VPP Staff Members

Use the form below to ask your questions of the archaeologists.

Dr. Marcello Mogetta: Co-Director

Marcello MogettaMarcello Mogetta (PhD, Michigan) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Ancient Mediterranean Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research focuses especially on first millennium BCE Italy, and combines formal architectural study, stratigraphic and archaeometric analysis in the field and lab, and digital techniques of recording and visualization of ancient remains and artifacts. He conducts fieldwork at Pompeii and Gabii to elucidate the nature and structure of Italian urbanism in its broader Mediterranean context, and the implications of Rome’s expansion on the development of élite architectural forms. He is particularly interested in the complex and ambiguous relationship between the formation of a distinctive Roman material and visual culture, the influence of Greek tradition, and the agency of non-Roman patrons and builders. In collaboration with the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology and the Capitoline Museums in Rome, he also co-directs the CaLC-Rome project, which uses the 3D modeling and surface analysis of ceramic vessels from the Esquiline necropolis of Rome in order to reconstruct their manufacturing process and life cycle.




Dr. Ilaria Battiloro: Co-Director

Ilaria BattiloroI am Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at Mount Allison University. After receiving a BA from the University of Naples "Federico II", and a specialization degree from the Graduate School of Archaeology of Matera, I took a PhD in Classical Archaeology at the University of Alberta. Since 2000, I have focused my research on my long-standing interests for the native populations of ancient Basilicata from the 6th century BC to the Roman conquest of the Italian peninsula, with special emphasis on cult places and religious manifestations. In addition to co-directing the Venus Pompeiana Project, I am principal investigator of a research project on the necropolis of Tricarico, Serra del Cedro (Matera, Italy).

Dr. Dan Diffendale: Architect and Digital Data Supervisor

Dan DiffendaleDaniel P. Diffendale (Ph.D., Michigan; B.A., Penn) is an archaeologist specializing in the 1st millennium BCE central Mediterranean, with a particular interest in religious architecture and its use as political space. Currently a research associate at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, he has worked as topographer for the Sant’Omobono Project in Rome, as well as topographer and trench supervisor for the Mt. Lykaion Project in Greece, and has also worked at Trebula Mutuesca, Corinth, and several sites in the United States.

Matt Harder: Photogrammetry

Matt HarderMatt Harder is a Phd Student in Classical Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research interests include topography, cultural interaction in Pre-Roman and Roman Italy, and digital tools in archaeology. Besides working on the Venus Pompeiana Project he also works on the Gabii Project.

Mariangela Pignataro: Trench Supervisor

I earned a BA in Cultural Heritage Sciences and an MA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Bari, specializing in the study of transport amphorae from the ancient town of Egnazia, on the Adriatic coast of Apulia. I then completed the post-graduate program in Archaeology at the University of Basilicata, Matera, with a thesis on one of the cemeteries of Difesa San Biagio.

I have been a staff member of the Progetto Egnazia (University of Bari) for 10 years, and participated in excavations and surveys in Basilicata, serving in various capacities as finds supervisor, finds school supervisor, field assistant and assistant trench supervisor.

My research interests is in Roman pottery, with a focus on transport amphorae and black gloss ware, in ancient restoration. Having collaborated in the organization of archaeological exhibitions, I am also interested in the management of archaeological finds. As a pottery specialist, I am currently involved with archaeological projects carried out by national and international research institutions in Apulia and Basilicata, ranging from rural landscapes, urban archaeology, underwater finds and funerary archaeology. I work as contract archaeologist for preemptive archaeology, salvage archaeology and the monitoring of soil disturbance in archaeologically sensitive areas.

For a list of my publications see: orcid.org/0000-0003-0290-2799

Ivan Varriale: Trench Supervisor

Ivan VarrialeBorn in Naples in 1974, I hold degrees in Conservation of Cultural Heritage from the University Suor Orsola Benincasa of Naples and in Classical Archaeology from the University of Basilicata.

A specialist of Roman wall-painting, I was adjunct professor of "Classical Archaeology" at the University Suor Orsola Benincasa of Naples (2009-2010), Visiting Researcher at the University of Tokyo (from 2004 to 2009), German Archaeological Institute fellow (2011) and Fritz Thyssen Stiftung postdoctoral fellow (Förderung italienischer Nachwuchswissenschaftler an deutschen Institutionen in Italien, 2013). From 2004 to 2009 I was Technical Director (SOA OS25, OS2) of the restoration company Euris srl.

