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Blogging Archaeology #3: What are your best post(s) and why?

The third question of Doug’s blogging carnival seems banal: “What are your best (or if you want your worst) post(s) and why?” But it isn’t so. It forces me to think about the kind of post I publish, if I’m really satisfied about what and how I write reading again one or two of my post. blogging-archaeology In general the fact that I like or not a post it depends directly on the way I wrote it. If I have difficulties in finding the words and in writing my thoughts, probably the post it won’t be good, whatever genre of writing I use (article, dialogue, personal thoughs…). Most of the time, it’s hard for me to keep order in my thoughts and to write a critical and argumentative post from a personal experience. I want to write so many things that I lost the way. For this reason my personal best post is Aprire un blog di museo: inganno o speranza? In this post of March 2013 I wrote about my ongoing experience of blogger at Museo Archeologico delle Marche. Writing that post it was a way to think about what I was doing and the positive and negative consequences of creating a blog for the museum. I think it’s my best post because I wrote about the topic from an original point of view, that of a museum trainee. I had some doubts (that I still have now) and I managed to explain them in a clear and involving way. It’s the post with the highest number of comments, and this is a more significant stats than the number of visitors because in this case I were looking for some interaction. I also managed to write the post in a less amount of time and in a better style than the others probably because I was thinking about it for some weeks and because I was very motivated.

L'accampamento longobardo

Reading again my most popular post, Due giorni da Longobardi a Cividale, I find that effectively is the best one written for a major audience. I wrote about a new and involving event, 568 AD, the first reenactment about Lombard in Cividale del Friuli and I described my personal experience there with soldiers and smiths of the 6-7th century AD. Simple sentences and many photos that help the words. For those reasons I think it’s my most popular post but I prefer the first one because it’s more in the spirit of this blog and of the blogger! I don’t want to write brief and superficial description of an event. When I wrote about the reenactment, I wrote in a hurry and I didn’t think so much about what I was writing… Maybe a next, possible question for this blogging carnival could be if for a great post it’s better to write fastly rather than to stop every word and thinking.

Blogging archaeology #2: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

ilbuonoilbrutto

After the first questions of November, Doug’s blogging carnival is going on. Just few days passed Christmas, I’m still on time to focus on the December questions. The good, the bad and the ugly of blogging archaeology.

The Good – Your blog is the home of your thoughts and a window of your activities. For me blogging is the only moment of my archaeological life in which I spend time thinking about what I do. This affects strongly the topics I write about, the kind of genre I use (dialogue, a review etc.) and their particular emphasis. When I write a post that comes directly from my thoughts is often difficult to keep under control all these characteristics. But this is good because it means I’m writing a genuine post, where ideas and critics you want people to know flow without any censorship.

From the point of view of a window of your activities, blogging provides you the space you need to tell the history you research for, or to tell your personal story, or to tell the story of a specific finding. It’s up to you what to write about but the Good is having a space where to show your archaeology. It’s not a case that many blogs have named after its authors (i.e. Kinkella’s Archaeology, Stuart Dunn’s Blog).

The Bad – Talking to brick wall is the worst sensation you can feel, without  any doubt. But it’s part of the blogger life. When you think “This post it’s great, I will have many comments”, probably you won’t find any feedback. For me it’s a sort of game, things happen when you don’t expect them.

Another side of the Bad is that of the blogger. It happens that your egotism rises after publishing a post. “What an amazing post!”. You feel that what you’ve just written, the words you’ve chosen so carefully are the only perfect ones for that topic. On the contrary there is always another blogger that has just written about your topic in an innovative way and you risk getting depressed. But, in the end, blog is the only perfect place where to know different points of view and to develop interesting debates with other archaeologists from all over the world.

The Ugly – The ugly of blogging, my worst experience is still to come. So far my words haven’t made a mess. Sometime I think in which way my ugly experience will arrive, probably I will notice it only when the disaster will have happened. On the contrary creating digital accident can be a way to have visibility, but I prefer not to try this strategy.

blogging-archaeology

Come on Italian bloggers, take part in this carnival, you don’t need to write a post every month, just answer the questions you like more.

Blogging Archaeology #1: why blogging?

It’s my first time with a Blogging Carnival and, if I have to be sincere, I have never heard about it before reading this post of Doug’s Archaeology. Doug launched a blogging carnival leading up to the Blogging in Archaeology session at the Society for American Archaeology 2014 meetings in Austin. I immediately said to myself “Great! I have a blog, I want to take part in it” and after the end of the last exams, I’m finally writing my post. In this one you find the November questions (yes, I’m a bit late).

blogging-archaeology

Why blogging?

“Why blogging” is the obvious first question of this blogging carnival.

I began to understand why I’m blogging and what is blogging for me only after some months. A way to write critically, an opportunity to explore new genres of writing, a voice to talk about my own research, just a possibility to interact with other blogger about archaeology. I think these are common answers for all the archaeologists who have a blog, so I don’t want to stay over them.

For me blogging it means also another couple of thing and I think it’s worthwhile to focus on these ones. The first concept is Narrative->Story->Video. My main topic of research is the communication of archaeology via video-narration; this blog provides me the opportunity of developing my skills in writing a sort of scripts as dialogue (i.e. this one in Italian) and, at the same time, explore through them some hot topics of the week (for the next weekend I’m going to publish a dialogue about the last government act “Valore Cultura”). All these dialogues don’t need to be filmed, they can remain a sort of practice, but writing them on my blog gives me the possibility of receiving some comments and suggestion.

docudrama in vignale

On the other hand blogging for me is research and updating. When I write a post and I show a specific genre of video used in archaeology, I need to look for it in my playlists or, most of the times, I search the Internet for new ones. After that, usually, I write a description of the footage. Before doing it, I need to look for some information about the archaeological site in which the video was recorded and about the production, the director and so on. Last but not least, I have to think about the good and the bad features of the video, what it’s helpful to remember and what I’ve just seen in many other footages.

