5/15/07 100 Jay W. Sharp, On the Way to Paquime. <http://www.desertusa.com/mag00/aug/stories/paquime.html> 6/1/07 101 Ibid. 102 The repairs made at Casas Grandes were of rammed earth. 103 This term will be discussed further in chapter 3.
Designation Dates: Became a State Monument in 1935. In 1965 it was declared Pecos National Monument, and in 1990 it became a National Historical Park. Pecos Pueblo is a National Historical Landmark. Temperature and Conditions: Temperature highs during the summer are usually in the mid 90˚s; in the winter lows are generally in the 20˚s. Quite variable, temperatures can range over 50˚F in 24 hours. The summer monsoon season can bring short, intense thunderstorms in the late afternoon. Winter storms often punctuate lengthy periods of sunny, cloud-free weather. Occupation Dates: A mission site located on a pre-Columbian pueblo. Occupied as early as 12,000 years ago, the site was settled by Pueblo people after A.D. 800. Anasazi settled at Pecos around 1100, Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1540,104 and the first missionaries, Franciscans, arrived in 1598.105 Architecture and History: The Anasazi replaced the Puebloan pithouses with kivas and two sandstone pueblos,106 composed of multi-leveled terraces rising up to four stories.107 The exterior of the pueblos were apparently whitewashed and painted with bright colors.108 Between 1617 and 1717, Franciscan missionaries built four churches in the Pecos area.109 In 1622, what was the biggest mission church in New Mexico was constructed at the site. The church was burned in 1680 during the Indian rebellion.110 The remains were packed around its stone foundations creating a level surface on which
Kaiser, 159. James Early, Presidio, Mission, and Pueblo: Spanish Architecture and Urbanism in the United States (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 2004), 60. 106 Kaiser, 159. 107 Ibid., 162. 108 Early, 60. 109 Ibid., 160. 110 Ibid. 163.
the fourth church was constructed111 from 1706 to 1717.112 The ceiling of the final church rose to a height of at least 45 feet above the floor, with varied wall thickness. Approximately 300,000 gray adobe bricks, each about 9”x18”x3”, were used for the construction. The adobe contain pieces of bone, pottery, and charcoal, leading archaeologists to believe that they were, in part, made of material from trash heaps.113 Site Condition: During excavation, one area revealed six levels of superimposed buildings; when a structure deteriorated, a new one was built on top without clearing away the rubble.114 The mulitple layers and features represent a complex history spanning many years and cultures, represented in a jumble of preserved ruins and reconstructed kivas. The enormous ruins of the Franciscan mission (1700s) stand next to the remains of a convento115 and pueblo.116 Visitors walk between the mission walls, through the sprawling remains of the pueblo and down into a number of reconstructed subterranean kivas. Conservation History: The National Park Service has reconstructed two kivas with stone laid in earthen mortar. Various methods, including application of Rhoplexmodified adobes, exterior plaster, and adobe infill, have been employed in the preservation of the adobe ruins.
Tumacacori (Arizona) Name: Tumacacori National Historical Park. [Figure 15]
Francis A. Riddell, ed., “Current Research,” American Antiquity, 34, No. 1 (Jan. 1969): 101. Kaiser, 163. 113 Early, 61. 114 Kaiser, 162. 115 Convento (Spanish) refers to priest’s quarters that included storage rooms, workshops, stables, etc. 116 Kaiser, 157-158.
Location: Southern Arizona near the Mexican border, 45 miles south of Tucson in the north Sonoran Desert. Part of a complex of missions located in the region. Management: The National Park Service. Designation Dates: Declared a National Monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt. The National Park Service took control from the Forest Service in 1918.117 Designated a National Historical Park in 1990.118 Temperature and Conditions: Warm and dry for most of the year. Summer temperatures can reach the high 90˚s and low 100˚s. Winter nighttime temperatures can go below freezing. From mid-July through most of August, the area goes through a rainy (monsoon) season, and in January and February it can see winter rains and even snow.119 Occupation Dates: The site is composed of a number of late 18th and 19th century buildings constructed by Franciscan priests.120 The mission church, San Jose de Tumacacori, was built between 1800 and 1822. The complex, abandoned in 1848 following an Apache raid on the settlement of Tubac, fell into ruin by 1850,121 although a number of the outlying structures remained in use into the 20th century. Architecture and History: The Franciscan Church was built using more than 90,000 adobe bricks, a typical one measuring 12”x3”x24”. Where strength and support were needed, fired adobe brick was used.122
Anthony Crosby, “Monitoring Moisture at Tumacacori” Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Bulletin 19, No. 4 (1987): 32. 118 Kaiser, 89. 119 Tumacacori National Historical Park, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/tuma/index.htm> 2/20/07 120 Paul Wencil Brown et al., “Adobe II: Factors Affecting the Durability of Adobe Structures.” Studies In Conservation 24, No. 1 (1979): 23. 121 Glimpses of Our National Monuments (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1930), chapter: Tumacacori National Monument. Ebook: <http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/glimpses2/glimpses29.htm> 3/16/07 122 Tumacacori National Historical Park, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/tuma/historyculture/tumacacori-preservation.htm> 2/20/07
Studies conducted on the composition of the adobe show it to be generally well consolidated, with gypsum found in many of the pores. Organic fragments of twigs, grass or straw are present in the adobe in greater concentrations than in the soil around the structure.123 The soil-to-sand ratio is about 1 (soil) to 4 (sand). The sand, showing characteristics of having been in water, was probably harvested from a nearby stream.124 Analysis indicates that the effects on the physical properties, caused by the small inclusions of swelling clay in the Tumacacori adobe, are slight.125 Soluble salts, present in the adobe samples, point to the presence of rising groundwater.126 A comparison between the soil at the site and that used in the construction indicates that the adobe mix was proportioned specifically for building.127 Site Condition: Located in a seismic zone, the site experienced a major earthquake in 1887. Careful inspection of photo documentation taken prior to and a few years after the earthquake, indicates the strong likelihood of earthquake damage, notably a wall fall.128 Particularly good photo documentation taken prior to conservation treatments allows for a fairly accurate timeline of decay. Deterioration has been caused mainly by exposure to the elements and vandalism. Further decay occurred due to a cement repair program, among the first conservation techniques employed. In 1907, Coert Dubois, a forest inspector with the United States Forest Service, visited the site. In his report, Dubois wrote that the Mission San Jose de Tumacacori was “rapidly falling into ruins and suffering considerably from vandalism of visitors. Portions of the paintings in the old
Brown et al., “Adobe II” 30. Ibid., 31. 125 Ibid., 32. 126 Ibid., 37. 127 Ibid., 38. 128 Jake Barrow, personal correspondence with the author, 4/17/07.
Chancel have been knocked off for souvenirs, and the whole of the inside of the nave is written over with the names of visitors.”129 Conservation History: Upon taking control of the preservation, the National Park Service focused its efforts on protecting the building from the effects of vandalism and rain.130 Prior to this, its adobe walls, as much as nine feet thick, were the only defense the church had against the ravages of time.131 Frank “Boss” Pinkley,132 General Superintendent of the Southwestern Monuments Group, worked quickly to construct a roof over the building.133 Later steps were taken to preserve the historic materials through the use of protective coatings and consolidants. At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, attempts were made to understand what was causing the deterioration. A 1976 preservation project focused primarily on modes of decay134 found moisture to be the greatest cause of deterioration at Tumacacori, with capillary action as the primary source.135 It is estimated that, since 1917, more than $20 million has been spent on the conservation and maintenance of the mission, with the goal of bringing the buildings to a state where they can be preserved through scheduled maintenance, with minimal intervention.136 Traditional materials are used in the conservation of the structures. Lime plaster, with cactus mucilage added as binder, is applied to many of the exposed walls
Preservation Efforts: A Legacy in Ruins. p. 3. <www.nps.gov/archive/tuma/pres_Efft.html> 2/19/07 Crosby, “Monitoring Moisture at Tumacacori” 32. 131 Kaiser, 91. 132 Frank “Boss” Pinkley started at Casa Grande in 1901. He worked for the General Lands Office, the forerunner to the Bureau of Land Management, and went to the National Park Service in 1916 when it began. Pinkley continued working with the National Park Service until his death in 1941. He was the founder of Southwest Monuments and was an extremely important figure. 133 Jake Barrow, personal correspondence with the author, 4/17/07. 134 Crosby, “Monitoring Moisture at Tumacacori” 32. 135 Ibid., 43. 136 Ibid., 44.
and reapplied as needed,137 at which time the old lime coating is completely removed before the new material is applied.138 Following installation, the new lime plaster is patinated139 to give it an off-white, aged look or “aqua sporca” (literally, dirty water). The dome and the roof of the sacristy are white-washed on a cyclical basis to prevent moisture from causing deterioration of the adobe blocks.140 In recent years much of the cement-modified plaster has been removed from the walls;141 the roof and floor of the church are no longer original, and unmistakable signs of water damage remain. [Figure 16] However after many years of research and preservation projects, the mission building seems to be in stable condition.
