The Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC)

The Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology (ICAC) is dedicated to research, training and the dissemination of knowledge in the field of classical civilization and culture. It is an international scientific benchmark in the sphere of classical archaeology and has links with institutions, research institutes and universities all over the world.

Its field of study consists mainly of the Mediterranean arch and its surroundings in which the classical cultures developed, and focuses largely on Catalonia, a territory rich in ancient architectural remains and a region in which Greek colonization and the westward expansion of Rome played a major role. It is also involved in international research projects and plays a part along with the Rovira i Virgili University and the Autonomous University of Barcelona in the archaeological mission at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt.

The institute is based in Tarragona, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built upon the remains of the ancient city of Tarraco. This city, the former capital of the Roman province of Hispania Citerior, is itself an interesting laboratory for archaeological research.

Research at ICAC

Teaching, research and an impressive range of major publications are three of this institute's strong points. Together with other Catalan and European universities, it organizes an inter-university master's degree programme in classical archaeology.

The centre's main lines of research are:

  • Archaeology of the ancient city
  • Archaeology of the landscape
  • Materials and trade in the ancient world
  • Artistic production

Around fifty researchers work within the institute, some of whom are in training. Some of its more noteworthy research projects include funerary Tarraco and the Roman site at Can Tacó (Montmeló, Montornès del Vallès), where a castellum watched over traffic on the Via Augusta, as well as coordinating archaeological projects in mountain areas. It also creates virtual laboratories applying new technology to archaeology to allow on-line access to a site in the form of a description of the material found there.

ICAC has a team of specialists from different fields working together at nearby sites. The use of advanced techniques applied to archaeology, widely-recognized graphic documentation and archaeometry units and the organization of specialist seminars featuring international experts, as well as its inter-disciplinary approach, have made ICAC a unique centre in Europe.

The institute's graphic documentation unit and archaeometric study unit also provide important services to students and researchers.