Why are you still blogging?

Have you ever read about video-narration and archaeology? There are some publications but few archaeologists are really interested in it. For this reason I started and I’m still blogging. Writing in a blog about this topic helps me to find my place, a point of view from which I can see archaeology.

Even if some people could think it’s an exaggeration, writing a blog post about a specific video it means some hours of work for me. After a lot of post, I need less hour for collecting information than before but now I’m more focused on the quality of my thoughts. Finding time to write is not always possible and the question “Why am I still blogging” increases in importance also in the sense of “for what purpose I blog”. Until now I’ve never thought about it but my answer can be “I do it because I like writing without having a real perspective”.

To tell the truth, recently a perspective has been formed. Less than a month ago I was invited at “Archeoblog“, the first Italian meeting of bloggers in archaeology, organized at Paestum inside the 16th edition of the “Borsa mediterranea del turismo archeologico” (a well-known Italian exhibition of the archaeological tourism). At the meeting every blogger talked about their experience and, from all the voices, it came out the necessity of a better (more creative, high quality, diversified etc.) communication of archaeology in Italy and, as archeo-bloggers, we can contribute, maybe together as a community of blogs. This could become a more organized, concrete perspective for saying why I’m still blogging.

Strada Maestra is coming!

Tomorrow will be the day of “Strada Maestra”, the docudrama I recorded last excavation season in Vignale. This is the movie poster!

Stay tuned!

strada maestra

Meet a Museum Blogger: Francesco Ripanti

Interviewed as Museum Blogger, in this blog post I talk about almost all I did in the last year, from video-storytelling till the internship at Museo Archeologico Nazionale delle Marche.

Museum Minute

Francesco Ripanti is a 27-year-old archaeologist from Italy with a passion for video storytelling. Francesco thinks video is a very engaging medium for the communication of archaeology, especially for telling stories to the general public from the archaeologists’ point of view.

Francesco RipantiDo you work in a museum? If not, where do you work? Tell us about your job.

No, I don’t work in a museum. Currently, I’m attending a two year post-lauream specialization course at the Universities of Trieste, Udine e Venezia.

What’s your educational background?

I graduated from the University of Siena in 2011 with a thesis about video-narration in archaeology. During my five years of study, I directed some docu-dramas and other kinds of video in the Roman mansio of Vignale (LI, Italy) that are available on YouTube. During my first year of post-lauream, I did a two month internship at the National Archaeological Museum of Marche

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After Vignale: editing videos and videos…

A week after the end of the Vignale 2012 excavation season it’s time to think about what I recorded in the site.

Although I had some logistic problems in the first weeks of work, I’ve managed to shoot what I had planned before the excavation. As the last year, I tried to recorded videos for three, different scopes:

  • communication of the fieldwork activities;
  • a narrative about our main themes of research in a docudrama;
  • a new video-narrative experiment.

Recording videos needs a large amount of time and editing them even more. So, once come back home, I had to plan which video edit first. This depends on many things but this year I began with the first footage. It’s a video about what we did on the fieldwork (as those of 2011), I can’t publish it next year!

The docudrama can wait because it needs an extra work. This year I’m trying to put together docudrama and 3D reconstruction and I’m going to spend a lot of time on this.

The video-narrative experiment needs an extra-work too, but I’m going to show it at TAG 2012 in Liverpool next December, so I have to begin to work on it as soon as possible. For this video I took photos in order to create a time-lapse. Alessandro, the archaeologist who was under my camera, at the beginning was quite astonished about what I was doing but, all in all, he trusted me and went on his work as if I wasn’t above him.

Recording videos in Vignale

After planning my video-work for the weeks until Christmas, it’s time to keep on editing the first video. Mirko, Nadia and Martina are waiting to see themselves on the screen.

Some thoughts after the end of the shootings

“Very proud of you guys!!!”

This is what I said to Marco and Samuele, the two main characters of the just-finished filmed docudrama. They were so much in the part that they didn’t want to undress their clothes, they wanted to be still Hilarus and Polibius, the two slaves who look for the cistern. A bit of tiredness on their faces, but also a veil of sadness: the shootings have concluded.

Hilarus e Polibio

Hilarus e Polibio

Not all the children has been involved in their own parts as Marco and Samuele, but I think the major part of them really like this new activity I proposed them almost three months ago. Everyone took part in it as it preferred (journalist, interviewer, actor etc.) and contributed as it could (some suggestion, some help for the set etc.).

Unlike the docudramas I recorded in Vignale, I had more time for organizing it and this has been immediately evident for me after a first glance at the shots. This time I managed to choose the clothes (thanks to a local parish that organize every Christmas a representation of the crèche) and the set for some scenes (two noisy sheeps give a sensation of realism to one of these) more accurately.

As an amateur director, I think I did a good job this time, maybe better than the other docudramas. I used my Canon EOS 500-D for the first time as a video camera and a new tripod, more stable than the others. I can choose where to film, so I found some places without any traces of the XXIth century but only fields of grain and unmade road (that could be dated Ist century AD). Only after finishing the editing I’ll have a confirm about this. There is always the danger of some hidden live wire somewhere!

Campi di grano

Campi di grano

Going on with the editing part, I will find something other to write here. So far, I cut some shots and found some funny clips for the backstage. Children are very funny! Stay tuned!