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Vasile Diaconu, an archaeologist who brings to light Romania's millenary history

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Vasile Diaconu, PhD in archaeological sciences and researcher at the Neamt National Museum Complex, would have liked to be on archaeological sites, where he feels "at home", but the unfavorable weather no longer allows this.

A graduate of the Faculty of History with the Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi and of the Master's module "Society and Power in Antiquity and the Middle Ages", within the same faculty, Vasile Diaconu has a doctorate in science since 2014, when he was only 32 years old.

Although he used to be a teacher for a short period of time, he considered that research work suits him best. He became a museographer, archaeologist and scientific researcher specialized in "Prehistory of the Eastern Carpathian area, with a special focus on the Bronze Age, the Bronze Age in South-Eastern Europe, the lithic industry of prehistoric communities and the Archeology of salt".

Vasile Diaconu told AGERPRES that his passion for history came from his father, a passionate coin collector, and archeology was instilled in him by his grandfather, through accidental discoveries.

The first experience with an archaeological site came at the age of 15, when Vasile Diaconu knew exactly what path he wanted to follow. He started with simple pilgrimages in the vicinity of his hometown, where he found various archaeological remains that he made known to his History teacher at the time.

"He recommended me to the late Dr. Gheorghe Dumitroaia, who was the director of the Neamt National Museum Complex at that time and who told me that he would invite me to an archaeological site. Only after the first year of college can I say that I got to know the archaeological work in its fullness, together with the participation in the practice at the school site in Silistea, in Neamt county. The following year, the archaeologist Gheorghe Dumitroaia called me to one of the archaeological sites he was coordinating at the time and which, luckily for me, was in my birthplace city. These were the moments when I was firmly convinced that I would make archeology a profession," recalled the scientific researcher.

Vasile Diaconu believes that, at the present time, archeology should no longer be seen as a sub-domain of history, but a meta-discipline wherein modern research must call on numerous other disciplines to support the classical methods of archaeology.

As for the most important personal discoveries, Vasile Diaconu says that, for an archaeologist, all discoveries are important, because their ultimate goal is to reconstruct the past as faithfully as possible.

"History, in general, must be seen as a big LEGO, and each archaeological discovery is a piece that forms this ensemble. My archaeological discoveries are important because in the 15 years of activity I have managed to enrich the historical heritage of the country with numerous archaeological sites, but also with various vestiges of considerable antiquity. If I were to choose the criterion of antiquity, I remember the fact that I participated in archaeological excavations in a very complex site, that of Tolici (Neamţ county), whose beginnings can be placed with 8,000 years ago," said the doctor of archaeological sciences Vasile Diaconu.

Currently, Vasile Diaconu and the team he coordinates are continuing the research in the Topolita site, located 8 kilometers south of Targu Neamt. There he researched in the last four years a part of a village with an age of almost 6,500 years and which belonged to the communities of the Pre-Cucuteni culture, therefore prior to the famous Cucuteni culture.

This summer, Vasile Diaconu found in Topolita evidence of habitation even older, of almost 7 millennia, which belong to communities of farmers who came from Central Europe.

"The public must know that our area, of Neamtului, abounds with vestiges of the past, and the land we walk on every day still has many secrets waiting to be known. Even if it seems a paradox, agriculture in Romania has not caused the irreparable destruction of the archaeological sites as it happened in the western areas of Europe. From this point of view we can consider ourselves lucky. In order for the public to get an idea of the archaeological potential of Neamt County, I can give the example of a municipality that has over 30 archaeological sites. Of course, there are localities with an even greater number of sites, and others have even fewer. However, on a global estimate, I think Neamt County has over 1,000 archaeological sites. In addition, the public must know that we have extremely valuable and of considerable age, many of them being of European or even world importance," emphasized Vasile Diaconu.

He is optimistic that archeology will have a future, but maintains that all decision-makers must work together so that this field is even more present in the lives of human communities.

Vasile Diaconu sees and feels Romania's National Day as an intense moment of reflection and celebration of achievements that began more than a century ago.

"I see the National Day as a moment of national balance, but, at the same time, it should also be a moment of assuming viable ascending directions and not just theorized (politicised)," says Vasile Diaconu.

What did he do for Romania?

"I think that up to this moment I have managed to 'absorb' the financial efforts the Romanian state made for my education. Through my work I know I have contributed to the completion and nuance of our national history, through the efforts I have implemented and with the support of the institution I belong to - the Neamt National Museum Complex. Even if it is on a very small scale, part of what it means to promote the country's image beyond its borders is also due to my contributions in the field of museology and archaeology. Participation in international scientists demonstrations had precisely this role, a better knowledge of our heritage in the world," said the researcher.

What did Romania do for him?

"It provided my parents with the strictly necessary so that they would not have to go to another country, in this way I had the opportunity to educate myself here, then work and contribute, in my own way, to the progress of our nation. Romania offered a framework, with all its limitations, which allowed me to understand that for the time being it is at home," said the researcher Vasile Diaconu, doctor of archaeological sciences.AGERPRES


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