Tumacacori National Historical Park, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/tuma/historyculture/tumacacori-preservation.htm> 2/20/07 138 Tumacacori National Historical Park, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/tuma/historyculture/historic-preservation.htm> 2/20/07 139 Technique used for patination not identified. 140 Ibid. 141 Jake Barrow, personal correspondence with the author, 4/17/07
Chapter 3: Plasters and Industrial Chemicals
Exterior Plasters: In History and Conservation In the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, many adobe walls were covered with exterior plasters of adobe-compatible materials, such as earthen- or limebased composites. Their purpose was to keep water from entering the sides of a wall. The plaster served as a sacrificial coating that could be replaced when needed, before the adobe was harmed. Plasters were often used as decorative surfaces, especially at preColumbian sites. Few examples remain, although there are some at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico.
Extensive interior historic plasters do exist at
Casa Grande, Mesa Verde, cliff sites, and Fort Davis, among others. Plasters are used by conservators of earthen architecture primarily for the protection of deteriorating sites. In wet environments, or when construction methods are inadequate for the environment in which a structure has been built (as when a building is erected without eaves or base courses in a wet environment), protective plasters are used. The challenge for a conservator is finding a plaster that is effective but unobtrusive,143 reflecting, once again, the constant tension in the field between conservation and presentation. The application of plasters has evolved from a reliance on foreign substances to a preference for compatible materials. Two general types of plasters are available for use today: unamended and amended.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in northwestern New Mexico near the Four Corners region. Inhabited by the Pueblo People, or Anasazi, the site contains at least 14 Great Houses and the densest concentration of pueblos that exists in the southwestern United States. The structures at the site were mostly built of stone with earthen mortars and plasters. From AD 850 to 1250, the site served as a major center for the Puebloan culture. 143 Because plasters obscure the historic material underneath, they are usually used only as a preservative of last resort. Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07.
Unamended Plasters: Mud and Lime Lime has been used as interior and exterior plaster for millennia in certain parts of the world, and was certainly being used in the American Southwest during the 19th century. Lime plaster is composed of a mixture of lime, sand and sometimes water, depending on whether the lime is a dry powder or lime putty.
Mud plaster is
composed of clay, silt, sand, and water.145 The plasters vary from region to region in their additives and application methods. Lime plaster is harder than mud plaster, and therefore less flexible,
causing cracking as stress is applied to walls or weathering
cycles occur. Mud and lime are considered to be compatible materials for adobe because they are permeable.
Historically, lime plaster was often used in Mexico and New
Mexico, as well as in the earthen architectural areas of Europe, and was likely introduced by Spanish colonizers. The Fort Selden test wall experiments included research into unamended earthen plasters. [Figure 17] The walls were coated with three 1/3” thick coats of unamended earthen plaster.148 Aluminum rods, one end in the adobe and the other flush with the protective coating, were inserted during Phase I (1985) to measure erosion. For the most part, however, the rods worked loose over time, making erosion measurements difficult.149 Between application in 1986 and preparation of the final report in 2000, there
“Preservation of Historic Adobe Buildings” Preservation Briefs 5, National Park Service, 4. <http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/briefs/brief05.htm> 4/29/07 145 Ibid. 146 Ibid. 147 Cornerstones Community Partnerships, Newsletter <http://cstones.org/newsletter/faq.html> 1/28/07 148 Oliver, 26. 149 Ibid., 21-22.
was no color change. The report ranked thirteen surface applied treatments,
the unamended earthen plasters ninth among
and sixth of seven plasters.
On the exposed
(north and west) walls, the unamended earthen plasters lasted for up to 1.5 years, and for about four years on the sheltered walls (south and east).
These results clearly demonstrate the problem with unamended plasters; to be successful they must be replaced every few years. Although their compatibility with historic adobe may make them the optimal choice for preservation, the paucity of resources at many sites nevertheless renders them impractical. Sites at which cost is a controlling factor have opted, therefore, to use amended plasters.
Portland Cement At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, Portland cement gradually supplanted lime in commercial construction, as a binder in plasters, mortars, and concrete. Portland cement-amended plasters were used instead of mud and lime in the hopes that they would last longer, thereby cheating the maintenance cycle. In the past 20 years, however, it has been realized that Portland cement-amended plasters can cause problems for the conservation of historic adobe structures, as they form impermeable barriers
that do not expand and contract as easily as adobe. Minute
cracks will form and moisture will enter. Walls that are built in contact with the ground,
The rankings were made based on a 1 to 5 scale: 5 = very little erosion, 4 = little erosion, 3 = moderate erosion, 2 = serious erosion, 1 = very serious erosion. The assessments were done visually by comparing the condition to a photographic example of each ranking. Ibid., 26. 151 Surface treatments were sprayed and rolled both directly onto the adobe itself and to unamended earthen plasters. Ibid., 24. 152 The amended earthen plasters had the treatments mixed into the plaster, then applied to the wall. Ibid. 153 Ibid. 154 Cornerstones Community Partnerships, Newsletter <http://cstones.org/newsletter/faq.html> 1/28/07
as many historic adobe walls are, are particularly vulnerable to moisture damage through capillary action.
When moisture content rises above 12 percent, the base of
the wall loses its integrity, stability, and ability to support itself.
have largely abandoned the use of Portland cement in favor of a return to the older method of unamended earthen plasters. By the 1920s, the National Park Service was using Portland cement-modified plasters at a number of sites. It had, however, been used as early as 1891158 at Casa Grande by Cosmos Mindeleff, who undertook the first real preservation effort on the Great House.159 Fired bricks were used as underpinning and to fill in the biggest holes at the base of the walls. The bricks were set back one inch from the face of the historic wall, and covered with a cementitious plaster.
During his tenure at the site (the winters
of 1906-1908), the archaeologist and ethnologist who supervised the excavations, J. Walter Fewkes, “placed a layer of concrete along the base [alongside, not underneath] of the Compound A walls to prevent undermining.”
By 1929, many of the walls in
Compound A and a number of the wall bases around the area of the Great House were covered with cementitious plaster.
An effort was launched by the National Park
Adobe was not always built on a foundation course such as stone; sometimes adobe walls start right at the ground. Foundations and wall bases will be discussed further in chapter 4. 156 Cornerstones Community Partnerships, Newsletter <http://cstones.org/newsletter/faq.html> 1/28/07 157 Ibid. 158 A. Berle Clemensen, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Arizona: A Centennial History of the First Prehistoric Reserve, 1892-1992 (United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1992), chap. 5, par. 1, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 159 Ibid., chap. 3, pars. 17 and 18. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi3.htm> 5/2/07 160 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 1, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 161 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 2, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 162 Ibid.
Service in the early 1930s to search for a clear chemical
that could be used to coat and
solidify the earthen walls, without forming an opaque covering.
Upon removal of the
cementitious plaster to test clear chemicals, site custodian (1931-1935) Hilding Palmer discovered that the caliche behind it had turned to powder.
The coated walls had
absorbed ground moisture through capillary action, which was then prevented from leaving. The cementitious plaster was not removed from the walls, but by mid-1939, it was falling off.166
Industrial Chemicals Dozens of products have been tried on historic adobe structures and test walls, in the hopes of slowing deterioration and maintenance cycles. These chemicals include bitumins, Daraweld-C, ethyl silicates, Rhoplex E-330, Pencapsula and El Rey Superior Additive 200.167 Large-scale treatment was often conducted before test applications were performed and evaluated. In other cases the test sites were abandoned, information was lost, and the chemicals were either forgotten or, perhaps more frequently, used anyway.
Chemicals, often quite expensive, for the most part, have not solved any
problems that constant maintenance of a site with compatible materials cannot resolve, and have sometimes caused even greater problems than those they were intended to
This response by the National Park Service and its partners was by no means simplistic, as by this time, they had had years of experience working with these conservation problems and there were plenty of issues to consider in the process of formulating a proper preservation plan and response to the presence of cementitious plasters at Casa Grande. 164 Clemensen, chap. 5, par. 6, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 12/05/06 165 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 8, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 12/05/06 166 Ibid. chap. 5, par. 15 <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 12/05/06 167 These five chemicals were used on the majority of sites covered in this thesis, a full list would be too long to include. 168 Test walls were constructed for the evaluation of chemicals by The National Park Service (at Fort Union, Tumacacori, Casa Grande, etc.), New Mexico State Monuments (Fort Selden, 1985), and the Getty Conservation Institute (Fort Selden). Unfortunately not all of these tests produced results, due to factors including loss of funding, and there is, therefore, a fair degree of ambiguity in the files of these sites as to what has worked and what has not.
correct. Products have been applied using all possible methods: mixed into plaster; surface application by brush and spray, and injection.169 The final report for Phase I of the Fort Selden adobe test wall project concluded that to be effective chemicals must be mixed with a plaster; application of the chemical directly to the wall will not work.
