Since 2014, I have been a permanent agent at Inrap where I work as an archaeologist. I intervene specifically in operations concerning the Roman period due to my university education.
For this “Day of Archaeology”, I would like to share with you my vision of the profession of an archaeologist and his or her role in the promotion of archaeology. In my experience, I have observed that archaeological news is sometimes transmitted late to the public due to the sequence of operations dictated by the profession.
From research to valorisation
I began to think about this during my training as a guide, and realized that it is sometimes difficult to gather all the information generated by an excavation and then rapidly transmit it to the public. This observation led me to create the association “Alter Ego Rennes”, dedicated to the promotion of archaeology in universities. This association, which I preside, create exhibits, organizes presentations and educational workshops, supports student projects and organizes thematic sessions on archaeology and excavations in Morocco.
My work at Inrap inspires and give meaning to my desire to transmit archaeological information. Indeed each time I was offered the opportunity, I participated in valorisation projects such as the National Archaeology Days, the European Heritage Days, and other events; for example, I have led guided visits to the 3rd century fortified wall of Rennes and organized an initiation to archaeology program in four sessions for an elementary school group from Rennes.
The Alter Ego Rennes – Inrap partnership
In 2014, I was happily surprised to see my professional and associative projects converge: Inrap wanted to develop a partnership with the project I was organizing with the students in the association on Antique pottery, called « pottery in archaeology: digging up the past in old pots ».
The event was so successful that the association was asked to participate in the National Archaeology Days. On this occasion, we presented our new project “Wood, the bark of our past”. My double duty nonetheless complicated my life: I not only had to both help my colleagues responsible for cultural development and communication in the creation of the archaeology village at the Musée des Champs Libres in Rennes, but also help the students finish the project on wood. Suffice it to say that the days leading up to the National Archaeology Days were very long!
From 8:00 to 17:00, I was at the archaeological centre of Rennes: printing-cutting and assembling the participant’s badges, installing the “mock excavation”, preparing pedagogical documents for the physical anthropology and pottery workshops, shopping for various materials for the events, preparing t-shirts for the Inrap colleagues participating in the events, plastifying the visit materials, verifying the exhibit panels when they were delivered, transporting materials to the Champs Libres museum, installing the stands, constructing the exhibits, distributing brochures, etc…
Before 8:00 and after 17:00, I worked with Alter Ego Rennes: correcting the exhibit panels, contacting the specialists providing materials, making round-trips to the print-shop, cutting-painting-plastifying various materials for the events, coordinating students, looking for funding, shopping for numerous and varied items in hardware stores, repairing a Playmobile diorama, etc… Not to mention the well-deserved hours reserved for sleeping !
Conclusion: “I am an archaeologist, but not only…”
Through my work in the field, on Inrap valorisation projects, and on those of the association, I try to bring together the many people who participate to greater or lesser extent in archaeology: students, archaeologists, pottery specialists, topographers, physical anthropologists, as well as all of the specialists from other institutions, without forgetting… the public, so that all of these people can meet, share and promote archaeology together !
Marie-Laure Thierry, Inrap archaeologist, chairwoman of Alter Ego Rennes association