promoting cultural heritage and conservation

Posts tagged “Videography

Life in the Trenches: Week 3 at the Dig

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Though this past week was only four days to accommodate a (well-deserved) three-day weekend, we jumped into work, comfortable with our designated roles and team coordination. We also welcomed a new team member, Julia Elsey, AIRC archaeology field school veteran and an unofficial Finds Coordinator. As an artifact intern, I work with Julia to clean, document, and organize our finds from this and the past dig seasons. Julia provided our team with a valuable lesson on marble types, (more…)


We dig Rome: AIRC on Youtube

We dig Rome and we like sharing it, so in 2009 we created an AIRC account on Youtube:  WeDigRome where we upload AIRC-produced filmettes about our programs (inluding our summer excavation and full-immersion Latin) and our documentary projects such as Fasti Online and upcoming Digging History.

Our latest videos are Unlisted 2013: Conversation for Conservation, our annual cultural heritage conference.  If you were not able to attend the conference, take a look in our recently uploaded videos where we feature each Unlisted2013 speaker.


Give us a kick! Support our Kickstarter campaign!

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The American Institute has just embarked on our first Kickstarter project with a target of $10,000 to fund production of a one-hour documentary, Digging History.  Digging History will be the first of what we hope to lead to many documentaries that will be available as free, online educational resource for use to students and schools/universities, as well as anyone with an interest in learning more.   Digging History is hosted and created by the AIRC team along with historians, archaeologists, videographers, historical and cultural experts and will bring viewers behind the scenes and learn about topics in art, archaeology, history, architecture, sustainability, conservation, religion and politics, from experts  as they conduct their work, giving fun, accessible insights on the city and the people and events that shaped it, and continue to shape it.

As we have mentioned in other posts, we have already created several free, educational video podcasts in Rome and throughout Italy, made possible by partnerships with the Italian Ministry of Culture, and archaeological organizations AIAC and Fastionline. With this Kickstarter project,  our long-term goal is to produce a huge amount of engaging content to become an online hub and focus for learning about all aspects of Roman culture.  Please join us in our Kickstarted campaign– every contribution helps and each pledge is gratefully acknowledged and rewarded.  All contributions are tax deductible.

Please join our Digging History Kickstarter Campaign.

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We’re getting smart: SmARTHistory

Over the past year, we’ve had our ear to the ground and one eye on the open, academic road as we are very interested in navigating the trails of online educational sites.  They are hot topics with even hotter names like Coursera, Udacity, Stanford and MIT.  Add Smarthistory/KhanAcademy to the list and you’ll find us literally digging through time with Smarthistory.org’s executive editors Steven Zucker and Beth Harris.

Smarthistory is a “not-for-profit, multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement for the traditional art history textbook”.  Are we looking to replace print? No, just increase the volume of discussion.  Or as John Berger once said, “the ways of seeing.” Enjoy our first collaboration: Digging through Time, and keep an eye out for more!


That’s a Wrap: Living Latin videos on YouTube

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Salve! We wanted to share a peek into our Summer 2012′s “Living Latin, Living History in Rome” summer program led by Prof. Nancy Llewellyn of Wyoming Catholic College.  Nancy, an expert in spoken Latin practice and pedagogy, brought students in and out of Rome in an almost completely spoken Latin environment, and she was kind of enough to enjoy a bit of educational paparazzi.

The following links are for two videos produced by AIRC. T his summer, we followed Nancy and class — and had a great time, of course!  We hope  you do as well, and continue to spread the word[s] on living Latin.

  1. Overview of the program experience, showing the on-site readings, guest lectures, classroom exercises, and excursions that make this program unique and a must for any student who wants to understand Latin at the deepest level.
  2. Interview with Prof. Llewellyn in which she explains how she became involved with spoken Latin and why learning to speak the language is so important for anyone who works extensively with it.


International Association for Classical Archaeology AIAC

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Not necessarily the protagonist of most coffee table conversations, the International Association for Classical Archeology (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica or AIAC) is the classical archaeologist’s best friend. A prestigious organization for promoting archaeological activities throughout Italy, AIAC is located right behind the tourist hub of Rome’s Piazza Venezia and the Vittoriano in the former papal residence of Palazzo Venezia. This unique historical setting speaks to the academic and institutional importance of AIAC as large scale research organization, benefiting members and scholars worldwide.