Chemically Amended Plasters Daraweld-C Daraweld-C has been used since the early 1970s by the National Park Service for adobe preservation. Originally formulated as a bonding agent for the repair of concrete, it is a polyvinyl acetate polymer and vinyl acetate-dibutylmaleate copolymer dispersion, which is available at 51% solids in water.
Extensive testing was carried out by Dennis Fenn in the 1970s and by the Getty Conservation Institute. During the GCI test wall experiments, the western and southern parts of four test panels were coated with a plaster amended with a 1:10 solution of Daraweld-C in water; the north and east halves were coated with a plaster amended with a 1:5 solution of Daraweld-C in water.
Two years later, the walls were similar in color
to the unamended earthen plaster, although the 1:10 appeared a little darker than the stronger 1:5 solution. After 15 years of exposure, the east panels remained close to their original color but the south panels turned more yellow, perhaps due to the breakdown of the vinyl acetate resulting from exposure to ultraviolet light.
Taylor, 35-36. Oliver, 86. 171 Ibid., 30. 172 Ibid. 173 Ibid.
The Daraweld-C-amended panels performed quite well, although the decrease in water vapor transmission that it caused could create problems at sites with high water tables or more precipitation than at Fort Selden.
The Fort Selden report suggests that
since, on some faces, fewer shrinkage cracks appeared in the weaker Daraweld-C solution, it might be advantageous to use the weaker solution on the vertical faces of adobe walls and the stronger solution on the top of walls. This approach may lower the expense of applying Daraweld-C as well as improve the permeability of the coated adobe walls.
In 1950, at Tumacacori, a scratch coat mix of cement-lime-sand was applied to the walls, over a lath of galvanized metal, in the hopes of preventing further deterioration without causing harm to the pieces of historic plaster still attached to the walls. Daraweld-C was added into the mix in 1960, producing a nearly impermeable plaster, trapping moisture in the adobe walls.
In response, treatments over the last 20 years
have focused on the use of lime plaster. In 1972, W.E. Sudderth, at Casa Grande for two months to perform stabilization work, created an amended mud by mixing caliche and sand with Daraweld-C. The slurry type mixture, brownish in color, was applied as a coating to the caliche remains with whisk brooms.
It permits the evaporation of the moisture in the walls but requires a
two-year application cycle.
Ibid., 31. Ibid. 176 Preservation Efforts: A Legacy in Ruins. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/tuma/Pres_Efft.html> 2/6/07 177 Clemensen, chap. 5, par. 1, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 12/5/06 178 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 34, < http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 12/5/06
In 2007, the product is no longer in use at the site, and Rebecca Carr, National Park Service site archaeologist at Casa Grande, has submitted a proposal for reevaluation of the Daraweld-C treatment.179 At this time the park plans, instead, to use an unamended plaster without a supporting lathe.
The product is, however, still widely
used as an earthen amender at other sites like Chaco Culture National Historical Park.181
Rhoplex E-330 Cement Mortar Modifier Rhoplex E-330,
an acrylic emulsion developed as a cementitious mortar
amendment for the construction industry, and consolidant for earthen materials.
has been broadly used as a soil amendment
Darrel Butterbaugh, a researcher at the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology (MASCA), began testing the use of Rhoplex-E33 in the early 1970s. In 1973, Butterbaugh tested a number of chemicals, including E-330, at Chaco and Pecos. He reported that the adobe soil used at Chaco was generally more willing to accept the product than that at Pecos.184 In the 1970s, Dennis Fenn, a research scientist with the National Park Service, established the effectiveness of Rhoplex E-330, based on the results of test walls set up at Chaco during the summer of 1975. Testing a number of different chemicals, including E-330, he formulated a series of recommendations for
Daraweld-C mixed with caliche and sand applied by whisk broom, first tested on the site in 1972. Kaiser, 24. Rebecca Carr, personal correspondence with the author, 1/30/07. 181 Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07. 182 Product of Rohm and Haas of Philadelphia, PA. For a detailed outline of the history of the use of Rhoplex E-330 refer to: Robert Hartzler, “Acrylic-Modified Earthen Mortar” Intermountain Cultural Resource Center Professional Paper, No. 61 (Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1996), 7-8. 183 Ibid., 6. 184 Ibid., 9.
using the product. According to Fenn, Rhoplex E-330 should be used in a 1:2.5, E-330 to water mix with sandy soils like those at Chaco.
Since the mid-1970s, the product has been tested by the National Park Service, mainly in the American Southwest, as an additive to earthen repair mortars,
at sites like It was
Chaco, where it was applied successfully as an amendment to earthen mortar.
being used successfully at many sites for ten years before the GCI test walls were set up at Fort Selden. The use of polymer emulsions, such as Rhoplex E-330, spread from Chaco to Pecos and other National Park Service sites. Over time, due to years of experience and different site conditions, changes have been made to Fenn’s original recommendations. Today, compatibility of color and texture of the amended material to the historic material, rather than soil type, appear to be the deciding factor as to Rhoplex E-330 use.
El Rey Superior Additive 200 El Rey Superior Additive 200 is “an acrylic dispersion of methyl methacrylate/ ethyl acrylate resin sold at 47% solids in water,” made of Rhoplex E-330, modified with a defoaming agent. reasonable price.
The product is non-toxic, simple to use, and can be purchased for a
Ibid., 14. Ibid., 7. 187 Ibid., 14. 188 Ibid. 189 Oliver, 28. 190 Ibid., 86.
Earthen plasters amended with 1:5 and 1:10 solutions of El Rey Superior Additive 200 showed the best performance during Phase I of the test wall project when thirteen protective coatings applied to Test Walls 1 and 2 were exposed to the elements for fifteen years.
El Rey amended plasters showed the best erosion resistance over time, initial
texture was satisfactory, material compatibility to the historic adobe walls was good, and color and erosion patterns proved comparable to unamended earth. The product has been used at a number of monuments including Pecos National Historical Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument.192 As an amendment it is added to new plasters that are placed onto the historic material, which remains chemically unchanged but obscured from sight. It has also been used quite successfully for plaster preservation projects at Fort Union and Fort Davis, where it is added, for example, into the grout mixture that is employed to re-adhere detaching plasters to the adobe walls.
Bituminous and Asphaltic Emulsions Bitumens were first produced on an industrial scale in the United States in the 1940s and bitumen-stabilized adobe has been sold in the US as Bitudobe and Asphadobe. In 1937, bitumen-modified soil products were used extensively for the first time in ruins stabilization, at Chaco, where they were used as mortar admixtures (rather than in adobe). Stabilization with bitumen works best with silty or sandy soils and does not work with fine soils in dry areas where there may be a high pH and salt content to the soil.
Ibid., 28. Aztec Ruins National Monument is a Puebloan site constructed of stone with earthen mortars. 193 Hugo Houben and Hubert Guillaud, Earth Construction: A Comprehensive Guide (London: Intermediate Technology Publications, 1989), 93.
Use of bitumens has been cut back in recent years due to the rising price of oil products, although they are currently being used in the modern adobe industry in New Mexico.
Bituminous and asphaltic emulsions are relatively impermeable195 and they
can, in certain cases, impart a darker color, non-compatible with the lighter historic adobe, to the plaster.
Surface Applied Treatments Ethyl Silicates (Including Silbond-40 and Wacker Stone Strengthener H (SSH)) Giacomo Chiari, Dennis Fenn, and more recently Neville Agnew and Charles Selwitz, of the Getty Conservation Institute, have all conducted research into the use of ethyl silicates for adobe stabilization. Ethyl silicates (tetraethoxysilane) are partly organic, partly inorganic, and leave an inorganic residue after curing fully, which can be a slow process.
They are applied by spray
or brush. Porosity, color, and thermal
behavior of adobe remain unchanged following application, while the adobe exhibits greatly improved water resistance. Ethyl silicates are not epoxies; when applied to a wall so deteriorated it is composed of detached pieces, ethyl silicates will consolidate each piece individually, but not bond them together.
They do not perform as well on
Ibid., 92. Taylor, 37. 196 Clifton, 10. 197 Giacomo Chiari, “Chemical Surface Treatments and Capping Techniques of Earthen Structures: A Long Term Evaluation” in 6th International Conference on the Conservation of Earthen Architecture: Adobe 90 Preprints (Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 1990), 268. 198 Giacomo Chiari, “Characterization of Adobe as Building Material: Preservation Techniques” Adobe: International Symposium and Training Workshop in the Conservation of Adobe 10-22 September 1983 (Lima: UNDP/UNESCO/ICCROM, 1985), 40. 199 Ibid., 39.
vertical or steeply sloping surfaces, as the thin crust they form cannot survive the erosion caused by streaming water and raindrops.
Giacomo Chiari pioneered the use of ethyl silicates (Wacker and Silbond-40) in the Seleucia region of Iran, in the late 1960s.
In 1971, he noticed that earthen
archaeological structures treated with either ethyl or poly-ethyl silicates in 1968, were less deteriorated than untreated ones.
