Reconstruction of Early Christian architecture in the Middle East. Comparison of methods, metrological problems and 3D reconstruction approaches


Vacatello Federica Vacatello

Federica Vacatello

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Fabbri Sara Fabbri

Sara Fabbri

University of Perugia, Italy

D'Alessandro Ambra D'Alessandro

Ambra D'Alessandro

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy


In archaeological research on the forms of Christian cult buildings in the Middle Eastern area (domus ecclesiae, ecclesiae, martiria, diakonie, monastery etc..), there is an ongoing debate regarding the adherence to precise architectural modules dictated by liturgies, the forms of interior furnishings influenced by different cultures, and the measurements of elevations and structures, all of which are the subject of specific studies in the field.

Despite the considerable scientific production on the archaeological aspect, the reconstructive one, especially for rural contexts, still seems to be little explored.

The aim of this session is to investigate the reconstruction of buildings using digital tools such as CAD, GIS, 3D modelling and rendering, 3D printing and AI. These tools allow the formulation of new questions through the evaluation of metrological aspects in support of existing reconstructions.

For this reason, we would like to encourage the participation of all papers that contribute to this debate and/or present different case studies and problems related to the digital reconstruction of Christian architecture in the Middle East, including literary and cartographic sources.


Federica Vacatello, is a Research Fellow in Post-Classical Archaeology at the Department of Antiquities of the University of Rome Sapienza and is currently Director of Excavation Topography at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (Israel). Her research experience is strongly focused on landscape archaeology and medieval topography, investigating the relationship between settlement and the geomorphology of the occupied territory, in order to understand how the physical conditions of a given space may have influenced the articulation of human structures and how these may then have had an impact on the landscape itself. In this field, her research methods involve the use of topographical survey tools (aerial and ground), photogrammetry and GIS and 3D GIS software for the management and analysis of archaeological data.
In May 2022 she received his PhD in Post-Classical Archaeology from the 'Sapienza' University of Rome. The archaeological research carried out in this field has also allowed her to deepen another area of research that has seen her involved as PI in several national and international research projects aimed at developing open source robotic systems (hardware and software) to answer specific archaeological questions. These include the NGS and Sapienza grants for the development of various aerial solutions. These solutions are used to survey specific markers (UAVIMALS project) and to acquire spectral signatures of materials (GianoCamgic). They are also used to create digital twins of interiors (ArcheoSystem).

Sara Fabbri, is a PhD student in Archaeology at the University of Perugia.
Her research concerns the design and development of a "Virtual Archaeological Park" in the Mount Nebo area in Jordan. The aim is to use the philologically correct approach of the Extended Matrix method to propose three-dimensional reconstructions of some of the monuments in the area, in their different phases. The investigated sites include monuments from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period.
Since 2021, the research has focused on the Madaba Cathedral and Kh. al-Mukhayyat sites in the Zarqa Governorate in Jordan.
Previous excavation and research activities focused on classical and landscape archaeology.

Ambra D'Alessandro, is an archaeologist who earned a PhD from the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology in the academic year 2020/2021. Her thesis, entitled 'Burials in the Villas of the Roman Suburbs between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages,' was awarded a grade of MAGNA CUM LAUDE. During the 2021-2022 academic year, she won the PhD competition in Archaeology and Post-classical Antiquity at 'Sapienza' University of Rome, XXXVII cycle, with a thesis titled 'Agia Polis: the transformation of the city from Constantine to the conquest (637-638)' (supervised by F.R. Stasolla, co-supervised by M.V. David) without a scholarship. On April 1, 2022, she was awarded a Type I, Category B research grant to carry out her research. This is a research project titled 'Agia Polis: analysis of the urban context of late antique Jerusalem, development and relations with the Holy Sepulchre complex'. The project is still ongoing. The research focuses on reconstructing the Christian topography of urban and suburban contexts in Italy and the Middle East by examining the relationship between written sources and archaeological data.


Univ Malta