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CODE 106584
SEMESTER 1° Semester



Aim of the course is providing students with working methods and operational tools to analyze and date the buildings that still exist, taking into account their different conditions (in use, restored, plastered, abandoned, decaying) and their nature (simple or complex buildings, urban or rural, ...). In particular, the stratigraphic analysis of the elevations, the analysis of masonry techniques, the mensiochronology of bricks and masonry appliances, the chronotypology of the architectural elements, the dendrochronology in their basic principles and in their individual or associated uses will be illustrated, as well as in relation to other archaeometric tools and to the interpretation of indirect sources.


The course aims to provide students with the skills and competences to conduct the archaeological analysis of a historic building or part of it, in order to recognize its construction characteristics and peculiarities and to identify its construction period and subsequent phases of transformation (extensions, elevations, partial destruction, maintenance).

At the end of the course, the student will be able to

- use the specialized lexicon of the discipline and the pertinent coding and representation systems;

- design an archaeological analysis of different types of buildings by choosing the appropriate investigation tools for each case studied;

- identify, map and describe the stratigraphic units of a building, recognize their direct and indirect relationships, and draw the relative and absolute stratigraphic diagrams inherent to them;

- establish which data, measurements or samples are adequate for the purposes of an archaeological analysis of architecture;

- build or use a chronotypological database;

- construct, read and interpret a mensiochronological graph;

- study simple or complex buildings, either isolated or gathered in small or large agglomerations, using archaeometric and archaeological tools for the analysis and interpretation of architecture, as well as the indirect sources relating to it.


Possession of basic knowledge relating to the main historical building materials (stones, bricks and other ceramic products, mortars, metals, wood ...), with reference to their natural and technical characteristics and their methods of production, processing and installation.

Possession of basic knowledge relating to the main constituent elements of a pre-industrial building (masonry, vaults, floors, roofs, plasters, …).

It is advisable to first pass the exam of the course "Construction features of historic buildings" proposed for the 1st year of the degree course.


Lectures, perhaps even with the participation of external experts, classroom exercises and, if possible, didactic activities in the historic center and its surroundings.


Introduction to the subject (objectives, field of study, professionals involved)

1- Definitions and general concepts (also dealt with in part 2):

• Relative and absolute, direct and indirect dating

• “Natural chronometers” and dating based on rules of human behavior

• Local, regional, supra-regional chronological keys

• Stratigraphic units and stratigraphic relationships in the building

2 - Archaeological analysis of architecture methods (basic principles, fields of application, potentials and limits), with particular reference to the Ligurian experience:

• stratigraphy of the standing structures,

• configurational analysis of buildings with non-visible structures,

• analysis and comparison of masonry techniques,

• analysis and dating of mortars,

• mensiochronology of bricks,

• chrono-typology of architectural elements,

• dendrochronology.

3 - Application examples

Through real examples, the single and associated uses of the investigative methods will be examined, in relation to buildings with different characteristics and conservation statuses and dating back to different historical periods.

We will also provide indications for a correct and conscious use of written, cartographic and iconographic documents relating to the construction sector, with particular reference to the ancient technical lexicon used in Liguria from the Middle Ages onwards.


BOATO A., L’archeologia in architettura. Misurazioni, stratigrafie, datazioni, restauro, Marsilio, Venezia, 2008.

BOATO A., NAPOLEONE L., Ricostruire la storia degli edifici tramite l'archeologia dell'architettura, in S.F. Musso, Recupero e restauro degli edifici storici. Guida pratica al rilievo e alla diagnostica. IV edizione aggiornata e ampliata, EPC, Roma, 2016, pp. 331-458.

FRANCOVICH R., PARENTI R. (a cura di), Archeologia e restauro dei monumenti, I ciclo di lezioni sulla ricerca applicata in archeologia, Certosa di Pontignano (SI), 28 settembre-10 ottobre 1987, All'Insegna del Giglio, Firenze, 1988 (in particolare T. Mannoni, M. Milanese, Mensiocronologia, pp. 383-402; L. Castelletti, Dendrocronologia, pp. 421-454).

MANNONI T., Caratteri costruttivi dell’edilizia storica, Venticinque anni di archeologia globale, 3, Escum, Genova, 1994 (disponibile in pdf su

PITTALUGA D., La mensiocronologia dei mattoni. Per datare, per conoscere e per comprendere le strutture storiche, ECIG, Genova, 2009.

PITTALUGA D., Questioni di archeologia dell’architettura e restauro, ECIG, Genova, 2009

Recommended reading:

BROGIOLO G.P., CAGNANA A., Archeologia dell'architettura. Metodi e interpretazioni, All'Insegna del Giglio, Borgo San Lorenzo (FI), 2012

DOGLIONI F., Stratigrafia e restauro. Tra conoscenza e conservazione dell'architettura, Lint, Trieste, 1997.

Further specialized articles on the various topics covered will be indicated during the lessons and, when possible, provided in pdf format. The slides projected in class will also be made available to all students, both attending and non-attending.




First week of October

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



Oral exam, on the topics indicated in the program and illustrated during the lessons. The program and exam methods are the same for attending and non-attending students.


The oral exam consists of general and/or detailed questions asked to the student on the various topics in the program and may involve the request to carry out short stratigraphic analysis exercises on photographs proposed by the teachers. The oral exam will evaluate the overall and detailed knowledge acquired by the student, his ability to connect between the different topics covered in class, his ability to choose the best way to study any kind of architecture.

The assessment will take into account the mastery of the subject in its general aspects and its operational implications, the quality of the presentation, the correct use of the specialized vocabulary, the reasoning skills.