When first produced, Wacker Stone Strengthener H (SSH) consisted of approximately 40% methyltriethoxysilane, 40% ethyl silicate, 20% butanone, and 1% catalyst dibutyltindilaurate.
The formulation has changed and the product is now
available as Wacker Stone Strengthener OH 100, which, in general, performs more satisfactorily, and uses tetraethoxysilane and 2-butanone, instead of methyltriethoxysilane and butanone.204 Silbond-40, produced by the Silbond Company, contains about 40% silicon content, and is composed of 27% ethyl silicate, 70% polyethylsilicate. The solvent carrier is ethanol.
Silbond-40 is less volatile than SSH and easier to apply, especially
in environments with high temperatures. The cost of the product is lower due to the absence of a catalyst (like dibutyltindilaurate), but this can be added.
Giorgio Gullini, “Report on Mud Brick Preservation” in Giacomo Chiari, G. Torraca, and G. Gullini, Mesopotamia, Vol. VII (Turin: Giappichelli, 1972), 281. 201 It should be noted, however, that ethyl silicate was in use before this time. Ray Rigen has been documented as having sprayed ethyl silicate on the Tumacacori schoolhouse in 1954. Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07. 202 Chiari, “Chemical Surface Treatments” 271. 203 Selwitz and Kim, 3. 204 Norman Weiss, personal communication with the author, 5/3/07. 205 Selwitz and Kim, 3. 206 US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 6, 1995. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1995_Issues/1995_no_6.htm#2> 1/22/2007
Pencapsula Pencapsula, an oil-modified polyurethane devised expressly for use on archaeological remains in Arizona and New Mexico, was manufactured by the Texas Refinery Corporation in the 1960s.
Pencapsula was to be mixed with assorted
petroleum-based solvents and applied by spraying onto the wall’s surface.
manufacturer claimed that the product produces surface hardening while maintaining breathability, without causing color change or a glossy sheen.
In September of 1962, Pencapsula was tested at Fort Union and used, during that period, as the chief stabilization method.
Various solvents and concentrations were
tested at the Fort. In 1963 Pencapsula was tested on a wall of the hospital building. Three years later, the results were declared good, as little erosion had occurred.
tested as an additive to capping and patching mortars, it performed unsatisfactorily due to excessive soil shrinkage and the inability to match the color of the historic material.
Paquimé An interesting solution that addresses maintenance issues without abandoning material compatibility has been employed at Paquimé, where a large-scale conservation effort began in 1988. During the project, multiple layers of what is termed new old adobe mud were applied to the earthen ruins, forming a sacrificial protective coating over the
Frank Matero and Jocelyn Kimmel, An Outline History of Stabilization and Conservation Treatments Fort Union National Monument: Watrous, New Mexico (Compiled for Intermountain Cultural Resources Center, National Park Service, Santa Fe, New Mexico and Fort Union National Monument, Sept. 1995), 34. 208 Ibid., 34. 209 Ibid. 210 Ibid. 211 Ibid., 34-35. 212 Ibid.
New old adobe mud refers to new plaster made from historic material that
separated from the walls and fell to the ground. This ‘debris’ was collected during the excavations and reformed into new adobe for use during the conservation project.
Before application of new plaster, all loose material was scraped from the wall bases. The walls were then carefully wetted and the new old adobe mud was hurled onto them with a small pointing trowel. To differentiate between the new and old earthen material, yellow polypropylene strings and knots forming a 30cm grid were placed in the first layer of the plaster. A number of additional layers were added until they reached what was believed, according to the archaeological reports, to be the original thickness of the historic walls. The multiple layers permit a less frequent maintenance and reapplication cycle as many layers must erode before the historic material is exposed. [Figure 18]
Brown “The Protection and Conservation of the Adobe Structures” 206. Ibid. 215 Ibid.
Chapter 4: Capping, Foundations, and Braces Capping Capping in preservation refers to the placement of new sacrificial bricks or mortar on top of an existing wall. [Figure 19] As the new caps erode, they can be replaced, as they are not historic material. To work, the new adobes must be made of appropriate material, or differential erosion will occur, due to the greater durability of the capping material which caused coving, or entrapment of moisture resulting in increased surface runoff from the cap onto the historic adobe. This will decrease the top width of the wall, destroying historic material and undermining the caps.
Early attempts to cap walls used incompatible, impermeable materials, often causing considerable damage. Sometime after 1962, the adobe walls at the Dorgan House were capped with cement stucco. By 2002 it was reported that, “[t]he wall capping failed long ago and in places, exacerbated the erosion of the adobe beneath.” In recent years these have largely been replaced with compatible, more permeable materials that require intensive maintenance. To be successful, the capping must both be made of compatible materials and be maintained.
Fort Union Adobe walls at Fort Union were constructed originally with fired-brick copings. Even during occupation it was noticed that “the wall underneath becomes furrowed and hollowed out, weakening the walls very much, and the superincumbent weight of the
Oliver, 61. Alex, 4.
coping renders the wall very insecure. Corners of buildings crack and fall out, whole sides of buildings fall out occasionally.”
Nonetheless, the only adobe walls remaining
at full height are those including original brick cornices.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Fort Union, undertaking its first site stabilization project, placed soil-cement adobes220 in one or two courses as capping on top of the historic adobe walls.
To blend visually with the historic material, the caps
were “overlaid with fragments of original adobes set in soil-cement mortar in order that the original character of the wall could be preserved. Small cracks were grouted with soil-cement. [The] cap [was then] splashed with adobe ‘soup’.”
By 1996 the caps
showed signs of deterioration – cracking, erosion, joint failure, and honeycombing223 of the top layers.
Over time, the second layer of capping and mortar cracked, permitting
water to penetrate the walls and coving to occur.
Despite initial impermeability of the
soil-cement adobes, they appear to have become more porous over time due to weathering, which may explain why they appear to have stopped causing damage.
Quoting from the report of Colonel Henry Douglas in 1886 as cited in: Architectural Conservation Laboratory, 26. Anne Oliver and Robert Hartzler, “Working Preservation Action Plan For the Adobe Ruins at Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico: Research and Development Project Final Report” (Compiled for Fort Union National Monument, Watrous: New Mexico, March 1996), 58. 220 The soil-cement adobes used in this project were composed of 1 part cement, 3 parts screened red sand, and 3 parts local soil. “Preservation Plan for Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico” (National Park Service: draft of unpublished document, May 1988), 25. As referenced in: Anne Oliver and Robert Hartzler, “Working Preservation Action Plan For the Adobe Ruins at Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico: Implementation Project Final Report” (Unpublished report, compiled for Fort Union National Monument, Watrous: New Mexico, June 1996), 17. In the holdings of the US National Archives, Region III, Santa Fe, NM, Box 2 (of FOUN), Folder 54. 221 Oliver and Hartzler, June 1996, 17. And, Hartzler, “Holding Down the Forts” 57. 222 Rex L. Wilson, “Rehabilitation of Historic Structures, 1956-1960, Final Report, Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico,” 2 volumes, (unpublished document, Fort Union National Monument Archives, Watrous, New Mexico). As quoted in: Oliver and Hartzler, June 1996, 17. 223 Spotty erosion to the extent that only the harder materials remain, resembling a honeycomb. 224 Wilson, in Oliver and Hartzler, June 1996, 17. 225 Ibid. 226 Ibid.
Rilem tube water intake tests showed the capping to be more permeable to water than the historic adobes.
During the early 1990s, the decision was made to replace the severely eroded capping at the Fort. New caps were sought possessing water absorption equal to or greater than that of the historic adobes, and high intergranular cohesion, the capacity to resist deterioration caused by freeze-thaw cycles and abrasion.
It was recognized that
unmodified caps, made of soil with mechanical properties similar to the historic adobe, would be most suitable. As unmodified caps need constant maintenance, requiring resources unavailable to the Fort, test walls were set up in 1996 to find a compatible modified adobe cap.
The ultimate solution was the replacement of the eroded caps
with soil-cement-amended adobes;
since no new damage was occurring and the caps
were performing well, it was decided to continue capping the walls with them. In cases where it was considered too risky to remove the old caps, the new amended adobes were simply placed on top.
Today, one hundred percent re-capping has been achieved. The
introduction of soil-cement-stabilized caps is arguably the single most important preservation treatment used at Fort Union.
US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 5, 1997. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1997_Issues/1997_no_5.htm> 2/26/07 228 Oliver and Hartzler, June 1996, 17. 229 Ibid. 230 Jake Barrow, personal correspondence with the author, 4/19/07. 231 Oliver and Hartzler, June 1996, 23.
Casa Grande In 1910, Frank Pinkley 1906 to 1908
noticed that walls excavated by J. Walter Fewkes from
were eroding due to wind and rain.234 No action was taken until 1924 to
1926, when concrete caps were placed on the caliche walls.
In 1948, stabilization
work began on Compound A; all wall caps were replaced with a two-inch-thick cap of caliche.
In 1949, the same project was carried out on Compound B.
