1 – 4 February 2008 ~ Bamako, Mali

Terra 2008

Terra 2008

Terra 2008, the 10th International Conference on the Study and Conservation of Earthen Architectural Heritage, will take place in Bamako, Mali from February 1-5, 2008. This is the 10th conference organized by the earthen architecture community under the aegis of ICOMOS since 1972, and the first to be held in Africa. The conference is expected to draw up to 300 specialists in the fields of conservation, anthropology, archaeology, architecture and engineering, scientific research, site management, and sustainable development of earthen architectural heritage. Organized by The Getty Conservation Institute and the Ministry of Culture of Mali in collaboration with Africa 2009 | CRATerre | ICOMOS South Africa | ICCROM | World Heritage Centre under the aegis of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Earthen Architectural Heritage

The 4½-day program will include papers and posters that reflect the latest research and best practice in the study and conservation of earthen architecture around the world. As the first such conference to be held in Africa, it also presents a unique occasion to discuss conservation issues particular to sub-Saharan Africa.


The eight themes to be addressed are listed below. Each theme is intended to encompass a range of papers reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the field. Papers are encouraged that present recent research and innovative practice in training, documentation, laboratory and field testing, and implementation, as well as issues of socio-cultural and economic dynamics of conservation, impact of tourism, and development on heritage sites. Suggested topics follow each theme.

Earthen architecture in Mali

  • Conservation of earthen archaeological sites and historic buildings
  • Site management of earthen architectural heritage
  • Sustainable earthen building practices

Conservation and management of archaeological sites

  • Ethical issues of conservation of earthen materials in the archaeological context
  • Excavation and conservation as coordinated activities on earthen sites
  • Visitor impact on earthen sites

Conservation of living sites (cities, settlements, cultural landscapes)

  • Integration of modern amenities into traditional earthen buildings and cities
  • Planning for conservation
  • Raising awareness of the value of earthen architecture for living and working

Challenges and opportunities of conservation and development

  • Tourism and earthen sites
  • Consideration of heritage issues in development projects
  • The relevance of earth in new construction
  • Contemporary earthen construction

Local knowledge systems and intangible aspects of earthen architecture

  • Earthen architecture as cultural expression
  • Inventorying, documenting, and sustaining local knowledge systems
  • Traditional methods of passing on traditions
  • Materials, techniques, and significance of decorated surfaces

Standards and guidelines for new and existing structures

  • Building codes for new and existing structures
  • Applicability of existing charters to earthen architecture
  • Towards a charter specific to earthen architecture
  • Ethics and values in conservation of earthen architecture

Seismic and other natural forces

  • How to restore a city after destruction, and to what extent
  • Technical advances
  • Reconstruction vs. restoration
  • Impact of climatic changes

Advances in research

  • Traditional and modern materials for building and for conservation
  • Laboratory and site testing of materials and methods of conservation
  • Evaluations of past treatments, projects and practices

Presentations & Languages

Presentations will be limited to twenty minutes. Each session will be followed by ample discussion time. A working group program will allow for smaller group presentations. Guidelines for presentations and posters will be sent to authors whose papers or posters are accepted for presentation. Presenters will be asked to submit their presentation texts one month ahead of the conference for the interpreters to prepare for the conference.

Papers and posters will be accepted in French and English only, the official languages for presentation and publication. Simultaneous interpretation between French and English will be provided during conference sessions.

Conference programme

Thu, Jan 31 — Arrival into Bamako airport and complimentary transfer to the conference hotels
Fri, Feb 1 — Opening ceremony; keynote address; presentations; reception hosted by the organizers
Sat, Feb 2 — Presentations; poster session; reception hosted by the organizers
Sun, Feb 3 — Presentations
Mon, Feb 4 — Presentations; working group sessions
Tue, Feb 5 — Wrap up and closing session (morning); Bamako site visits (afternoon); outbound flights

Post-conference tour participants stay one extra night.

A preliminary conference schedule is available from the conference website.


This modern conference facility is located in downtown Bamako. Shuttle service between the official conference hotels and the Conference Center will be provided.

Registration fee

The conference registration fee is 240 €, payable by credit card. Malian and West-African nationals not affiliated with an international organization can register for 80 € or 50,000 CFA, payable by credit card or cash on site.

The registration fee covers: abstracts in French and English, conference program; receptions; visit to The National Museum of Mali; site visits in Bamako; airport transfers; daily transportation between the official conference hotels and the conference center; all lunches and daily coffee breaks during the conference. Further information and accommodation costs can be found in the Terra 2008 Conference Costs PDF.

Funding opportunities

There will be limited sources of funding available for participants who require financial assistance to attend the conference. Participants must indicate a need for funding when sending their registration form. They will be directed to the most likely source of funding and asked to complete an application for funding assistance by June 30.

Optional post-conference tours

Post-conference tours will be offered for a maximum of ninety participants to visit several sites representing the rich and diverse earthen architectural traditions of Mali. The tour program and logistics will be organized by a local Malian travel agency in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Mali and The National Department of Cultural Patrimony in the various locations. Experienced staff and guides of the Department of Cultural Patrimony will present all sites to the groups.

Tour A: Short tour Mopti/Djenné ~ February 6–8, 2007: 3 days / 2 nights – 30 participants
Tour B: Long tour Tombouctou/Mopti/Djenné/Dogon ~ February 6–10, 2007: 5 days / 4 nights – 30 participants
Tour C: Long tour Mopti/Djenné/Dogon ~ February 6–10, 2007, 5 days / 4 nights – 30 participants

Detailed itineraries, costs and further information for the three tours can be found on page 6 of the official Terra 2008 2nd Announcement PDF. Registrations for the post-conference tours will be taken starting at that time on a first come first serve basis. Advance payment will be required. Registration for the post-conference tours will close in July 2007.

Flights, Visas, Travel and Accommodation in Mali

Interested conference participants should be aware that travel to Mali requires a visa and yellow fever immunization, as well as anti-malaria medication. Detailed travel information can be found on page 4 of the official Terra 2008 2nd Announcement PDF.


January 30, 2007 – Second announcement
April 2, 2007 – Abstracts submission
July, 2007 – Paper/poster acceptance notice and mailing of guidelines to authors
July 30, 2007 – Postconference tour registration
November 30, 2007 – Conference registration
February 1–5, 2008 – Conference
February 6–10, 2008 – Postconference tours

Contact Information & Registration

Download › Registration form as Word Document.

General enquiries: Kathleen Louw › Email
Presentations: Leslie Rainer ›Email

The Getty Conservation Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA
Tel: 00 1 310 440 6216
Fax: 00 1 310 440 7709

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