We interviewed Paola Piliego about her career and experiences in Archaeology:
Where did you graduate and what are you doing now?
I first graduated from University of Bari (Italy) in 2003 with a degree in Lettere Classiche and then I stayed on for the followings three years to complete a post-graduate school in Archaeology, where I joined my passion for Archaeology and for ancient texts studying the Byzantine Epigraphy of Terra d’ Otranto (where I was born), graduating in 2007. After one year spent learning Greek Palaeography in Vatican City, during my PhD I continued studying the inscriptions of Terra d’ Otranto with an archaeological point of view, especially those belonged to the middle Byzantine period with the support of the University of Bari, the University of Salento (Italy) and the Centre for Hellenic Studies of the King’s College in London (UK), where I spent a very good time last year as a visiting research student, increasing my knowledge about the Byzantine culture and working on the marking-up of epigraphic documents for online publications, as an intern! And now I’m looking for a other scholarship, because it’s not possible to live only on “poetry”!
When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology/PhD?
Absolutely yes! As I said, archaeology is a very strong passion for me.
I wanted to work as an archaeologist until I was a child, when I didn’t really know how this job is difficult. And now, after I worked into so many excavations as a beginner and then as a professional paid worker; now that I have felt the hard work at the end of a day, and I have smelt the earth, and I know how much brain – work and efforts are necessary to prepare a good paper I really love this job much more than in the past! Unfortunately, it’s very difficult today to stay in Archaeology for a long time, especially if you live in Italy with this economic crisis, and you don’t have a scholarship. So, in the mean time I’m working as a freelance consultant for the Archaeological Heritage Bureaus and privates companies engaged in archaeological excavations and Public works or I’m doing different jobs, like schoolteacher in Italy and abroad, looking for my chance!
What has been the greatest success in your career so far?
When I read a note about one of my papers in the Revue des Études grecques by Denis Feissel (CNRS), I was so excited and deeply touched! This has repaid so much efforts and sacrifices! But the way is still much long....
Who's your favourite archaeologist? Of course, Edward C. Harris, Philip Barker, and Sauro Gelichi (especially for Italians) are pillars for a medieval archaeologist, but in my case the studies of Carlo Carletti, Denis Feissel and Cyril Mango are absolutely necessary for study late antique and Byzantine inscriptions, and build a good foundations for a multidisciplinary approach to the Epigraphy!