In 1967, all
remaining soil-cement caps in Compound A and B were either replaced or repaired.
Fort Selden At Fort Selden in the 1970s, Pencapsula-amended adobes were used to cap ruined walls.
The capping proved to be too impermeable, causing the mud adobe underneath
to erode at an accelerated rate, worsened by the caps being placed flush with the wall with no drip edge.
Several layers of original material were removed from the top of
the walls to lay the amended adobe, creating an unnatural uniformly flat wall top.
In 1974, recognizing the harm caused, the Pencapsula-amended bricks were removed and the walls were covered with a one-inch cap of unamended mud. In 1985,
Frank “Boss” Pinkley began working at Casa Grande in 1901, staying until 1915. He joined the National Park Service, after its founding in 1916. Casa Grande became part of the Park Service in 1918, at which time Pinkley returned to the park as custodian until 1931. He continued working on conservation issues until his death in 1941. 233 Clemensen, chap. 5, par. 2, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 234 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 3, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 235 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 5, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 236 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 23, < http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 4/29/07 237 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 24, < http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 4/29/07 238 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 32, < http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 4/29/07 239 Thomas J. Caperton, “Stabilization of Fort Selden’s Ruins” Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Bulletin 22, No. 3 (1990): 31-32. 240 Ibid., 32. 241 Ibid.
the walls were re-capped with unamended mud; red plastic sheeting in narrow strips three feet apart was placed between the historic and the new material. The strips serve as indicators; when they show recapping is required.
The flat wall tops expose a large
surface area to rain, and, therefore, freeze-thaw action. Walls that were never capped have uneven tops that have deteriorated into the typical rounded, sloped form that sheds water more effectively.
The unamended mud caps last about a year, and the small staff
at the monument has difficulty meeting maintenance requirements for this compatible conservation technique.
Wall Foundations Traditionally, adobe buildings were built on foundations of either adobe or stone; both work well as long as they (particularly the adobe) are kept in good condition. When walls are not maintained, coving and undercutting will occur and, in time, the wall will collapse. [Figure 21] Rising damp, basal erosion, salts, plant roots, abrasion by windborne particles, backsplash, and burrowing animals can all cause damage.
damage does occur, it is often necessary to replace the most deteriorated parts of the foundations and base courses, ensuring structural integrity of the wall. The 1985 experiments at Fort Selden tested erosion and capillary rise in twelve types of wall bases.
After fifteen years of exposure, two247 of the foundations showed
Ibid., 15. Ibid. 244 Ibid. 245 Ibid., 210. 246 Taylor, 98. 247 When the data were collected, the concrete-clad foundation had also not collapsed, but it was felt that this was only a matter of time or moisture level. Oliver, 76.
slight-to-no erosion at the base with no moisture being held above grade: stone and adobe with French drains on either side.
The test wall supported by a foundation of
unamended adobe, with no drains, collapsed first.
Basal Deterioration At Dorgan House,250 veneer blocks251 of adobe, made by park staff, were inserted into the eroded areas of foundations with coving and other basal deterioration problems.
The process is described in the Preservation Needs Assessment And Scope
of Work: “Repair involves raking out all loose and friable adobe. Mud will be packed into voids as new [adobe] bricks are laid, providing a solid bed and tight fit…[to] the existing wall. The new adobe will tie to the original wall by keying back every third brick into the original wall as needed until coving/erosion has been repaired…”
At Fort Selden, basal erosion was present in many of the walls due to rising damp, wind-borne abrasion, the leaching of salts, and rodent activity. A soil fill, composed of eroded adobes, lay up to three feet deep in spots against the historic adobe remains.
Before beginning preservation work, the fill was removed and the dirt around the wall bases was compacted. In 1974 and 1985 during repair projects, deteriorated areas were removed and new adobes were placed into the empty spaces.
[Figure 22] The new
248 Ibid. 90. 249 Ibid., 76.
The same process was carried out at Fort Union, where the replacement adobe was also made on site. Alex, 7. Veneer blocks are thinner than the original material. 252 Architectural Conservation Laboratory, 28. 253 Alex, 7-8. 254 Caperton, “Adobe Stabilization Techniques” 35. 255 Thomas J. Caperton, “Stabilization of Fort Selden’s Ruins” Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Bulletin 22, No. 3 (1990): 32.
bricks, set in unamended mud mortar, were packed in very tightly; mud plaster was then applied to the walls.
Wall bases with less serious basal erosion were fixed by applying
multiple mud plaster coats.
Drainage The serious effects of not having a good drainage system are seen in the storehouse building at Fort Craig. [Figure 23] This pattern of spotty deterioration can be caused by severe intermittent rains falling on extremely dry earth, or rivulets of water streaming over the face of the wall. Rain hitting the already saturated top of the wall creates runnels as it streams down the adobe, finally reaching drier areas, lower down, where absorption occurs.
To solve drainage problems at Fort Selden, fill on both sides of the walls was brought to an equal level,
and the soil surface was carefully sloped away from the
historic walls to create positive drainage, preventing pooling at the base.
the grade, installing drainage systems, and soil compaction, capillary rise has nearly stopped.
Both the mud bricks and mud mortar that were used in the conservation effort were made on site. Caperton, “Adobe Stabilization Techniques” 36. 257 Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” 210. 258 John Warren, Conservation of Earth Structures (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999), 80. 259 Caperton, “Adobe Stabilization Techniques” 36. 260 Caperton, “Fort Selden Ruins Conservation” 210. 261 Caperton, “Adobe Stabilization Techniques” 36.
Vegetation All plant growth on historic sites should be evaluated as it signals the presence of moisture and root systems can hold fallen pieces of adobe against a wall base, causing deterioration. [Figure 24] Vegetation growing out of the historic walls will have serious effects. [Figure 25] Small plants, like algae, moss and lichens, can develop inside the pores of a soil adobe causing loss of cohesion, while larger plants, with significant root systems, often grow in already weakened locations.
The roots can hold moisture in the wall serving, as they
grow, to disrupt the integrity of the adobe and cause gaps and cracks to form. Simply pulling these plants out of the walls, however, could cause even more damage, because once the root system is established, it can become the only thing holding the adobe together. Once a plant is established, routine practice in the field is to cut off the plant stem right above soil level and leave it to die. When fallen pieces of adobe are held against a wall base by roots, the fill should be cleared away.
Wall Braces External wall braces have been employed at a number of earthen sites as structural stabilization, allowing the monument to remain in a ruinous state without compromising historic fabric that would need to be replaced for the walls to stand on their own. At Fort Union, two types of bracing have been installed to prevent freestanding sections from overturning: wooden and metal. Wooden braces were installed early and
John Warren, Conservation of Earth Structures (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1999), 82.
continuing into the 1990s, on walls that were leaning dangerously, pushed by severe winds. The braces measure 4”x4” in section, with 2”x4” cross pieces that are placed against the wall. The 4”x4”s are then propped against the crosspieces set at an angle to the wall, creating a triangular shape, and anchored into the ground.
braces have worked well but were constructed years ago of untreated, now dry, wood, and many are cracked, split or rotted at the base.
The first metal bracing units used at the Fort were constructed of angle iron.
They are attached, at each end, to metal plates, one in the adobe and the other in the ground with a metal pole connecting them. [Figure 26] The walls they prop appear straighter than those with wooden supports,
but they are not without problems. To
install the plate, a hole must be dug into the historic wall, and during cold weather, “cold bridges” can occur, when condensation forms on the metal, allowing moisture to enter the surrounding adobe, leading to the eventual deterioration of the historic material.
braces were painted with a color sympathetic to the adobe so as to blend in, the paint also served to prevent the braces from corroding.268 A new bracing project, undertaken in 2000, was careful to hide the braces, where possible, lessening the impact on site aesthetics, placing them, for example, on the interiors of the buildings.
