Since 2007, I am part of the team who is investigating Vignale, an archaeological site located on the coast of Tuscany, in the municipality of Piombino (Livorno).
The Uomini e Cose a Vignale (People and Things at Vignale) project is conducted by the University of Siena (Dipartimento di Scienze Storiche e dei Beni Culturali) and led by Prof. Enrico Zanini and Dr. Elisabetta Giorgi. Since 2004, the project has conducted four or five weeks’ excavation every September and October, focusing on structures occupied from the third century BC to the sixth century AD. The most notable features are a Roman posting station (mansio) and villa. Especially, visitors are fascinated by a huge late-antique mosaic representing Aion, the Master of Time.
Beyond the archaeological remains, the project plays an important role for the local community, especially in terms of social value. Over the years a growing number of stakeholders have supported the archaeological investigation by providing in-kind contributions on a voluntary basis, including accommodations and food for the field team. A network of local associations, mainly based in the close village of Riotorto, actively supports the organization of outreach activities, having found in the archaeological project an appropriate environment for developing their own interests.
Both my vision of archaeology and my career as archaeologist have been deeply affected by the involvement in this excavation project. Vignale is the site where I developed my excavation skills, especially in relation the process of knowledge production and outreach. Since my second campaign, I started to manage the video documentation produced as part of the excavation process and, building on the interpretations proposed, I started to record my series of docudramas, that are the focus of my Master’s thesis.
Over the years, synergies and collaborations with stakeholders have become essential for the continuation of the project. For this reason, together with other three archaeologists, we found a new cultural association, named M(u)ovimenti, with the purpose of managing the public relations. Soon, the association started to be involved in many initiatives locally organised by several stakeholders, strengthening the relationships between archaeologists and laypeople. Being personally involved in this process, I decided to dedicate my PhD research to exploring the dynamics of participation resulting from the encounters with the various stakeholders.
Zanini, E., & Ripanti, F. 2012. Pubblicare uno scavo all’epoca di YouTube: comunicazione archeologica, narratività e video. Archeologia e Calcolatori 23: p.7–30. Available at: http://soi.cnr.it/archcalc/indice/PDF23/01_Zanini_Ripanti.pdf
Ripanti, F., & Distefano, M.S. 2013. Ricostruzioni, 3D e narratività: strategie diversificate per la comunicazione dell’archeologia. In Archeologia e Calcolatori, 174–180. Firenze: All’Insegna del Giglio Available at: http://www.progettocaere.rm.cnr.it/databasegestione/open_oai_page_sup.asp?id=oai:www.progettocaere.rm.cnr.it/databasegestione/A_C_oai_Archive_sup.xml:763.
Costa, S., & Ripanti, F. 2013. Excava(c)tion in Vignale – Archaeology on the stage, archaeology on the Web. AP Journal 3: pp. 97–109. Available at: http://www.arqueologiapublica.es/descargas/1382781334.pdf.
Mariotti, S., Marotta, N., & Ripanti, F. 2016. Raccontare una mansio in un progetto di archeologia pubblica. In Statio amoena: sostare e vivere lungo le strade romane tra antichità e alto medioevo, 253–263. Oxford: Archaeopress. Available at: http://www.archaeopress.com/public/displayProductDetail.asp?id=%7BB5CBA1EF-37E4-4D0F-8241-9F01946058F5%7D
Ripanti, F., & Mariotti, S. 2018. “The God of Time is Heritage of Mine”: An Emotional Approach to Public Outreach in Vignale (Italy). Advances in Archaeological Practice 6(3): p.199–211. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-archaeological-practice/article/god-of-time-is-heritage-of-mine/FD1721847388209C360C48C0086D9F2C