Numerical models, particularly finite element models, are routinely used in the analysis of the global mechanical and hydraulic behaviour of dam-foundation systems under normal operating conditions. Discrete element techniques have the ability to represent the discontinuous nature of rock, allowing the analysis of the stability of rock blocks, within the frame of a global model of the dam-foundation system. For dam foundation studies, discrete element models that incorporate deformable blocks are preferable, since structural behaviour may be strongly influenced by the rock mass deformability, particularly in the case of heterogeneous conditions. The representation of the mechanical behaviour of a jointed rock mass by an equivalent continuum medium has been a frequent choice in dam foundation studies. Such capability is required for the analysis and evaluation of monitoring data from piezometers and drains. The finite element method is the technique more widely used in dam foundation analysis, and a large literature is available on the subject.