Founded in the aftermath the Second World War in 1946, AIAC was originally created with the aim to provide an international forum for archeologists and researchers to discuss classical archaeology across national, economic, or even political borders. AIAC’s roots, however, date back to 1823, when a small group of four northern European intellectuals would reunite periodically in Rome in order to explore the city’s architectural and artistic treasures as well as to read and discuss classical texts. This camaraderie resulted in the formation of the group entitled the “Circle of Hyperborean Romans” (Il “Circolo degli Iperborei Romani), in reference to the natives of Hyperborea, a mythical region supposedly located to the north of Thrace according to the ancient Greeks. In 1928, E. Gerhard, a member of this small knit community, launched the first archeological journal on Rome, under the newly inaugurated Institute of Archeological Correspondence.

Gerhard’s commitment to consolidate classical archaeological knowledge remains primordial to AIAC today. Starting in the 1950’s the association has hosted and organized a series of quinquennial conferences in large metropolises across the globe, such as Rome, Ankara and Izmir, Paris and Berlin. In 2008, AIAC marked its fifty years of conference organizing with its 10th meeting in Rome, entitled “Meetings between Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean”.

In 2000, AIAC began publishing FASTI online, a website dedicated to consolidate news and updates on ongoing preservation and excavation projects worldwide. By the end of 2012, the organization hopes to provide each project with appropriate visuals, which American Institute for Roman Culture is proud to participate in doing. Since Spring 2011, we have been producing a series of short, documentary videos on excavation and conservation projects for FASTI/AIAC and with the generous help of the Italian Ministry of Culture (MiBAC). Our partnership has deepened this past summer as we are now sharing as office space in Palazzo Venezia and just down the hall from the AIAC center.

Please enjoy a look at our FASTI mini-documentaries.

by Michelle Al-Ferzly, Wellesley College Summer 2012 intern


Freeze Frame: The Spanish Steps

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The first post in the Freeze Frame series where Rome is captured through the lens of our students.
The Spanish Steps are truly a sight to see when visiting Rome.  Italians, as well as visitors of all nationalities, can be found lounging there, but not eating as this is (not so strictly) prohibited. The steps look down on the Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Square), home to the Fontana della Barcaccia, an excellent place for people watching.  On a Saturday afternoon crowds gather to watch the street performers and meander along Via Condotti, the adjacent street lined with designer shops and the famous Babington’s Tea Room. It has become an iconic destination and a necessity for any visit to Rome.

Visitors seem completely unaware of the Steps’ rich history and their original purpose. The steps were constructed in the 1720s to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Trinita dei Monti church. The steps were built with the intent of creating a link between the church and Rome, but has since become a tourist attraction instead of a religious destination. As stated earlier the area around the steps, which was originally built to showcase the church, has now been transformed into a major metropolitan area of Rome.Much like the rest of the Europe, the Steps have adapted to the contemporary times.

As one walks through Rome, you stumble upon iconic sites from ancient civilizations. Several of these sites have been repurposed for modern use.  In some cases, you can go see what is left of the glorious Roman Empire. But in the case of the Scalinata, you can go to see the Rome of today. Though the Spanish Steps are not ancient, they have molded themselves into Italy’s rich cultural history.
~by Stepanie Stoops, Northeastern University, NEURome12
Can’t get enough? Follow our students through Rome via Twitter hashtag #NEURome12 and the occasional #NEURome2012.

Living History in Rome day by day

Take a peek into the mind blog of AIRC Executive Director Darius Arya  as he writes about
Living History in Rome day by day.


Life in the Trenches: Romesick

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Potential student excavators beware! If you go with AIRC to dig in Ostia, you WILL feel “Romesick” as soon as you leave!

I participated in AIRC’s Ostia field school two summers ago, and my time in Rome still affects who I am today. I now conduct my discipline of art history/archaeology as well as my life differently because of having learned and lived in this unique environment.

Ostia Antica is a fantastic site to excavate. It seems like it is always a work in progress, with other field schools and preservation projects occurring at the same time as AIRC’s dig. As an excavator, you are part of the process that creates and shapes how tourists and historians will perceive Ostia. Every time you sink your pickaxe or shovel into the ground, you are technically determining how the future will understand the ancient past!! Every day it felt so satisfying to walk back to the train station with everyone, covered in dirt from a hard day’s work and thinking about what laid in store for us tomorrow.

