Professor and Director of the Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx)
Affiliate Faculty - Department of Anthropology
CONTACT information and cv
Ph.D. University of Torino (Italy), 2007
My main area of academic teaching is Digital Archaeology, which is that branch of the Digital Humanities initiative focusing on the application of Computer Science technique for study, interpretation and dissemination of ancient material culture. The courses I usually offer at undergraduate level are DIG 3950C Digital Archaeology, DIG 4092C Curating Digital Collections and HIS 4940 Internship in History (IDEx), and at graduate level DIG 6934C Digital Antiquity and DIG 6774C Virtual Museums. These courses I have designed naturally supplemented the previously existing courses having a traditional emphasis on the study of primary and secondary written and visual sources providing an alternative angle and taking the learning process to an upper level. To teach archaeology through digital applications means, in fact, to provide an ultimate learning experience where students can interact with the subject of their study by developing an intimate knowledge derived from the interaction in a virtual environment. Either creating digital replicas of ancient artefacts using 3D Scanning or Digital Photogrammetry, or recreating digitally ancient sites in 3D Modelling, students interact creatively with the past and learn how to capitalize the knowledge acquired on the sources and the theoretical teachings of this emerging discipline. I also routinely offer independent studies and directed readings on Archaeology of ancient Sicily and Malta, Archaeology of Death, Digital Storytelling and 3D Modeling in Archaeology and Foundations of 3D Scanning for Cultural Heritage.
I am the Program Director of the Spring Break Study Abroad Program ‘USF Athens: History and Culture’ and of the Summer Study Abroad Program ‘USF Sicily: History and Culture’ in the frame of which I offer courses on Ancient Mediterranean History and Archaeology and Greek Civilization. More information can be found here.
I am happy to supervise Masters and PhD candidates with interests in Greek and Roman archaeology of Sicily and Malta, Mediterranean prehistory, Digital Archaeology, Archaeological Sciences with an emphasis on geology and chemistry applied to ceramic studies and Archaeology of Food.
A classicist by training, I later specialized in Classical Archaeology with a focus on field methods in archaeology and a focus on ceramics studies. More recently, I enthusiastically embraced archaeological science and computer science in my research. I did this because many of the historical questions in which I am interested have no written texts whereby we might shed light on the problem. The application of the hard sciences to those questions therefore allowed me to attempt to explore old unanswered research questions and to conceive new ones which were previously unapproachable. This turn in my training and research has led me to the philosophical position I occupy today, which I might characterize as a body with three souls: Archaeologist, Archaeological Scientist and Digital Archaeologist. As an Archaeologist, I excavate, catalogue, document, study and publish ancient material culture; as an Archaeological Scientist, I use geology, chemistry and physics to date, characterize, preserve and analyze that material culture; and as a Digital Archaeologist, I use 2D and 3D digital imaging techniques to document, interpret and disseminate it on a global scale. Therefore, my research activity moves onward along those three parallel tracks having in Sicily and Malta a common geographic denominator.
I am Co-Principal Investigator of the excavation project Melite Civitas Romana, at the Roman Domus of Rabat in Malta, an international and interdisciplinary long term excavation project for the study of the most important Early Roman Imperial mansion of the Maltese Archipelago. The project comprises the application of innovative analytical technique for surveying (Ground Penetrating Radar) and documentation of the site (Terrestrial and Aerial LiDAR, Digital photogrammetry), the completion of the excavation of the Domus, the overall 3D digitization of all the excavation and of the findings for the purpose of creating a virtual excavation experience, and the systematic archaeometric analyses of the archaeological artefacts retrieved. For more information about this project can be found here.
I am the director of the international interdisciplinary research project The Mediterranean Diet Archaeology Project (MEDIAP) on biomolecular archaeology of Mediterranean Diet. The project aims to gain insight on dietary and culinary habits of ancient community of Sicily and Malta from Prehistory to Late Antiquity and the impact on their health-related lifestyle. In particular, it focuses on chemical characterization of organic residues on archaeological pottery via an array of analytical techniques. The project aims at the reappraisal of contexts from old excavations and at the same time fosters new archaeological field-works in combination with a critical analysis of the available iconographic and written sources. More information on the project can be found here.
As founder and director of the Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx), an instructional and research laboratory for Digital Archaeology, I apply 3D Digital Imaging techniques for the documentation, interpretation and global dissemination of endangered, inaccessible or neglected archaeological heritage with projects in Sicily and Florida. At IDEx, I foster undergraduate and graduate offering internship and formal training in the state-of-the-art software and hardware for 3D Scanning, Digital Photogrammetry and 3D Modeling applied to Archaeology through the undergraduate internship HIS 4940 Internship in History (IDEx) and the graduate independent study HIS 6908 Foundations of 3D Scanning for Archaeology. More information about IDEx can be found here.