University of Rochester

Research in ATHS

A prominent feature of the program is undergraduate research under the aegis of both the University of Rochester and prestigious foreign academic institutions to address issues of interpretation, conservation, and restoration of the world’s cultural heritage.

Students interested in research should consider the ATHS research-oriented path comprised of NINE courses plus an 8 credit Senior Project.

  • 3 Foundation courses. Students choose 3 of 6 foundation courses (one each from engineering, archaeology, and architecture). Foundation courses are mandatory and should be completed by the end of the fifth semester.
  • 3 Core courses. At least two of the three required core courses must be selected from the same core.
  • 3 Elective courses. The remaining three courses may be selected from either the electives or the core courses.
  • Senior Project (8 credit hours total taken over two semesters). The senior thesis/project is based on the student’s area of interest and must be conducted under the supervision of an ATHS faculty member. Before registering for senior year courses the student must prepare a thesis/project proposal in consultation with the ATHS faculty member who has agreed to supervise the research, and submit it for approval by the ATHS program director.

Please contact Prof. Renato Perucchio, at, for any questions concerning ATHS undergraduate research projects.

Faculty Research

Renato Perucchio

Renato Perucchio, Ph.D.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering and of Biomedical Engineering, and Director of the Program in Archaeology, Technology, and Historical Structures.

Prof. Perucchio’s current research and teaching interests are in computational solid and structural mechanics and in the development of engineering design practices in Classical Antiquity. He is directing projects on the structural design of monumental concrete domes and vaults of Roman Imperial architecture, in the computational and experimental modeling of the seismic behavior of Moche Huacas of pre-Hispanic Peru, and on the development of solid modeling and augmented reality procedures for the structural conservation of archaeological monuments. All projects are highly multidisciplinary: Perucchio and his students work with leading experts in Roman and Peruvian archeology and architecture, with the curators of major archaeological monuments, and with prominent colleagues in engineering and the humanities. Prof. Perucchio has directed several undergraduates ATHS-related research projects and undergraduates students have been involved in all aspects of his research.

About my research »»

Prof. Perucchio’s Xerox Research Project


Elizabeth Colantoni

Elizabeth Colantoni

Assistant Professor of Classics.

My teaching is focused on Classical archaeology, ancient history, and Latin, and my research interests are in Etruscan and Roman archaeology, ancient Roman religion, and early Rome.

Learn more about my research »»
Summer Course in Italy »»

Sample Projects

  • "The Living and the Dead: The Feasibility of Interpreting Details of Life from Funerary Evidence" (Dawn Batts, senior project, 2010)
  • Paper on the Sea Peoples and societal collapse at the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean (Angelica Kanganis, senior project, 2011)
  • Paper on religion and Romanization in ancient Britain (Leah Barish, independent study, 2011)
  • "The Significance of the Architecture and Decoration of the Colosseum for Ancient Roman Society" (Sarah Ackroyd, independent study, 2011)


Cynthia Ebinger

Cynthia Ebinger, Ph.D.

Professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Prof. Ebinger's current research and teaching interests are in the monitoring and remote imaging of active deformation of Earth's plates, and in imaging shallow subsurface archeological structures. She co-leads several cross-cutting international projects monitoring active faults and volcanoes, with societal relevance in terms of natural hazard mitigation, as well as the development and application of high resolution imaging technology. Prof. Ebinger has participated in four ATHS-related expeditions to Italy, and she has co-advised research projects involving undergraduate students in the field and in the laboratory. New directions include collaborations with international collaborators from the UK and Italy in field and laboratory studies.

Sample Projects

  • 2009  Geophysical imaging of the Torano, Italy archeological site
  • 2013  Geophysical imaging of the Villa Severi, Italy, archeological site


Michael Jarvis

Michael Jarvis, Ph.D.

BA, archaeology and history, Rutgers University; Ph.D., early American history, College of William and Mary.

I have excavated a wide variety of historical archaeology sites since 1988, working with Sturbridge Village, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the National Parks Service, Jamestown Rediscovery, the Bermuda National Trust, National Museum of Bermuda, the St. George's Foundation, the Bermuda Government, and the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research. In the 1980s and early 1990s, I focused on Revolutionary-period military and blacksmith sites and early Chesapeake sites and was part of the 1995 Jamestown field school that discovered the footprint of the original 1607 fort. Most of my more recent archaeological and historical research has focused on Bermuda, where I've investigated the shift from timber-frame to stone vernacular architecture and completed intensive property reconstructions and architectural assessments for the entire town of St. Georges (1612 - present), the oldest continuously occupied town in English America.

In 2010, I launched the Smiths Island Archaeology Project, which takes a 60-acre island in St. George's Harbour as a unit for studying four centuries of changing maritime activities and land-use strategies, the lives of enslaved African and Native American Bermudians, and medical practices in an age of Atlantic epidemics. The island also boasts the first farm and homestead in Bermuda, the first place in English America where tobacco was cultivated (1610-1612) and which preceded Bermuda's formal colonization. In 2012, I began the first of a planned five-year series of UR undergraduate field schools to provide multidisciplinary training for students in archaeological excavation, analysis, and historical research techniques.

For results of the 2012 field school, please see:

Sample Projects

  • "Archaeological Insights into Bermuda's Earliest Architecture, 1609-1663" (Lily Carhart, Honors Thesis, 2011)
  • (Successful ATHS graduate, just accepted into the MA archaeology programs at the Universities of York and Reading)
  • "Cobblestone Architecture of the Erie Canal Corridor" 19th c. vernacular/local building tradition - 2010 paper
  • (proposed) GIS Reconstruction of the Townscape of 18th-century St. George's

Sample Projects

Archaeology/Art History/Classics/History

  1. Water networks in Roman Ostia
  2. Early Water-Driven Manufacturing Technology in Upstate New York
  3. The Architect/Engineer and the State


  1. The Dome in Roman and Byzantine Architecture
  2. From Supporting Arch to Flying Buttress
  3. Funerary Monuments in Islamic Architecture


  1. Masonry and Timber Bridge Structures
  2. Structural Analysis of the Gothic Cathedral
  3. Concrete Vaulting in Roman Imperial Baths