ACoR. Atlas of Roman building techniques

Helene DESSALES (Teacher-researcher/ ENS-PSL)
Agnes TRICOCHE (Research/ CNRS)
, updated on
17 July 2021

Established in 2012, the ACoR program aims to develop an atlas of Roman building techniques with a wide chronological and geographical range.

The ACoR programme, digital Atlas of Roman building techniques, has been developed as part of the Laboratoire d’excellence TransferS and its digital humanities unit. It has led to the creation of an international consortium, gathering different partners: in France, AOROC Laboratory (UMR 8546, École normale supérieure – PSL University) and IRAA laboratory (USR 3155); in Italy, Universities of Padua, Trento, Roma Tre and the Soprintendenza per il Colosseo, il Museo Nazionale Romano e l’area archeologica di Roma; in Spain, the Archaeological institute of Mérida (CSIC) and the University of Seville.

This programme aims to develop an atlas of Roman building techniques with a wide chronological and geographical range. It has resulted in the creation of a database and a website that makes available a collection of building techniques, all of which have been identified, classified and localised within their territory, site, and building.

At the 'building' level, the morphological characterisation follows and distinguishes the different steps of construction work: preparation of the ground, foundations, elevations, openings, roof coverings, floors, service structures, and arches (the latter of which can be studied on its own or alongside the other stages). Additionally, we provide a specialised analysis of the archaeological remnants at each stage of the construction process.



The website was finalized in March 2021. Now open accessit is hosted by the TGIR Huma-Num, and harvested by its research platform Isidore. It is trilingual (static presentation pages, search interfaces, content of the metadata of the techniques listed). These interconnected techniques can be accessed on this site via four different methods:

  • A multi-criteria search form
  • Filter by building technique types (building techniques are grouped according to common features)
  • A cartographic representation
  • An interactive illustrated handbook presenting the main characterisation elements for each building intervention

The ACoR consortium is currently working on a paper edition of the illustrated manual for the end of 2021, planned in the collection "Costruire nel mondo antico" (Quasar). The aim is to describe and clarify the thesaurus on which the indexing of construction techniques in the ACoR atlas is based. In addition, it is the method implemented in the completion of this digital program that is presented in detail.


Directors at the ENS-PSL

  • Hélène DESSALESAssociate professor of classical archaeology, École normale supérieure (Département des Sciences de l'Antiquité, AOROC) – PSL
  • Agnès TRICOCHE, Engineer at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Archaeology & Philology of the East and West Laboratory (AOROC) - CNRS ENS PSL

Others members of the ACoR consortium

  • Jacopo BONETTO, Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Padua, Department of Cultural Heritage
  • Evelyne BUKOWIECKI, Engineer | Head of the archaeology laboratory and monitoring of archaeological projects at the École française de Rome
  • Stefano CAMPOREALE, Associate professor of classical archaeology, University of Siena, Department of Historical Sciences and Cultural Heritage
  • Maura MEDRI, Full Professor of Methodologies of Archaeological Research and Archaeology of Standing Buildings | Roma Tre University, Department of Humanities
  • Rossella PANSINI, Research assistant, University of Siena
  • Antonio PIZZO, Researcher at Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Spain), Director of Spanish School of History and Archaeology in Rome
  • Caterina PREVIATO, Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology, University of Padua, Department of Cultural Heritage
  • Oliva RODRIGUEZ, Faculty member, Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, Universidad de Sevilla
  • Mirella SERLORENZI, Coordinating Director Archaeologist Officer | Ministry of Culture - Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio (SSABAP), Rom


  • S. Camporeale, H. Dessales, A. Tricoche (éd.), Atlante delle tecniche della costruzione romana. Manuale, Rome, in progress.