Chatting with an italian archaeologist, Emilio Verze

Hello dear readers!
Since I think this interviews might be interesting also for foreigners I translated it all in English.
Hope you all enjoy reading it, if I've done any errors just tell me so that I can better myself =) 

Emilio Verze is with us today and together we'll discuss about Archaelogy.

Let’s start: tell us something about you

  • Hello! I’m Emilio Verze, an archaeologist, I was born, and I studied, in Naples.
    I’ve worked, and I’m currently working, as a Touring Guide in Campania, one of the most beautiful  regions in Italy and, after an enabling test, I’ve started teaching  Art, the historical part, in High Schools. I’m quite multitasking in the Cultural Area.

Why did you choose to become an archaeologist? Can one earn enough to live?

  • I have always been fascinated from ancient history, my mother teaches literature and she passed me this love for the ancient. When I had to pick my courses in college I wasn’t sure what to choose between  History or Archaeology. At the end I picked the latter because of the image that archaeologists hold in the popular culture and because I wanted to discover the hand to hand part of this studies.I think a person could live just with this job. It depends also on how much rich you want to get but a dignified life it’s possible! Actually it isn’t something I would advise following unless one is really strong-willed. The world isn’t Archaeologist-Friendly.

What do you think can Archaeology give to people?

  • I believe that it can be an instrument to enthrall people and students with our past, driving them to search for more notions and deepening their knowledge about it.

How is History taught in our schools? Should something be changed? (for non-Italian readers: our country as a way of teaching that’s mainly studying by heart notions –what happened in that date or when was that treaty signed)

  • History it’s a subject that can give space to an alternative way of teaching, something that should be worked on for sure.I think that usually it’s not well taught, mostly because of how this subject is perceived – mainly as a memorizing subject, with very few answers.Historical recreations could be a useful way to make students more interested because of a more direct approach but they still should be explained by a teacher so that there isn’t any possible confusion.

I know that you are part of a society, Kosmos Archeo-Service, that takes upon itself the job of widespreading historical knowledge in schools, tell us something about it.

  • Spreading History in schools is just one of the Areas that we work on, but it’s surely one that I like the most. Through some projects we try to acquaintance people with  the beauty that our region possesses. It isn’t easy to work in this sector because schools don’t like to stray off the usual path of guided tours but when we were able to urge them on trying something different they weren’t let down and, on the contrary, both students and teachers ended up really excited about it.

You are an History of Art teacher. From your point of view how is this subject seen?

Foro Romano
  • I believe most students dislike this subject because of the way in which it is taught. And it’s a pity in a country such as ours that should put art in first place. Youngsters have an open mind, if you are able to captivate them you can reap great results, with my experience I can prove that: I still meet old graduated students and organize trips to historical and artistically important sites with them

The 3 most important Italian sites? Why?

  • I have to start from Pompei: unique site, an ancient city crystallized  in one precise moment that lets you feel how they lived in the first century A.C.The Roman Forum: another unique site, rich and various, it makes you understand some aspects of roman culture.Temples’ Valley in Sicily: has a charm that puts this place at the top spots when archeologically important places are involved, in Italy and Worldwide.

Sibilla's Cave in Cuma
5 italian sites that should be valorized

  • The Archaeological Park in Cuma, a really important site, beautiful, rich of history but quite unknown; Rione Terra a Pozzuoli recently reopened after years of works; Santa Maria Capua Vetere, the ancient Capua, as Cicero described it “Altera Roma”, with its amphitheater in the city center; Metaponto, an interesting site sadly often closed and the Etruscan necropolis in Norchia, beautiful for both the art and the nature.

THE world site to visit?

  • Ercolano, a place that makes you able to fill the ancient world, the different life styles and characteristics, moreover it’s small and easy to see.

Your most interesting job?

  • The digging that I did in Cuma, precisely in the “flegrei Camp”; I was able to dig up part of the settlement established by the first greek pioneers in the VIII century B.C. I was really moved.

You are now working in Pompei, what can you say about it?               

  • Pompei it’s a beautiful place but as any city, even if destroyed in 79 A.C., still remains a city and there are lots of maintenance jobs that have to be taken care of. The Great Pompeian Project lead by Massimo Osanna, is helping the city with grand openings, events, exhibitions, concerts and much more. I’m happy to be able to work in Pompei.

Experimental archaeology: what do you think about it?

  • It’s a nice and versatile instrument for us. I’ve been in touch with many companies that work in this field and it’s awesome seeing them working, mostly because it’s a way of bettering our understanding of other epochs lives.Experimentation is the base of science and, for me, archaeology should use this mean much more often to reconstruct the ancient life from childhood to death, even in the most trivial things.

What has changed with the new technologies?

Temple Valley in Sicily
  • Archaeology has always been influenced by new discoveries. I’m in favor in their use if they can advance our knowledge. The latest i.e. the drones, it isn’t something new but the pictures from above that they can take and the ease with which they can be maneuvered is helping us make new discoveries every day. Also the 3D constructions that can help in more ways than one, from studying buildings to reconstructions. And that’s the awesome part of it, thanks to this easy access to reconstructions and plans archaelogy is more viable to everybody!

Many associations were born to help and defend the Italian cultural heritage, your thoughts?

  • I’m in favor, in Italy many small associations coexist and work mainly at a local level. Sadly there’s not much support from the government and they are standing most of the time alone. There’s scarce or no cooperation at all between them. And that’s sad.They should work to increase the value of those sites that, being small or not well-known, don’t receive support from the big associations or government.At a world level the UNESCO is the unit that cares about the human heritage and we Italians should be proud: our country is the most represented.

Lastly, talking about books: What do you think about historical fiction?

  • I like them and I’ve read lots of them; I’m quite fond of Valerio Massimo Manfredi ones and if I should advise one I would say Akropolis and Talos’ Shield. Historical faithfulness isn’t always respected but I think it should not be so strict, one little change once in a while it’s still acceptable!

You’re also part of a cultural association, Clarae Musae, that spreads the pleasure of reading with presentations and meetings. In which territory does it work?

  • It works on a small scenario, the northern part of Naples, where I live. The cultural and reading diffusion are the two main objectives even more so in a place where the culture still has an hard time growing roots in the citizens. I choose to be part of it because I wanted to do something for the diffusion. I teach, and that’s ok, I work as a guide, and that’s ok, but in a reality like Naples where more culture is needed I wanted to be an active part of something local.

Thank You Emilio, it was a pleasure having this chat with you. =)


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