VoicesOfVenice studies the social aspect of the materiality of the past, simultaneously measuring its legacy in the present

The Project's Questions

Problem: how can we assess the extent to which early Venetians conceptualized their ecological impact, and what were the social implications for maintaining exploitative practices?

Problem: how did technology transfer allow the first Venetians to produce vessels capable of long-distance travel, at a time when this knowledge was not present in the western Mediterranean?

Problem: given the geographic constraints of the lagoon, what social, political and logistical mechanisms did the Venetians‟ employ to secure their food supply (fauna, plants, aquaculture)?

Problem: being surrounded by salt marsh, the lagoon has no naturally occurring sources of fresh, drinking, water. What were the social outcomes of a constrained water supply?

Problem: how can we evaluate the social and labor provision costs of achieving affordance, to maintain specific “things”, i.e. the Venetian vessels, ports, piers, glass goblet… These artefacts incur a specific “work-organizational” cost, and this needs assessment, but within a global perspective incorporating the range of objects.

Problem: ethics within an historic perspective. Viewing slaves as a material commodity, how can we reconcile the historic narrative on slavery with modern debates regarding human rights? 

Problem: ethics today. UNESCO have played a critical role in furnishing our modern conceptualization on the origins of Venice; how will the present propose project be most effectively integrated into the present memory of local Venetians, and how will present-day knowledge be affected considering the now-dynamic (moving away from a static view of classical archaeology) nature of archaeology.


Principal Investigator

  • Diego CALAON


  • Elisabetta ZENDRI
  • Krish SEETAH

In collaboration with

  • Rowena BANERJA
  • Alex BROWN
  • Šasa ČAVAL

Team 2017

  • Andrea CIPOLATO
  • Giulia RICCI
  • Martina BERGAMO
  • Jacopo PAIANO
  • Marco PALADINI
  • Federico THALER

Archaeometric Lab Team

  • Eleonora BALLIANA
  • Francesca C. IZZO
  • Laura FALCHI
  • Martina ZUENA