DNFA #3 – Five questions to Ernesto Piana

Posted by on 5 Giugno 2020

It’s high time to read Prof. Ernesto Piana (Argentina) retired archaeologist, former main researcher at CADIC/Conicet in Ushuaia and former Director of the Archaeological Project “Canal Beagle”. We visited him in October 2011, during “Ande 2011” project and we published plenty of posts thanks to his “lessons”!

1) Why did you chose to become an archaeologist?

EP: It looked to be a better than a bank cashier life. And also I was a country boy and archaeologists are the evolution of the field trackers. Reading more traces than formulas or papers.

2) When did you understand that it was the right or the wrong choice?

EP: AFTER RETIREMENT. Key word in this tricky question is the past tense “was”.  All along my career I asked myself “is this the right choice”. Only now I may  question “was it”.

Prof. Ernesto Piana during an hike – 2019

3) Sometimes during hard times we think about giving up…You did not! You are still an active archaeologist! Why? I mean, what happened? Do you have a special “mantra” helping your balance, or did you have to struggle with someone convincing this person that going on was the best choice? Who? Your relatives? Yourself?… The final question is “what is your secret to keep on digging?”
EP: I am retired but keep active. Why to keep researching? Main reason, curiosity. Second reason, because archaeology is the routine of astonishment. The other 98 reasons are too many to be detailed. Why to keep going to field work at 71 years old? Because of old students and other archaeologist invitations. And to have a friendly wine by the camps fire.

4) How do you pass your spare time during the digging evenings (anyway while you are off from digging, but still far from home?)
EP: Is there time to spare during field seasons? After hour of diggings includes conditioning the findings, go over the day’s recordings, cutting wood for fire, tent order, cleaning equipment, food preparing, discuss on the out comings, the blooming data and next day’s planning. But mainly having fun.

Prof. Ernesto Piana hiking in the mountains – 2019

5) Let’s suppose that you were not an archaeologist.. what is your job? policeman, farmer, batman?..
Graphic humorist. Or to be a land owner. A couple acres would be enough,… if being around the “Fontana di Trevi”!

Thank you, Ernesto!