Recording Videos at Vignale – Part II

The other side of my video-recording activity is the usual production of an archaeofiction. The other archaeologists ask me for it because of the success of the past three years.

All in all, I have to admit that, after three years of docudrama, I thought to do something different. So the first two weeks of excavation flew in quest of new ideas until, while I was recording the usual video documentation, the professor talked about a possibility of reconstruction of the late antique period of the mansio. In that moment I ran away with I could put together the professor’s ideas and their re-enactment in the same footage. Obviously, the re-enactment would contain not-archeologically verifiable elements, as in the other archaeofiction, but plausible anyway.

I think there are some points of interest in doing it:

  • first of all, I can put together research and communication, as it’s greatly suggested by Shanks:  “I argue that a new understanding of media as the work of mediation and as modes of engagement, and the proposed reevaluation of some issue of information science in relation to archaeology, puts media(tion) at the heart of our disclipline and requires us to reject this distinction between primary research and secondary dissemination.”  (Shanks, M. (2007). “Politics of Archaeological Leadership”. Archaeology and the Media. Walnut Creek);
  • it’s part of the archaeological knowledge process: I wrote a script and doing it I took part in the process of interpretation from the narrative side. I invented a plausible story that can contain elements that can stimulate a larger consideration.

There are also some drawbacks:

  • Interpretations can change many times during an excavation. So, the script has to change with it. This is not a problem, rather it would be another great idea to re-enact every, single interpretation in order to have a video that represents the whole knowledge process.
  • The excavation ended two weeks ago but I haven’t still finished the editing of the footage. Unfortunately it requires a great amount of time, and I have to dig, I can’t stay in front of the computer editing videos all the day. So, the potential immediacy of the communication fails for the moment. It’s only a matter of organization, I can resolve it recording in the first weeks of the excavation campaign.

From the excavation, through the interpretation, until its re-enactment in a video: it seems to me to be a good idea.

I want to use footages recorded for the video documentation in the part settled in the present. So, no script, only true archaeological documentation. I wrote the script using these videos and I reconstructed in this way my own interpretation. On the contrary, for the scenes settled in the V century AD, I continued the tradition of the past years with the docudrama: so we found stage costumes, weapons and every objects that can help in making real the scenes without spending money.

The director gives indications to the actors

The director gives indications to the actors

Currently, I try to edit the whole video in a way that can succeed in conveying this passage from excavation to re-enactment. I hope I manage to finish it in a short time. Stay tuned!


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