I have been member or consultant in numerous international scientific projects and excavations since 1997, most recently serving as scientific director of excavation and restoration projects linked to the Grande Progetto Pompeii. I am currently the Technical Director (SOA OS25, OS2) of the restoration company Omnia Restauri srl. I am the founder of Archeologia a Napoli (Archaeology in Naples) born with the aim of financing independent scientific research in the field of archaeology and cultural heritage, and the editor of the series "Enolibro, pagine da bere" published by Valtrend. www.archeologianapoli.com


Janan Assaly: Field Assistant

Janan AssalyI'm a Canadian undergraduate student studying Classics and History at Mount Allison University. My passions include studying ancient women and Italian archaeology. I participated in the Venus Pompeiana Field School last summer, and I am thrilled to be returning as a field assistant this year.

Kaoru Yui: Field Assistant

Kaoru YuiKaoru Yui is a recent graduate of Mount Allison University. During her time at Mount Allison, she studied Art History and Classics. As her extracurricular, she took two internship positions at the Owens Art Gallery, as a Student Conservation Intern and as a Crake Art Intern. Working closely with the directory and the conservator of the gallery, as well as all of the other experience at Mount Allison, inspired and confirmed her passion for art conservation. She will be starting her master's in art conservation at Queen's University from September 2018.

Massimo Barretta: Finds Lab Supervisor

Massimo BarrettaMassimo Barretta was born in Sicily (1979) and grew up in the shadow of the "Valle dei Templi" of Agrigento. He graduated from the University of Palermo (2004) and specialized in classical archaeology in Matera with a thesis on the "Castrum of Metaponto" (2008). He has been a longtime collaborator with the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has dedicated himself to the study of ceramics and the drawing of archaeological materials. His main areas interest are the protohistoric and Archaic ages (Incoronata of Metaponto and Torre di Satriano at Potenza) and the Hellenistic-Roman period (Chora of Metaponto and Pompeii). He has done fieldwork in Pompeii, Himera, Torre di Satriano and Palmi. He also oversaw the staging of an antiquarium in Irsina (Matera).

Mattia D’Acri: Finds Lab Supervisor

Mattia D’AcriMattia D’Acri is a graduate of the Scuola di Specializzazione in Archeologia – Matera and is currently a PhD student in the Classical Archaeology program at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His main interest is the study of ceramics, with particular focus on the Protohistoric and Archaic periods in central-southern Italy. He has done fieldwork at Rome (S. Omobono; Regia), Gabii, and Francavilla Marittima and published on various aspects of the pottery assemblages recovered from these sites.

Dr. Giacomo Pardini: Numismatist

Dr. Giacomo PardiniGiacomo Pardini (PhD, Salerno) is a Research Fellow in Ancient Numismatics in the Department of Cultural Heritage Science at the University of Salerno, where he teaches graduate level courses in Ancient Numismatics. He has led numerous archaeological excavations in Rome (Meta Sudans and NE slopes of the Palatine), at Monteleone Sabino (Trebula Mutuesca), and in Syria (Tell Barri/Kahat). His research focuses on the relationship between archaeological contexts and ancient numismatics, the interpretation of coins from excavation, monetary circulation in antiquity, and ancient trade. He authored several papers on coin findings in particular from Rome and Pompeii, on the Augustan Meta Sudans, and on the Curiae Veteres sanctuary in Rome.


Arch. Carlo Monda: Safety Engineer

Arch. Carlo MondaCarlo Monda is a registered architect specializing in health and safety engineering. He has designed, directed and coordinated numerous projects in the field of archaeological excavations and conservation, collaborating with important italian cultural institutions and international research institutions.


Hi, this is an international student, JooYoung Kim, at Univesity of Southern Mississippi. I'd like to ask some questions about your study! Why are you interested in this site? What are some of the research goals for this project? And what are the methods that you guys use to recover the data? Like how do you find sites and dig them? I would appreciate your reply!

How does the process of finding the site to begin a dig work? Whenever you do find data from the dig, how do you go about forming conclusions on the past culture that left these objects behind? I assume that going into the field study that there were probably some research questions, but I am curious if you all were able to find the answers to your questions? 

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