International engagement in the conservation of earthen building materials, archaeology and architecture was first reflected in a series of still continuing and very active international conferences, which were instigated by ICOMOS in the 1970’s.
These conferences are intended to encourage an exchange of information, as a means to achieve greater understanding in earth studies and preservation efforts led by archaeologists, architects and conservation scientists. Over 36 years the focus of the “Terra” conferences has changed from archaeological sites, to standing earthen architecture, training, the use of chemicals in conservation, management planning, earthen cultural landscapes, disaster preparedness and mitigation, historic techniques informing new construction and many broader issues relating to the topic.
The papers produced from these conferences reflect the range of work being carried out, the extraordinary international partnerships being forged and the approaches to earthen architecture in an international context. The Terra papers and other contributions to these conferences represent the significant part of the literature and research related to the field of earthen architectural study.
The Terra series of international conferences continues to be held under the aegis of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage. In recent years the Getty Conservation Institute, CRATerre EAG and UNESCO World Heritage Centre have been very valued supporters of the Terra series.