Four archaeological sites of the Maya region and one of Olmeca affiliation in Chalcatzingo, Morelos, will receive economic support to conserve the Prehispanic buildings from World Monuments Fund (WMF).

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the WMF have worked jointly for several years to design strategies that allow conservation of constructed cultural heritage in Mexico. In 2009 this work consists on restoration of Maya and Olmeca cultures sites.

Norma Barbacci, WMF director of Programs for Latin America, Spain and Portugal, informed that in 2008 Mexico presented the proposal to rescue Chalcatzingo Archaeological Zone, and a sponsor was found recently.

“We found a donor interested in Olmeca Culture who offers a fund that allows attending the site”.

Funds are in process of being delivered and possibly they will be used to elaborate roofs to protect very fragile archaeological elements, among them, Olmeca petroglyphs. “In the case of Chalcatzingo site, the recent acquisition by INAH of the terrains where it is found, means a great advance that will allow their recovery and protection”, she remarked.

Other projects are located in the Maya area, with conservation work financed by WMF and research by Yucatan State Government and Fomento Cultural Banamex. They include Chichen Itza, Kabah, Ake and Xocnaceh.

The later was informed by the WMF officer during her participation in the first “Workshop of Guidelines to Implement Architectonic Covers in Archaeological Contexts” developed by INAH to resolve problematic regarding roofs that protect heritage in archaeological sites.

Barbacci remarked that “Mexico is a privileged country in Latin America to count with INAH among its culture instances; government has empowered a specialized organism in heritage attention, which also has the technical ability to attend archaeological sites”.

She recalled that during the coordinated work INAH and WMF have been developing in restoration and conservation projects such as Yaxchilan, Chiapas, where in the next months prior restoration tasks will be retaken.

“There is also a project in northern Mexico to rescue sites in Chihuahua State, still being defined, which could be Cuarenta Casas or Huapoca”, she mentioned.

She declared that restoration of an altarpiece and ex convent was finished at Coixtlahuaca, Oaxaca, while in the Franciscan conventual’s conjunct of San Juan Bautista, in Cuauhtinchan, Puebla, similar work is being conducted with financing provided by Sociedad de Amigos de Cuauhtinchan.

Norma Barbacci recalled that every 2 years the WMF integrates a list of world sites that need attention and observation, according to proposals presented by the organisms in charge of their conservation in each nation.

“World Monuments Fund does not intervene in a site if it is not invited by appropiated authorities; there must be solicitude by those who study and conserve the site and the instances in charge of fundraising to attend heritage, as INAH”.

“When a monument is included in the list, it becomes priority for the WMF, and an international campaign begins to find resources among philanthropists”, she concluded.