Let’s Dig Again – Archaeology, Communication and Music

We would like to participate in the Day of Archaeology to explain what an archaeologist could do with a webradio and a lot of ideas.

“Welcome to a new episode of Let’s Dig Again! Today, with our guests, we’re going to tell you about…”

We are Andrea and Alessandro and with these words we begin every episode of our web radio broadcast. We started the first Italian web radio broadcast with archaeology as its topic. You may wonder about how it all get started.

Being archaeologists and students of archaeology ourselves, we always get asked “what do you do in an archaeological site?”. We are also often compared to famous movie characters, which, to be honest, is a thing we hate because we too would like to punch some Nazi in the face between one excavation and the other.

Leaving jokes aside, a year ago we set our goal to find the most efficient way to answer these questions while avoiding long and boring conversations (of course, even the most interesting subject, can become boring in a lecture). In times like these, when communication have such a significant and essential role in cultural heritage studies and history, we felt the need to try and talk about archaeology in a new and innovative way.

But why the radio? It’s a mean of communication that in the last few years, with the rising popularity of web radios, has become rather commonly used online. Spreaker is an Italian multimedia platform which lets its users broadcast shows all over the internet. Having a massive and active community, Spreaker happens to be an optimal tool for sharing contents and letting them be viewed and known by the other users. This website is easy to use and it gives the user the chance to share his podcasts without downloading any program at all.

The mission of “Let’s dig again” isn’t simply to be a program about learning, we also aim to entertain the listeners with a variety of songs during the show. From 60’s rock music to 90’s pop, through 70’s and 80’s dance, until the genres of today, such as indie rock and Irish folk; music is very well embedded in our shows, it acts as a likeable background to every episode. The name of our show itself is based on the famous song by Chubby Checker: “Let’s twist again” (which is also used as the opening of every episode). Deciding to use Chubby Checker’s “Let’s twist again” as an opening (while deciding the title of our show) wasn’t a given since it took 2 hours to choose which song title could be adapted to a wordplay concerning archaeology.

As you probably already understood, the idea is to combine music and archaeology in a format that is supposed to make easier and nicer the learning of such specialized (and not well known) scientific topics. The important thing to keep in mind is that we need to make good use of the 45 minutes per episode Spreaker gives us: every episode aims to be divided in 20 minutes of music and 25 minutes of talking about archaeological topics. Every tracklist is prepared right after we’re sure about the guest who’ll be talking in the episode (who is usually a teacher, as in the shows directly from Vignale Riotorto-Piombino, Miranduolo-Siena; or an assistant, a PhD student or an archaeologist who is willing to talk about his job).

It all started as a game but now the show’s becoming more and more well known. At first it was just an experiment between four walls (we were transmitting from the living room of my place) in Siena, now it’s becoming a part of communication in archaeology (or, at least, we hope it becomes that successful). Staying still, in the same university would have made the show quite dull after some time, the choice of topics would have become redundant. We, therefore, decided to find guests in other cities (this was helped by the transferral to Bologna of my partner for study reasons). Here, in April, we celebrated the first year of “Let’s dig again” with a series of special episodes in the archaeology department, followed by going to ArcheoFOSS (http://www.archeofoss.org/) in Verona in June.

Hoping to be able to celebrate many more birthdays “Come on, Let’s Dig Again!”

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