With the aim of preserving mural painting distributed in Mexican Prehispanic sites, the National Program on Prehispanic Mural Painting Conservation was implemented, allowing a planned, consistent and continue protection strategy for murals found in diverse, complex contexts.

At the presentation of the project, Alfonso de Maria y Campos, general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) expressed that the collaboration between the Institute, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) and Universita degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI) gratified him.

At the event that took place at the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA), Dr. Piero Baglioni, professor at University of Florence (UNIFI), was acknowledged for his work applying nanotechnology to preserve cultural goods, allowing stabilization of pictorial work in several archaeological sites in Mexico.

In presence of Dr. Maria Teresa Ugarte Castañeda, director of the Prehispanic Mural Painting Seminar at UNAM, Alfonso de Maria presented the highest distinction awarded by INAH, Caballero Aguila Prize, to Piero Baglioni, for his contribution to research and preservation of national heritage.

The INAH director announced that the program will begin in sites where INAH, UNAM and Baglioni have been working: Calakmul, Campeche; Tlatelolco, Mexico City; Cholula, Puebla, and Mayapan, Yucatan. For the last 2 years, polymers applied decades ago have been removed because they harm paintings.

Other archaeological sites considered in the program are Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala; Tamuin, San Luis Potosi, and Bonampak, Chiapas, where the 2009 field season had excellent results.

Information obtained from the Conservation Program research will be part of a conservation and research center designed to attend different regions of Mexico, with short, medium and long term goals.

De Maria y Campos expressed that launching the National Program on Prehispanic Mural Painting Conservation represents the impulse of INAH to join work from different areas such as archaeology and conservation with a common purpose.    

“It is important to add up and not subtract, in this case, with the University of Florence, alma mater of conservation in Mexico, and UNAM, where the interest of Dr. Beatriz de la Fuente originated a complete registration and study of Pre-Columbian pictorial expressions at the Prehispanic Mural Painting Seminar”, added the historian.

The Conservation Program will integrate important examples of mural painting from the transition period at the 16th century, painted by Indigenous and Spanish hands after the foundation of the New Spain.

Lilia Rivero Webber, national coordinator of Cultural Heritage Conservation at the Institute, said that to achieve the aforementioned aims is necessary to develop a program with 3 lines of action: diagnosis, integral proposal and management.

Among specific objectives are compilation of information obtained by the different areas during 20 years, to elaborate diagnosis; carrying out regional reports based on inspection visits to different archaeological sites, and evaluation of prior interventions.

Mapping of sites that require emergency conservation work will be conducted, and lines of work of the strategic plan will be established, where different areas of the Institute will participate: Parting from this, specific projects will be implemented according to problematic of each archaeological site.