The Curious Loneliness of the Director of Archaeology

Have you ever seen, on TV or on the Web, videos about archaeology, leaving aside documentaries?
Probably not if you live in Italy.

Have you ever seen an archaeologist recording with a camera?
Probably not if you live in Italy.

I’m an Italian archaeologist and when I don’t dig I edit videos recorded during the excavation (when I’m too tired for studying…).
I’m also a video-narration/storytelling enthusiast, and these two interests mixed together led me to produce footage like this, a docudrama that performs the 2011 excavation season in the Roman site of Vignale (Italy).

My archaeological life so far has been a mix of university studies, excavations and recording videos. But communicating fieldwork is my favorite activity and I like to do it via video, especially referring to the point of view of the archaeologists, translated in a story using the genre of docudrama. Putting together images and sounds/voices, in my opinion video is the best medium for telling histories of archaeology, from the most famous to the worst preserved site. I think video can become a fundamental way of communication and involvement, raising public awareness of archaeological fieldwork.
This summer seems to be not so different from the others, even if more satisfactory until now. In June, Giuliano De Felice and I won the first Italian video contest about archaeology, organized by Mappa Project, with this short video about Open Access in archaeology (not subtitled yet). It has been absolutely terrific winning this contest with a dialogue instead of the usual 3D models or documentary.

Later on, I’ve started a new column about video-narration in archaeology on “Archeologia tardoantica e medievale a Siena” Facebook page. Every week I review one or two videos from all over the world that are characterized by a special care about narration; from this derives the name of the column “Making archaeology as a movie“.

Today archaeology covers a wide variety of works and specialisms. Video-communication is not among the most popular at all and sometimes I feel I’m doing it for myself and a few other people (and always gratis!). But this doesn’t mean that is less important and less necessary. It’s part of the archaeological process and I’m going on doing it, trying to achieve a better and more involving communication of the fieldwork.

recording in vignale

I will spend my Day of Archaeology 2013 at home, editing videos but most of all studying boring books. Therefore I’m impatiently waiting for the new excavation season in Vignale, next September, when I can experience something new about video during fieldwork and resume the dig. This is definitely my favorite way for celebrating a great Day of Archaeology.