Andrea Vianello

Archaeologist

Research and field projects

My primary area of expertise is Mediterranean Bronze Age archaeology, including Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology. I also have longstanding interests in rituals/symbolism and trade, and computing in archaeology; most of my research work encompasses more than one of these topics.

I am currently involved in a project in Sicily, and can say that most results will appear in the publications section. I am going back in time with my interests, that's for sure!

Have a look at my attempts in experimental archaeology, knapping obsidian (some attempts with a lookalike stone, as obsidian is particularly dangerous to handle).


One of the first projects that I started during my last year as undergraduate, back in 1998, consisted in the integration of Internet resources (mostly websites) in teaching. Internet was quite different then, and the relatively few resources (for Aegean archaeology) were useful and written by experts, but students (at the University of Venice, Italy) did not consider the Internet as a resource of information: computers were mostly used to play or by scientists and engineers. So I started nagging the people around me about this, and finally I was allowed to teach a seminar. I had to teach things like what is a computer, how to recognise a useful resource and how the Internet can complement textbooks. I prepared a website for students, then I updated it myself, until I decided that a fresh start was needed and archived it. The three parts in which it was composed still mirror the organisation of the seminar, with part 1 being the introduction to computers and the Internet; part 2 focuses on finding and commenting resources useful in Aegean archaeology (what students had to do under my supervision) and also mentions offline electronic resources such as CD-ROMs; and part 3 contained news about the seminar and all things related to my tutoring. For their exam in Aegean archaeology, students would read some electronic resources to complement or substitute parts of their textbooks. The website of that seminar is still online, it is mostly written in Italian, and it might be still useful to some people. Knowing that electronic resources could be useful to integrate standard textbooks with updated information about recent discoveries; to provide additional perspectives as well as to expand or ease accessibility to academic libraries (by providing access to papers and books not in the library or access to historical texts at home), I approached the Internet as a tool for teaching. Eventually, my expertise became useful to Intute, where I am essentially maintaining the catalogue of archaeological websites and exploring new ways to maintain a healthy relationship between teaching and the Internet. Today it is not a problem to invite students to use the Internet, but haveing them to use it properly in a useful way remains the same challenge that I faced in 1998.


For my PhD, I focused on the material evidence that I then enjoyed studying (and then loathed for a while), Minoan and Mycenaean pottery, with a region that I wanted to know more, the area of modern Italy, though I ended up studying a lot Sicily (because it appears to me very exotic and, allow me to say, with an excellent culinary tradition). My doctoral research was expanded in 2005 and it is now published in a monograph.


During Summer 2006, with Giorgos Dimitriadis, Fernando Coimbra, Carmelo Prestipino, and Ida Mailland I participated in a summer school near Philippi, Greece, where we studied the impressive rock art of the area also from a perspective of landscape archaeology. We could not have a permission to continue the study in 2007, but the work carried out so far should be enough to say something more than what was said in the preliminary note. Watch out this space for more information on this, or contact me.


My interest for rituals has brought me to symbolism and semiotics. Professor Paul Bouissac of the University of Toronto has prompted most of my work in this field, especially bringing me to consider symbolism, gestures and rituals as indissolubly connected. For this reason I started to consider the development of the human brain and especially memory as playing a significant part in such behaviours. I do not think that I am able to go too far on this topic, I can leave the study of human brain to others. My contributions attempt to bring the relevance of our knowledge in this field to later chronological moments, like the Neolithic and Bronze Age, as I am starting to see rituals under a new light. Behavioural and neurologic studies are usually considered in archaeological research until material culture plays a role, but I think that archaeologists, also in the case of Aegean archaeologists, should not ignore them at any chronological point.


Last but not least, there is a page with a few useful PC fonts of ancient languages that may be useful for studies/research.