A continuum model for regular block structures is derived by replacing the difference quotients of the discrete equations by corresponding differential quotients. The homogenization procedure leads to an anisotropic Cosserat Continuum. For elastic block interactions the dispersion relations of the discrete and the continuous models are derived and compared. Yield criteria for block tilting and sliding are formulated. An extension of the theory for large deformation is proposed. (C) 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.