Metal braces are also used at Fort Selden, where the metal plates are generally bigger, and therefore more visually jarring, than those at Fort Union. [Figure 27]
Almergren, 8. Ibid. 265 Ibid. 266 Ibid. 267 Ibid. 268 Jake Barrow, personal correspondence with the author, 5/01/07 269 Vanishing Treasures, Year End Report, 2000, National Park Service <http://www.cr.nps.gov/archeology/vt/2000yr.pdf> 3/11/07
Chapter 5: Shelters and Roofs
The term shelter is applied to protective structures, including open- and closed-sided constructions, and roofs.270 They afford protection from the elements without visually concealing the earthen fabric.271 Geosynthetic materials272 are sometimes used for
sheltering. There are many types but those made of polymeric fibers are perhaps the most commonly used in archaeological conservation projects.273 Often a good solution, protective shelters are not an option for all ruins; some are simply too big, others too deteriorated to support a roof without adding significant amounts of modern material.274
Sheltering Structures Open-sided shelters can keep direct rain off the structure; tent-like closed structures block wind, preventing damage by windborne abrasives and wind-driven rain. Poorly designed shelters can create more problems than solutions. If the shelter does not fully cover the historic ruin, precipitation may run off the roof onto exposed areas.275 Animals may also move in; or a greenhouse can be created, promoting soluble salts276 and vegetation. The best way to stop salt formation is to prevent capillary rise and to
Jeanne Marie Teutonico, “Protective Shelters for Archaeological Sites in the Southwest USA” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 5 (2001): 87. 271 Ibid. 272 Their uses include sheltering, filtration, separation, and drainage. For further information on this topic please refer to: Edward Kavazanjian, Jr., “The Use of Geosynthetics for Archaeological Site Reburial” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 6 (2004): 377-393. 273 Kavazanjian, “The Use of Geosynthetics” 378. 274 Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites (2001) published a special issue on the use of shelters at archaeological sites in the southwest that included a list of conclusions and recommendations, an important resource for future work. 275 Neville Agnew, “Methodology, Conservation Criteria and Performance Evaluation for Archaeological Site Shelters” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 5 (2001): 17. 276 Teutonico, “Protective Shelters” 88.
install drainage systems.277 Good air circulation and ventilation is also necessary. Protective structures affect the interpretation of the site.278 Aesthetically, they should be designed to fit in, not overwhelming the artifact. Good design is especially important, as shelters are expensive and unlikely to be removed once built.
Casa Grande A number of structures have been constructed over the Casa Grande ruins to slow deterioration. Frank Pinkley originally opposed the construction of a sheltering roof over the caliche ruins, but changed his mind after watching what he believed to be serious erosion of the walls during summer rains.
The $1,975 shelter,280 constructed in 1903, did not entirely follow the design specifications laid out by Victor Mindeleff in 1890, as Pinkley did not want the supports for the shelter
to be set inside the Great House.
General Land Office special agent
S. J. Holsinger designed the shelter, composed of a galvanized, corrugated iron roof supported by four redwood posts, with a six-foot overhang leading water run-off away from the ruin. iron.
One coat of red paint was applied to the roof for protection of the
The structure worked well, but by the mid-1920s, it was deteriorating, and in
Agnew, 14. Frank Matero, “Editorial” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 5 (2001): 1. 279 Clemensen, chap. 3, par. 36, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi3b.htm > 4/30/07 280 Ibid., chap. 3, par. 38, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi3b.htm > 4/30/07 281 Although in the literature it is often referred to as a roof, the structure constructed over the Casa Grande ruins is actually best described as a shelter. 282 Ibid., chap. 3, par. 36, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi3b.htm > 4/30/07 283 Ibid., chap. 3, par. 38, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi3b.htm > 4/30/07 284 Ibid.
June 1930, a windstorm accelerated the problem by blowing off part of the roof. [Figure 29]
A temporary shelter of timber was built between removal of the 1903 shelter and construction of the new one.
The shelter standing today was completed on December
12, 1932, and is similar to a design sketched by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in 1928, with some changes made by Thomas Vint.
The shelter rises forty-six feet from the
ground, with a lightening rod at the top and a built-in drainage system.289 Excluding the welding, in 1955, of some cracks that had formed in the support columns, the shelter has more or less maintained itself.
When first erected, it was painted sage green,
complimenting the landscape better than the red; in 1989-1990 the color was changed to light tan in an apparent effort to minimize contrast with the background.
The shelter, an architecturally significant structure, itself listed on the National Register of Historic Places,292 has been criticized as overshadowing the ruins.
time, owls, pigeons, and smaller birds have moved into the shelter, leaving splashy white droppings on the walls.294 It is estimated that there are from five to forty small birds and two to four Great Horned Owls under the shelter at a given time.
Ibid., chap. 4, par. 24, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi4b.htm> 4/30/07 Ibid., appendix F, par. 18, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhiaf5.htm> 4/30/07 287 Ibid., chap. 4, par. 24, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi4b.htm> 4/30/07 288 Ibid., appendix F, par. 20, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhiaf5.htm> 4/30/07 289 Ibid., appendix F, par. 19, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhiaf5.htm> 4/30/07 290 Ibid., appendix F, par. 21, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhiaf5.htm> 4/30/07 291 Ibid. 292 Matero, 1. 293 There are even those that utter the phrase “not like Casa Grande” when discussing shelters, and the argument could be made that this shelter has caused some site managers to avoid the option; others, however, have no problem with it. Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07. 294 These droppings are mostly attributed to small birds, including pigeons. 295 Rebecca Carr, personal correspondence with the author, 4/23/07.
Fort Union: Proposed Shelter In 1992, two types of shelters were proposed as long-term preservation techniques, at Fort Union.
Both were theoretically adaptable to cover large and small
structures.297 The first was a metal frame with a fabric covering.
The second consisted
of four wooden supports holding a shingled Howe truss roof 12 feet off the ground. This design was cheaper and easier to construct than the metal frame.
It was suggested that
a pilot program be set up at the site to test the effectiveness of the post-roof shelter. It is, however, unlikely that either of these shelters will be built as they both involve substantial construction, expense, and visual impact on the landscape.
Fort Selden: Experimental Shelter An experimental “hexashelter”301 was constructed at the site in 1989. The side panels were of a knitted, open-weave, synthetic textile and the roof was of an impervious membrane. There was a considerable reduction in rainfall, wind, and solar radiation within the confines of the shelter, but after nearly a year of data collection, it collapsed under the weight of snow that had collected during a heavy snowfall.302 Although this specific shelter was never intended to be permanent, its collapse illustrates the importance of good structural design, so as not to cause damage to historic materials. The National Park Service and the Getty Conservation Institute have performed Geotextile wall sheltering experiments at the site. Based on the results, 592 linear feet of
Almergren et al., 10. Ibid., 10 and 13. 298 Ibid. 299 Ibid., 13. 300 Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07. 301 The term ‘hexashelter’ derives from the hexagonal footprint of each of the shelters’ modules. Agnew, 16. 302 Ibid.
earthen walls were covered from 1992 to 1993 at a cost of $15,000 with two kinds of woven polypropylene geotextiles:
Mirafi 600X and 700X. After a year-and-a-half of
use at the site, Mirafi 600X had performed better than 700X, which had deteriorated to such an extent that removal was necessary. Both fabrics include carbon black, a material that helps prevent ultraviolet degradation of the geotextile, but Mirafi 600X, which remained unharmed, is of a tighter weave.
Tents, covering the walls, were formed by stretching geotextiles over wooden frames leaving a space between the tent and the earthen ruins. The polypropylene fabric was secured to the frame by geotextile affixed to nylon lines.
The design was intended
to allow water to run down the fabric without touching the walls, leaving capillary action as the only entrance for moisture into the wall. The intent was to prevent damage to the earthen ruins through the physical impact of raindrops and by windborne abrasives. The design did not work: driplines caused erosion, in some cases cutting vertically through the wall, and rodents moved into the protective humid enclosure, causing damage and necessitating its removal.307
Roofs Roofs may be constructed if appropriate to the chosen interpretation of the site and if enough of the original structure remains.308 A certain amount of rebuilding or consolidation is needed for historic walls to support loads created by a roof and resist
US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 10, 1994. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1994_Issues/1994_no_10.htm> 3/19/07 304 Ibid. 305 Ibid. 306 Ibid. 307 Michael Taylor, personal communication with the author, 5/23/07. 308 This often includes having good documentation for the historic roof.
wind and seismic influences.309 Proper drainage must be installed to carry runoff from the roof and away from the structure. If designed correctly of compatible materials, and kept in good repair, it should protect the building. Fort Davis and Tumacacori are the only sites, of the eleven, with reconstructed roofs.
Fort Davis The decision to reconstruct some of the buildings is described in the literature as representing a change in the usual Park Service policy. “The proposal to protect the buildings surrounding the parade ground by means of limited restoration consisting of new roof structures and porches which will return the buildings to their original image…is considered here to be a desirable and welcome departure from past practices.”
The reconstruction of the roof at the hospital building included the installation of a concrete bond beam, a destructive process as it caused the removal and damage of the historic adobe. [Figure 31] It also brought about the loss of historic plaster, nor is it seismically designed or readily reversible.311 However, the roof has protected the adobe building while giving visitors a more thorough sense of what once was.
Tumacacori During abandonment, much of the roof of the mission building collapsed due to weather, time, and scavengers who stripped the wooden elements from the building.
Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07 Michael Welsh, A Special Place, A Sacred Trust: Preserving the Fort Davis Story, Administrative History, Fort Davis National Historic Site (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Division of History, Intermountain Cultural Resources Center, 1996) Professional Paper 58, chap. 4, par. 11, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/foda/adhi/adhi4.htm> 4/30/07 311 Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07
Over time sections of the roof collapsed, although the historic dome remains over the area where the altar once was. An initial re-roofing was performed by the Park Service upon assuming control in 1918,
and another, over the nave, in 1921, after the adobe
walls of the nave were rebuilt to their historic height. In 1934, the Civil Works Administration made repairs to the nave roof.