By the end of the six weeks, I loved all of the amazing friendships I made and how much I learned about myself. I still keep in touch with the other USC students who went on the dig with me, as well as many of the non-USC students too. I got to know and learn from Professor John Pollini and the AIRC staffers, and they all have been incredible mentors and teachers to me. I loved the independence and confidence I gained from living in Rome, being able to wander around on the weekends and late afternoons casually exploring the city. I really felt that I knew Rome like a local, like it had always been my home.

Even after two years, my time in Ostia with AIRC continues to aid my eagerness to learn. I went on another dig this past summer, and it was great to already have some excavation knowledge (and impress the field school’s staff with it!!). I could immediately participate in more complicated activities like field surveying and artifact conservation because AIRC gave me a great foundation in proper excavating, preserving, and cataloging techniques. They provided a well-rounded introduction to field archaeology that expanded my future opportunities.

If you aren’t scared of getting dirty, actively shaping Roman history, and living abroad for a summer, then AIRC’s Ostia field school will be a fantastic experience! My time in Rome changed me, and since then I have truly looked at life and the ancient past in a different and exciting way.

~ Alexandria Yen, SAFS ’10, will receive her B.A. in Archaeology and Art History from the University of Southern Californiain 2012


Life in the Trenches: Top tips when in Rome…

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AIRC 2011 alum Dustin Thomas offers his tips on how to have the best time in and out of the trenches:

  1. Explore! How often is it that you get to roam (no pun intended!) outside of your home country, much less in the Eternal City of Rome itself? There was certainly a lot that I got to see, learn, taste, and smell just by walking up the street, and I can definitely say that even after six whole weeks of “exploring” I am by no means done.
  2. When you’re digging, roll up your sleeves! A farmer’s tan is no joke, and it certainly is not sexy when you might decide to spend a Saturday afternoon at the beach. That being said, use sunscreen!!! I have a dark complexion, but I got burnt at least two times because I missed a spot or two with the sunscreen.
  3. Don’t pass up the opportunity for a late night experiencing some Roman nightlife…BUT don’t complain too loudly when early the next morning you’re struggling to get to the bus heading to the dig site. Balance is key, and there is a lot to experience with your classmates, especially since you should take the opportunity to better acquaint yourselves with people you might not be trench mates with. We used the weekends or even just the afternoons after a long hot day to grab a gelato and a gin and tonic at the local bar-tabacchi or a sultry smoke at the hookah bar later in the evening.
  4. Get your fitness on! Some of you out there who will be heading to field school this summer are undoubtedly very conscientious of your fitness. Digging is a very physically demanding activity, but sometimes I felt like I wasn’t getting a balanced enough workout, and who can forget the days in finds lab? My solution, like many of my classmates, was either to go for a run or just do some daily calisthenics. They got me energized to embrace the rest of the afternoon and evening, when I would otherwise be exhausted and sleep the day away.

Photos from Big Old Goofy WorldCoach G LifeChangingFitness, EventsinRome, Erica Firpo


Catch UNLISTED2012 everywhere: LiveStream and Twitter

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Our Unlisted2012 conference is all about global access and community.  With the help of US Department of State, we will be live streaming UNLISTED 2012 fro 230-530 Rome time (930-1230 EST).  Here is a test link.

For Twitter users, we created the tag #UNLST2012 so that you can find all relevant tweets.  Be sure to include this tag in all tweets regarding Unlisted2012 conference and we will do our best to answer your questions.  After each speaker we will have a brief question and answer session, as well as Q&A during the last hour of the conference – so tweet your questions and watch us respond.   To make it easier, please take a look at our UNLISTED TweetGrid which filters all conversations tagged #UNLST2012 as well as @AIRomanculture and @SaveRome (Director Darius Arya) accounts.

Information for live streaming and Twitter:

What you need
PC: Internet explorer or other browsers with windows media player plugin

MacOSX: Safari or other browsers with Flip For Mac Plugin


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Popular Archaeology Magazine and Ostia Antica

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Popular Archaeology Excited is barely how we can describe what it feels like to see Ostia Antica field school excavation featured in Popular Archaeology! This is great news for us, and complements the AIRC video mention by Barbara Ireland in her “In Ostia Antica” travel article for the New York Times, December 25, 2011.

Ecstatic! Jumping for joy! Archaeo-high fives!! (No trowel, that would be dangerous).


Podcasting Culture in Rome

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On November 26, at American University of Rome and British School in Rome-hosted conference “Our Future’s Past“, I was pleased to participate and present with my AIRC colleague Alberto Prieto . We spoke on the final day of the 3-day conservation/ cultural heritage conference where topics addressed included various aspects of technology and innovation. (more…)

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