Saturday, 19 March 2016

Archaeology as a profession

This January, we were asked to give a presentation about archeology at the local high school, the "Liceo Bertrand Russell" of Cles (TN - Italy). This short lesson was intended to be an explanation of archeology as a profession for the students, to orient their choice for a University and later for a real job.
For this reason, the 28th of that month, we prepared some slides to show our experience in the world of archeology, giving the right importance to professional perspective, which is pretty different from the academic (University) or institutional (Superintendence) one.
Here below I report the entire presentation, which can be better seen at this link. For a better comprehension, I will write a short description for each slide:
 




SLIDE 1

This presentation is taking into consideration archaeology as a professional work. 

SLIDE 2

Archeology analyses the physical relations of different layers within a stratigraphic deposit, in order to reconstruct their chronological sequence.

SLIDE 3

All the presented images, video and media, come from past Arc-Team's project (www.arc-team.com)

SLIDE 4

Archeology has different branches (depending on different perspectives)

SLIDE 5

For professional archaeologists the main perspective is the logistical one, from which depends the approach to the archaeological project.

SLIDE 6

Under this point of view, the so-called urban archeology is probably the most common and simple.

SLIDE 7

Aerial archeology has more complicated peculiarities, but since 2008, thanks to the use of open hardware RC (Radio-Commaned) UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) we are able to face these difficulties.

SLIDE 8

Thanks to the use of UAVs (drones) it is now possible to perform a good 3D documentation from the sky...

SLIDE 9
... or to analyze vast areas for survey projects, even it it is strongly recommended to verify the collected data on the landscape (a "no boot on the ground" is not a good approach in archeology).

SLIDE 10

Also speleoarchaeology presents some difficulties, especially in 3D documenting underground environments.

SLIDE 11

Since 2009, we faced the problem adapting our 3D documentation techniques (Structure from Motion and Multi-View Stereo Reconstruction) to this particular situation.

SLIDE 12

A 3D underground documentation can be later connected with the traditiona surface documentation.

SLIDE 13

High mountain archeology is another field where the surrounding landscape influences the traditional techniques.

SLIDE 14

This short video summarizes most of the peculiarities of these kind of projects.

SLIDE 15

Underwater archeology also needs its own methodology and equipment (more than other sub-disciplines)...

SLIDE 16-22

... but also traditional instrument (such as RTK G.P.S and total stations) can be somehow used to georeference the submerged archaeological evidences...

SLIDE 23

... in the same way in which also traditional 3D documentation can be performed underwater.

SLIDE 24

The peculiarities regarding glacial archeology are more related with the excellent grade of preservation that characterizes the finds, but it is often connected with logistical conditions which are similar (or worst) to the ones of high mountain archeology. 

SLIDE 25

Again a short video can summarize the situation.

SLIDE 26

Another important topic for professional archaeologists is related with geography.

SLIDE 27

For instance, European Archeology is very different from Caucasian Archeology or  Middle East Archeology...

SLIDE 28

... and specific methodology (e.g. in recording data) can change from state to state (e.g. the Austrian recording sheet is different from the Italian one), at least in Europe, where the archaeological discipline is strictly codified.

SLIDE 29

Another video can show the peculiarities of an archaeological mission abroad.

SLIDE 30

Of course, archeology is also divided into many disciplines and sub-disciplines, which need their own techniques, equipment and know-how.

SLIDE 31

For instance, archaeoanthorpoloy presents specific techniques both in the field ...

SLIDE 32

... and in the laboratory, with particular analyses such as ...

SLIDE 33

... ostemometry ... 

SLIDE 34

... ergonomy ...

SLIDE 35

... paleopathology ...

SLIDE 36

... or forensic science techinques ...

SLIDE 37

... such as forensic facial reconstructions.

SLIDE 38

Mummiology can be considered an archaeological field itself ...

SLIDE 39-41

... where new technologies, such as 3D printing, are giving excellent results.

SLIDE 42

Other fields are archaeozoology ...

SLIDE 43

... archaeobothany ...

SLIDE 44

 ... with carpology ...

SLIDE 45

... and wood sciences ...

SLIDE 46

... or geoarchaeology ...

SLIDE 47

... with its intra-site analyses, such as the ones performed with analytical chemistry ...

SLIDE 48

... or the physical analyses connected with the identification of the  layer's texture and skeleton, ...

SLIDE 49

... or its extra-site analyses, like sedimentology ...

SLIDE 50

... or colorimetry.

SLIDE 51

Also geophysical prospections, like Electrical Resistivity Imaging, are a very important archaeological field, able to give some important indications before starting an extensive excavation.

SLIDE 52

Of course, museum studies disciplines are also strictly connected with archeology, giving the opportunity to share the collected data with techniques like 4D special effects ...

SLIDE 53

... or motion capture ...

SLIDE 54

... 3D printing ...

SLIDE 55

... digital holograms ...

SLIDE 56

... or augmented reality.

SLIDE 57

Last but not least, for a professional archaeologist is also very important to evaluate the different topic of a project, which can request specific knowledge.

SLIDE 58

For instance a World War 1 related project will be connected with Conflict Archeology techniques ...

SLIDE 59

... while projects which interact with very old materials (million of years) can be supported by paleo-artistic reconstructions ...

SLIDE 60

... and ethnoarchaeological studies can help in understanding ancient finds and structures.

CONCLUSION

For a professional archaeological society the first topic to take into consideration is the logistics of the project and, secondly, the geography; basing on its human resources, the company will be able to face the different disciplines and sub-disciplines of archeology with its specialists. The topic of the project is normally not so important, as a professional companies try often to be engaged in all the possible projects.

A different approach can be followed by academy, which is often primarily interested in the topic of a project (which can be connected with its research interests). This choice often guides all the other considerations, which mainly involve the technical researchers at disposal, and rarely geography (which is often not a problem for academy) or logistics (since some environment are simply prohibitive for a university, also for safety rules).

Institutional archeology (Superintendences) is often in between these two positions, at least in Italy, since it does not take into consideration the topic of a project, being guided by the existing rules concerning the protection of the Cultural Heritage; moreover it often externalizes the specific operations to professional companies. Also geography does not influence institutional archeology, since it is territorial, while logistics can be an important voice in the budget, influencing the operative decisions.



BlogItalia - La directory italiana dei blog Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.