However, leakage and bat droppings
continued to cause problems and a new roof was constructed over the nave in 1947. [Figure 32] As the mission is to be preserved as a historic ruin,
with the exception of
preservative treatments, no restoration has been performed. The roof has helped to preserve not only the structure itself, but the historic artifacts that remain inside the building, including murals on the interior of the dome, historic lime plasters and washes, and architectural details.
Ibid. Preservation Efforts: A Legacy in Ruins. p. 3. <www.nps.gov/archive/tuma/pres_Efft.html> 3/16/07 314 Tumacacori National Historical Park, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/tuma/faqs.htm> 3/16/07
Chapter 6: Backfilling, Reconstruction and Replication
Backfilling refers to the placement of soil over historic features for preservation.315 It can greatly reduce maintenance demands and costs, while extending the life of the resource for longer than if it was exposed. As it obscures the resource, some sites have built reconstructions and replications
of the buried structure. In 2004, Conservation and
Maintenance of Archaeological Sites published the “Special Issue on Site Reburial” that included a list of conclusions and recommendations indicating the need for more research on backfilling317 techniques.
Backfill The soil used for backfilling must be compatible with existing conditions. The best solution, when possible, is to use soil from the site.318 Horizon markers are often laid between the historic resource and the soil fill. Geotextiles are preferred to plastic sheeting for this purpose, as they are permeable and capable of resisting probing plant roots.319 Drainage should also be considered in the reburial design so as to prevent moisture damage, and vegetation with shallow root systems can help eliminate erosion of the topsoil.320 Maintenance and monitoring of the backfill must be part of the management plan.321
The term replica is used here to indicate a new structure that looks, for the most part, like the original but that deviates from it by, for example using different materials. Reconstruction refers to a new structure built to look like an old one of the same materials and using the same methods. 317 Reburial vs. backfill – these two words are essentially used interchangeably in the literature. For a more detailed discussion of the terminology please refer to: ICCROM Newsletter, No. 30 (June 2004): 13. <http://www.iccrom.org/eng/02info_en/02_03newsl_en/newsl_en/newsl30_en.pdf> 3/19/07. 318 John Ashurst, Conservation of Ruins (Burlington, Ma.: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007), 176. 319 Kavazanjian, 383. 320 Ashurst, 176. 321 Jeanne Marie Teutonico, “Conclusions and Recommendations of the Colloquium
Casa Grande Multiple backfilling campaigns have been conducted at Casa Grande mostly covering sites in outlying areas already closed to tourists. Charlie Steen, a regional archaeologist for the National Park Service, backfilled Compounds D, E and F to halt deterioration. Compound E, which had experienced severe erosion by wind and water when the concrete caps failed, was covered by March 1942 to a height six inches above the historic walls, with soil previously excavated from the site.
Joel Shiner, a National Park Service archaeologist, backfilled the Clan House in 1962 with soil from a mound west of Compound B. By 1963, some of the backfill had eroded and was renewed by Gordon Vivian.
In 1973, Duane Spears, a member of the
anthropology department at Arizona State University, recommended the backfilling of Compound B, the walls of which retained a great amount of architectural detail, deciding that preventing its continued deterioration outweighed its interpretive value to the site. An initial backfilling was undertaken immediately, and again in 1974
Weather constantly erodes the fill, requiring replacement about every six years.
Fort Selden Reburial research has been conducted twice at Fort Selden. In 1988 two adobe walls, one test and one control, were built partially below grade.326 The test wall was draped with a geotextile polypropylene prior to the burial of the walls, leaving only their
‘Reburial of Archaeological Sites’ Santa Fe, New Mexico, 17-21 March 2003” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 6 (2004): 395. 322 Clemensen, chap. 5, par. 18, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5.htm> 4/29/07 323 Gordon Vivian was a ranger at Casa Grande in the late 1940s. Ibid., chap. 5, par. 18, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 4/29/07 324 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 35, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 4/29/07 325 Ibid., chap. 5, par. 42, <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhi5a.htm> 4/29/07 326 Agnew et al., 339.
tops exposed. Unearthed in 1994, the exposed part of the wall covered with a geotextile had degraded and the fabric had thinned and disintegrated due to exposure to the sun, whereas the part below grade was in fine condition. The control wall had eroded rapidly. The part below ground was in better condition than that above grade although worse than that covered in the geotextile.327 The results of the experiment were used to plan the subsequent 18-month reburial tests that took place from 1995 to 1996.328 The second round of reburial tests demonstrated that geotextiles are a useful tool for reburial and protection of archaeological resources but they must be used carefully. Results showed that, in general, geotextile coverings prevented soil from sticking to the surface of the adobe, and that stiff geotextiles are less likely than flexible ones to stick to the buried resource. The deeper, drier burial pits had less edge erosion of the adobe walls, than the more shallow ones, regardless of whether they were wrapped in geotextiles.329
Coronado: Reconstruction and Replication Extensive excavation, preservation, and interpretation projects have been undertaken at Coronado. Toward the end of the 1930s, following excavation, Edgar Hewett, an anthropologist with the School of American Research and the Museum of New Mexico, backfilled the site and then rebuilt Kiva Three, replicating the murals originally painted on the walls. Hewett undertook a controversial replication project, constructing wall bases outlining the structures of the historic pueblo as if all the
Ibid., 339-340. Ibid., 333. 329 Ibid., 340-341.
buildings had been built at once rather than over time.330 Hewett’s structures, reaching about eight inches high,331 were built of adobe block, while the originals were of puddled earth.
In 1987, staff used the historic puddled earth technique on a reconstructed room at the site.
[Figure 33] Today only the bottom courses remain of Hewett’s replication,
and the site custodians have undertaken to mark the outlines of the structures.
34] The reburial, reconstructions, and replications of Coronado’s historic architecture allow the historic resource to be preserved for the future while offering something that ruins cannot: the ability to wander through the buildings, to see some completed architecture, and to understand, in perhaps a more tangible way, what the site was once like.335 However, as replicas and reconstructions are not authentic pieces of the past, interpretive signs should be erected to explain this.
Smith, 15. Ibid. 332 Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07. 333 Gomez, Coronado State Monument: Kuaua Trail Guide (Museum of New Mexico – State Monuments, 2002), 7. 334 Smith, 15. 335 Martha Demas, “‘Site Unseen’: The Case for Reburial of Archaeological Sites” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, Vol. 6 (2004): 146-148.
Chapter 7: Conclusion
The one absolute in the preservation of earthen historic sites is that there are no perfect solutions. Tradeoffs must constantly be made among competing goals: between conservation and presentation; between the optimal but unaffordable and the affordable but less than optimal; between preservation of the visual integrity of the site versus conserving the physical structure; and between preserving all original material and losing some to preserve larger areas of an original structure (e.g., when adobe is removed to insert structural supports). Conservation recommendations and decisions, therefore, can never be based on technical data alone. Choices are inevitably made in a context within which managers and conservators must respond to such factors as budgetary constraints and demand for public access. Every year more historic sites are excavated, identified, and/or acquired by the National Park Service, State Preservation Offices and other organizations devoted to historic preservation. Unfortunately, the resources dedicated to preservation do not necessarily expand with demand, and organizations entrusted with the care of historic structures often have difficulty maintaining them.336 The preservation of ruins reflects an inherent paradox because they are intrinsically unstable. Materials that work best and are least likely to cause further damage are those that are closest to those used originally. These traditional materials, however, have the same propensity for degradation as the original and, therefore. require constant maintenance. When adobe buildings were in use, routine maintenance included replacing deteriorated areas with in-kind materials when needed, but material
replacement is generally frowned upon by the conservation community because it sacrifices some authenticity. When preserving earthen structures, the loss of some historic material – for example, by scraping off material to enable replacement adobe to adhere to a surface - may not be such a bad a solution: replacement of historic materials with historically correct materials and methods is the continuation of a historic form of construction and maintenance. In some cases, therefore, it may be possible to achieve more authentic preservation of a site by replacing material than by methods that attempt to preserve all of the surviving historic fabric. When conserving earthen architecture, it is always best to use as few chemicals as possible, employing completely compatible materials when adding anything new, since unpredicted consequences as a result of introducing foreign substances are common. In the case of a caliche wall, for example, best practice is for caliche mud or adobes to be used; when adding new adobe bricks, non-amended materials similar to that of the original adobe should be employed. Historic methods, such as the use of unamended plasters, should not be discounted, as there are reasons why certain techniques remain in use for centuries. It is the author’s opinion that unamended earthen plasters, due to their mechanical, chemical, and physical likeness to adobe, are the most compatible coatings available for earthen architecture. However, these should only be used if proper upkeep can be performed. The application of multiple layers of unamended earthen plaster, as at Paquimé, is a compatible way to slow down the maintenance cycle. Site managers, however, must balance the preference for unamended earthen plasters with the cost of hiring workers to
replaster on a regular schedule; amended soils are appealing because the best ones last longer. When amended soils are to be used, local test wall programs on site are perhaps the most valid method for their evaluation. Chemically amended plasters, even when successful, should be used with caution. There is a continuing concern that the application of multiple layers of chemical additives to the earthen walls may decrease permeability and increase surface bonding, creating a weakened interface in the substrate encouraging the delamination of surfaces.337 Several amended coating materials are deserving of special notice. Daraweld-C has worked fairly well over the years but it is not without problems. It has the potential to turn yellow under exposure to ultraviolet light, and the decrease in water vapor transmission can cause damage and should be monitored closely. Parks like Casa Grande are, therefore, trying to find a more compatible material for their conservation needs. It will be interesting to see the results of the Daraweld-C re-evaluation project currently being designed at Casa Grande by Rebecca Carr. El Rey Superior Additive 200 appears to work well and further testing should be conducted on this product. Conservation staff at Fort Union have recently started utilizing El Rey Superior Additive 200 and Rhoplex-amended338 shelter coats.339 Advances made to ethyl silicates should also be watched with interest as these are often useful amendments but, as discussed, they too must be used with care. Capping is a highly recommended technique. It is preferable that unamended materials be used, but if chemical amendment is needed, the same issues apply as with
Jake Barrow, personal communication with the author, 4/19/07. The Rhoplex amended shelter coats will be monitored closely. 339 Jake Barrow, personal correspondence with the author, 4/17/07.
