Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST)
Office: SOC 267
Ph.D. University of Torino (Italy), 2007
In my field of archaeology, the unearthing and excavation of remnants of prior civilizations reminds us what it means to be fully human, what it means to enact that humanity in the world between and among ourselves. I encourage and support debate, questioning, differences of opinion and an open learning style in which students can use the prior knowledge that they possess in order to both learn and then reflect on that learning.
Teaching represents the most rewarding part of my job, the final purpose of any research efforts.
I consider myself a naturally born communicator. Regardless of the audience, I am able to explain the gist of archaeology and art history in a simple language, free of technicalities and empowered by the use of figures of speech adopted by the media. I am able to engage students of any background by building constant bridges between the past and the present, teaching them how to capitalize what they learn about that past in their lives and careers but also warning them about media distortions.
My teaching materials are mainly figurative and multimedia. I by far prefer discussion as a teaching method as it helps students to improve their critical thinking, and being a supporter of the edutainment (education + entertainment) I frequently use materials derived from videogames, movies, comics and music to treat most complex themes. I am a technology enthusiast and a super user of computer devices and in my classes I make a large use of any digital tools: nothing makes students remember about ancient architecture more than to ask them to design and recreate it with Minecraft. I prefer to provide to students a first-hand approach to ancient art using as samples original artifacts from museum collections or as alternative virtual models of them, anything that can create an interaction.
Since 2007 I have been founding member and co-scientific director of the research program of computer graphics applied to archaeology, the Archeomatica Project at the University of Catania’s Image Processing Laboratory of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (Italy). In that capacity I have fostered several research projects about virtual archaeology of Minoan Crete, Greek Sicily and Prehistoric Malta along with many collaborations with national and international museums. In 2012 I founded the Laboratory of Virtual Archaeology at the Arcadia University Sicily Center of Siracusa (Italy). As its director I have designed and promoted several 3D modelling and 3D scanning projects in partnership with many Sicilian museums and heritage offices, as for example the 3D scanning of a group of 30 statues at the Archaeological Museum of Siracusa to produce a virtual tour in Sicilian sculpture from Prehistory to Late Roman period. In my work, I use different techniques of 2D and 3D Digital Imaging for data recording during the excavation (3D modeling, 3D scanning, Photomodeling) and for post-excavation studies (Reflectance Transformation Imaging for the study of graffiti and inscriptions, automatic recognition and classification of colors and decorative motifs on ancient pottery, virtual reconstruction and digital restoration of archaeological artifacts). In this track of my research, I have designed and published on virtual reconstructions of urban landscapes and ancient monuments of Sicily, Crete and Malta and co-produced, as scriptwriter, scientific consultant and assistant director, some documentaries in 3D computer animation, among which the multi-awarded movies about Greek Siracusa (Siracusa 3D Reborn) and Roman Pompeii (Pompei 3D. A Buried Story).
I have participated in several fieldwork projects in Greece with the Italian Archaeological School at Athens and the University of Catania and I have been the field director of many excavations in Sicily. Most recently (2013-2015), I have directed the field school in archaeology of Arcadia University at the Roman Catacombs of St. Lucy at Siracusa in partnership with the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology.
I am a specialist of Mediterranean archaeology, from Prehistory to the fall of the Roman Empire. I have great experience in working with both Greek and Latin sources as well as with the material culture. My favorite geographic areas of investigation are Sicily, Malta and the Aegean. I am also specialized in the archaeometric characterization of ancient artifacts, especially ceramics and glasses, and I am familiar with a number of techniques of analysis as XRF, PXRF, XRD, PIXE-PIGE, ICP-OES, ICP-MES, NAA, FT-IR, SEM-EDX, SANS. My most recent focus is on Digital Archaeology, with emphasis on 3D Digital Imaging and application of 3D Scanning, 3D Modeling and Digital Photogrammetry to cases study of Mediterranean archaeology and ancient epigraphy.
Dr. Tanasi is happy to supervise Masters and PhD candidates with interests in Greek and Roman archaeology of Sicily and Malta, Mediterranean prehistory, 3D digital imaging applied to archaeology, archaeological sciences with an emphasis on geology and chemistry applied to ceramic studies.