The International Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture or the “Polychromy Round Table” is a series of meetings dedicated to the study of the polychromy of ancient sculpture and architecture.

The subject of colour in the ancient world has long fascinated scholars. Within the realm of Classical art, historians stretching back to the late eighteenth century have periodically addressed the topic that sculpture and architectural elements from the Greco-Roman world, and beyond, were originally highly coloured.

Recently, interest in this field has once more been reinvigorated by the advent of new scientific techniques and methodologies, as well as by a community of diverse and interdisciplinary scholars, dedicated to the study of the polychromy of ancient sculpture and architecture.

Since 2009, this growing network of scholars has met on a series of occasions(see Past Meetings), first held annually and, since 2016, biennially.

The meetings have a strong tradition of providing an excellent opportunity for experts from a wide range of fields (archaeologists, architectural historians, scientists, conservators, museum and digital humanities professionals) to discuss new research in a stimulating multidisciplinary setting. Papers from a variety of perspectives are encouraged and cover many aspects of polychromy in ancient sculpture and architecture.


The first meeting of the Polychromy Round Table, held at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen in 2009, was made up of only 11 participants. By comparison, 2020's virtual meeting had more than 300 registrants.

Image © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

This website collects the experience of these productive and rich encounters at the Polychromy Round Table, in the form of past programmes, abstracts and published proceedings. It also aims to provide a focal point for this network and research community to share news on its investigations.

In the inclusive spirit of the Polychromy Round Table and its network, this site also aims to reach out to other researchers who may be considering the subject of ancient polychromy from the Greco-Roman world or relevant comparative studies from their own interdisciplinary viewpoints, geographical areas and time periods.

Latest News

Deadline extended for the special issue of Heritage on "Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture"

The special issue, which will collect contributions to the 9th Polychromy Round Table & also invites articles from researchers who may be considering ancient polychromy from the Greco-Roman world & comparative studies from their own interdisciplinary viewpoints, geographical areas & time periods, now has a new deadline for submissions of 31st July 2022.

For more information, see:

Added: 06/01/2022                                                                                                                                                        More News

Latest Publications

New books!

"The Painted Tetrarchic Reliefs of Nicomedia: Uncovering the Colourful Life of Diocletian’s Forgotten Capital"

by Tuna Şare Ağtürk is out now published by Brepols.

The book presents the very first discussion of an astonishing group of painted Roman reliefs discovered from an imperial complex, at the centre of Diocletian’s empire at Nicomedia.

More information (including how to order) here.

"Les couleurs des albâtres anglais. Polychromie, production et perception médiévales"

by Markus Schlicht, Aurélie Mounier, Maud Mulliez, in collaboration with Pascal Mora and Romain Pacanowski, has been published by Ausonius editions.

The book details the work of a multidisciplinary team on the analysis and reconstruction of the polychromy of several English alabaster panels preserved in the Bordeaux region, and is available online at :

Download a free PDF copy of the book here.

A short video summary is available here.

New journal articles!

First paper of the special issue on "Polychromy in Sculpture and Architecture" in Heritage has been published!

"Portrait of an Etruscan Athletic Official: A Multi-Analytical Study of a Painted Terracotta Wall Panel"

by Monica Ganio, Douglas MacLennan, Marie Svoboda, Claire Lyons and Karen Trentelman from the Getty Conservation Institute and The J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA).

Read free and open-access here:

Upcoming Events

Next Polychromy Round Table coming in 2022!

The 11th International Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture will be held in Rome during the second week of November, 2022 and will be hosted jointly by the Musei Capitolini and the Museo Nazionale Romano. The theme will be ‘The Materiality of Polychromy’.

Please download the first circular here for more information:

PRT11_Rome_1stCircular.pdf PRT11_Rome_1stCircular.pdf
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