plasters. Phase I of the Fort Selden Test Wall Experiment found that the best protection for the wall top was to use a cap with a drainage slope and drip edge.340 It is essential that wall bases be maintained. Clearing away debris piled against the base, creating positive drainage slope away from the wall, the control of animals and plants, and the installation of drainage systems all contribute to the integrity and stability of the wall base. Once coving and other deterioration occur at the base, the only solution may be to repair the compromised area with new material. Braces are another example of the tradeoffs inherent in site conservation. Braces interfere with the visual integrity of standing ruins; on the other hand, braces permit the preservation of standing ruins. Braces are an acceptable way to stabilize a ruined wall. The alternatives are allowing the wall to collapse or rebuilding it by introducing a large amount of new material. When used, braces should be made as visually unobtrusive as possible and care should be taken to place the braces out of sight of visitors where possible. Metal plates should be covered with adobe or painted in earth tones for the same reason. The construction of shelters involves a similar trade-off between maintaining the visual integrity of a site341 and the physical conservation of historic structures. All shelters should be designed and constructed with the knowledge that once erected, even if intended to be temporary, they are unlikely soon to be removed. When properly constructed, shelters are very effective conservation tools that permit visitor access, unlike, for example, the often more effective technique of reburial. This combination of adequacy and access makes shelters an approach that should not be overlooked despite
Taylor, 41. Almergren et al., 13.
the valid and widespread aesthetic objections to what are, after all, large modern structures inserted into an historic context. Reconstruction is another conservation tool that may deserve more consideration from conservators responsible for earthen sites. Although visitors are often charmed by the romance of earthen ruins, such sites will inevitably deteriorate and eventually disappear. In cases where substantial walls remain standing, however, using local, historically correct material to complete the walls and construct a roof can mean that a historically accurate structure, with major authentic components, will be available to generations of visitors. Backfilling is perhaps the most effective conservation technique for earthen structures, but the balance between preservation and access becomes stark when considering reburial. The National Park Service cannot simply backfill all of its earthen ruins. Backfilling is probably most usefully employed at sites and areas of sites not open to visitors. And conservators should be aware that it is possible to backfill some sections of a structure while leaving other sections on view for visitors. No one method can protect every structure on a site, and there is certainly no one method applicable to all sites. Small scale testing should be performed on site to ensure that a technique works under local conditions before it is applied on a large scale. Different techniques may need to be applied simultaneously. If a wall is capped successfully but the foundation is not properly drained, water will infiltrate through capillary rise and the wall will deteriorate despite the well-protected top. Plaster coatings, capping, drainage, braces, shelters and reburial are all successful preservation techniques when used in the proper combinations and in the correct situation.
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Brochures/Leaflets/Handouts: Fort Craig 1854-1885. Site Brochure. Socorro, New Mexico: Socorro Field Office, Bureau of Land Management. Gomez, Penny. Coronado State Monument: Kuaua Trail Guide. Museum of New Mexico – State Monuments, 2002. Taylor, Michael Romero. “Adobe Conservation: Research and Applications.” Visitor Packet, Fort Selden. “Fort Davis Retreat Parade Sound Program.” Brochure handed out at Fort Davis National Historic Site, summer 2007. Websources including Ebooks: Clemensen, A. Berle. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Arizona: A Centennial History of the First Prehistoric Reserve, 1892-1992. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1992. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/cagr/adhi/adhit.htm> 5/1/07 Glimpses of Our National Monuments. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1930. Chapter: Tumacacori National Monument. Ebook: <http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/glimpses2/glimpses29.htm> 3/16/07 Michael Welsh, A Special Place, A Sacred Trust: Preserving the Fort Davis Story, Administrative History, Fort Davis National Historic Site (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Division of History, Intermountain Cultural Resources Center, 1996) Professional Paper 58. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/foda/adhi/adhit.htm> 4/30/07 “Preservation of Historic Adobe Buildings” Preservation Briefs 5, National Park Service. <http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/briefs/brief05.htm> 4/29/07 Tony Crosby, “Investigation of the Adobe Remains” in Fort Selden State Monument General Management Plan (2004), <http://www.nmmonuments.org/publications/selden_08.pdf> 4/29/07 Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings, National Park Service <http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/soldier/sitec11.htm> 3/12/07 Casa Grande National Monument, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/cagr/> 2/11/07
City of Casa Grande General Plan 2010, 7.0 Environmental Planning Element <http://www.ci.casa-grande.az.us/pandz/pdf/10environmentalplanning.pdf> 4/17/07 Cornerstones Community Partnerships, Newsletter <http://cstones.org/newsletter/faq.html> 1/28/07 Dorgan House. Texas Tech. University, College of Architecture, Architecture Research Center < http://www.orgs.ttu.edu/architecturalresearchcenter/hist-pres/dorgansublett.htm> 2/12/07 Fort Bowie <www2.nature.nps.gov/views/sites/FOBO/ET_FOBO.htm> 2/20/07 Fort Bowie <http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-IMPACT/2001/November/Day16/i28712.htm> 2/23/06 Fort Bowie <http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/fobo/clr.pdf> 4/30/07 Fort Craig, Fort Craig, National Historic Site, 150 Years of New Mexico History <http://www.nm.blm.gov/sfo/fort_craig/fort_craig_history.htm> 2/12/07 Socorro Resource Management Plan, U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces District, Socorro Resource Area, Aug. 1989 Resource Management Plan, Special Management Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, <http://www.nm.blm.gov/sfo/sfo_rmp/RMP_Section5_Part2.pdf> 2/19/07 Socorro Resource Management Plan, U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces District, Socorro Resource Area, Aug. 1989 Fort Craig <http://www.nm.blm.gov/sfo/sfo_rmp/RMP_Section2.pdf> p. 2-34. 2/19/07 Fort Selden State Monument, General Management Plan, 167. <http://www.nmmonuments.org/publications.php?inst=10> 4/29/07 Fort Union National Monument, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/foun/> 2/16/07 The National Park Service Organic Act, 1916 < http://www.nps.gov/legacy/organicact.htm> 4/20/07 Sharp, Jay W. On the Way to Paquime. <http://www.desertusa.com/mag00/aug/stories/paquime.html> 6/1/07 Paquimé, Keith Kintigh, Buried Civilization of the Americas. <http://www.public.asu.edu/~kintigh/asb223/bc27paqu.htm> 4/26/07. Michael Romero Taylor, Earthen Architecture Preservation Along the Borderlands— Symposia Between Mexico and the United States, Cultural Resource Management. <http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/20-11/20-11-8.pdf> 5/15/07
Tumacacori National Historical Park, Homepage <http://www.nps.gov/tuma/> 5/01/07 Tumacacori, Preservation Efforts: A Legacy in Ruins <www.nps.gov/archive/tuma/pres_Efft.html> 2/19/07 Vanishing Treasures, Year End Report, 2002, National Park Service <http://www.cr.nps.gov/archeology/VT/2002yr.pdf> 1/30/07 Vanishing Treasures, Year End Report, 2000, National Park Service <http://www.cr.nps.gov/archeology/vt/2000yr.pdf> 3/11/07 ICCROM Newsletter, No. 30 (June 2004): 13. <http://www.iccrom.org/eng/02info_en/02_03newsl_en/newsl_en/newsl30_en.pdf> 3/19/07. US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 10, 1994. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1994_Issues/1994_no_10.ht m> 3/12/07 US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 6, 1995. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1995_Issues/1995_no_6.htm #2> 1/22/07 US/ICOMOS, Committee on Earthen Architecture, No. 5, 1997. <http://www.icomos.org/usicomos/Publications/Newsletters/1997_Issues/1997_no_5.htm > 2/26/07
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