Posted by on 12 Giugno 2020

Today we are happy to host Stefano Grimaldi (Italy), archaeologist, Associated Professor at Università degli studi di Trento (Trento, Italia) and President of the Istituto Italiano di Paleontologia Umana (Anagni, Italia).
We interviewed him in 2015 for the Italian magazine “Montagne 360” (Club Alpino Italiano) and today he is our host for the Do Not Feed the Archaeologists’ project!

Stefano Grimaldi, archaeologist

Why did you choose to become an archaeologist?
SG: Archaeology have chosen me. I started Economy and Finance studies but after three years I decided it was not for me. By chance some friends invited me to re-start my studies at the Humanities faculty (they were different times, by the way… we were not still addicted to technology, so we needed to talk with people to get information, ideas, …) and after a while I met the professor who became my teacher in archaeology. The more I studied with him, the more Archaeology embraced me.

When did you understand that it was the right or the wrong choice?
SG: Never! I am still figuring out; but I do not think this is the problem. More than a choice it was a good chance to live a life dedicated to what I really like: to travel around the world in order to have a larger glimpse over modern humanity.

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?”
SG: Digging is fascinating, it is an exciting intellectual and physical activity. The boring side of our profession is bureaucracy. About one-third (probably more) of my working time is dedicated to fulfill endless forms, to discuss to administrative officials, to write complex reports just to have the permit to buy a simple pencil.

Stefano Grimaldi in an “off record” picture taken on the field!

How do you pass your spare time during the digging evenings (anyway while you are off from digging, but still far from home?)

There is no free time during the excavation time. After digging, we back home and, while someone prepare the meal for everybody, other people wash and clean the archaeological findings; after dinner, we check the documentation, draw the artefacts, and so on until midnight or later; at five a.m. we are ready for another excavation day…
OK! this is the situation that any field director is dreaming about. The truth is to have a pint of beer during a night out with the students.

Let’s suppose that you were not an archaeologist… what is your job? policeman, farmer, batman?…
SG: No way! It is very hard stuff to answer. But in my dreams… I have not a job: I am a prehistoric hunter!..

Thank you!