The aim of the Research Project is to investigate the seismic behavior of columns and colonnades, when the drums’ interfaces are reinforced with dowels (gomfoi).

Although the presence of iron connectors of rectangular parallelepiped shape was known mainly for connecting horizontal members, the Research Project was based on the dowels found during the recent restoration works at the Olympieion, Athens. The investigation of monuments in the city of Athens, in Peloponnese, with on-site visits, but also in the rest of Greece and in Turkey, through literature study, indicated that dowels were used in many cases, after the Classical Era, that is, during the Hellenistic and Roman Era. The use of dowels was systematic when the column drums were slender, with ratio of height to diameter greater than unity. The use of connectors was systematically studied. The on-site investigations were carried out through visual observation, while, wherever possible, namely in the Temple of Hephaestus and Temple of Olympian Zeus, the radar technique was applied, for the in-depth investigation.

Based on the study of the monuments and after choosing the monument considered to be the most suitable for the experimental investigation (Gymnasium of Ancient Messene), preliminary analyses were carried out, using two different methods, the analysis with finite elements (FE) or with discrete elements (DE). The two methods led to similar conclusions. The performed analyses assisted in the design of the experimental program, the selection of the appropriate accelerograph, as well as in the design of the testing instrumentation. The tests, of columns, without and with connectors between the drums, either free-standing, or with architraves, have been completed.

The Research Project, when completed, is to contribute to the understanding of the observed behavior and, consequently, to the restoration of monuments of Classical, Hellenistic and Roman antiquity.

The Project is innovative in providing the world’s first experimental results (via shaking table tests) on the contribution of dowels to the seismic behavior of columns and colonnades.