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 360 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, publications and events.

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. Contact us here or on

Latest information on the Polychromy Round Table meeting

The 12th International Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture
Art & Science Unite! Interdisciplinary Polychromy Research
18 – 21 November 2024

at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The Call for Papers is now closed.

Selected papers will be announced after 8 April 2024, more details including a program schedule will follow.

For further information contact:

Updated: 09/02/2024  

                                                                                                                                  More on Next Meeting

Latest News

"The Role of a Replica": New exhibit at The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee

With a focus on the Parthenon sculptures, The Role of a Replica is a hands-on, interactive exhibition exploring the ways in which historical and artistic replicas can illuminate our lost history. The exhibition illustrates how these replicas are currently used to communicate the latest archeological discoveries and interpretations. Interactive displays teach museumgoers how molds and casts of fragments of ancient statuary can be used to reconstruct their original appearance within their original architectural context. It also shows how modern scientific investigations can reveal lost colors on ancient statuary. Plaster casts, archival materials, and other resources and technologies can help researchers to reconstruct fragmented sculptures.

For more information see the exhibit page: 

Digital resources page:

Added: 13/10/2023

Image courtesy of the Parthenon. Photo: Von Resich Photography.

Image courtesy of the Parthenon. Photo: Von Resich Photography.

                                                                                                                                                   More News

Latest Publications

New articles!

"Roman Britain in Colour – Roman Altars from Hadrian's Wall Reimagined"

Andrew Parkin

Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal, 20246(1), 1–19.

Read more here:

Published online - 19/01/2024.

"Analyses of the brown stain on the Parthenon Centaur head in Denmark"

Kaare Lund Rasmussen, Bodil Bundgaard Rasmussen, Thomas Delbey, Ilaria Bonaduce, Frank Kjeldsen and Vladimir Gorshkov 

Heritage Science, 202412, 1-17.

Read more here:

Published online - 16/01/2024.

“An Achaemenid God in Color”

Susanne Ebbinghaus, Katherine Eremin, Judith A. Lerner, Alexander Nagel and Angela Chang

Heritage 2024, 7(1), 1-49.

Read more here:

Published online - 19/12/2023.

New books!

"Senses, Cognition, and Ritual Experience in the Roman World"

Blanka Misic, Abigail Graham (Editors)

Published by Cambridge University Press

How do the senses shape the way we perceive, understand, and remember ritual experiences? This book applies cognitive and sensory approaches to Roman rituals, reconnecting readers with religious experiences as members of an embodied audience. These approaches allow us to move beyond the literate elites to examine broader audiences of diverse individuals, who experienced rituals as participants and/or performers. Case studies of ritual experiences from a variety of places, spaces, and contexts across the Roman world, including polytheistic and Christian rituals, state rituals, private rituals, performances, and processions, demonstrate the dynamic and broad-scale application that cognitive approaches offer for ancient religion, paving the way for future interdisciplinary engagement.

More details here.

Published - 25/01/2024.

Upcoming Events

International Conference - Polychrome Monuments in the Roman Provinces Detection, Interpretation, Visualisation. Heritage Science Austria, ÖAW, Vienna, Austria.

20th - 21st March, 2024.

The conference will focus on the polychrome appearance of stone monuments in the Roman provinces. Although numerous examples with well-preserved colour settings from different regions of the Roman Empire have survived, research into them is still in its infancy. In contrast to the sculptural and architectural heritage of the Mediterranean region, no comprehensive studies on the use, the extent, and the materiality of coloured surfaces on stone are yet available for the peripheral areas of the empire.

For more information and the call for papers, see here.

Share this page: 

© Copyright J. Dyer @ British Museum