We all have skeletons in the closet, but CCV instructor Luisa Millington brings hers out to share with students.
“I have analyzed more than 3,000 human remains because Rome is a very unique situation,” said Millington, who is a native of the Italian city. “Rome has volcanic rock that is very acidic, so what happens is the acidity decomposes the flesh very quickly but preserves the bones, which is why we have so many necropoli around Rome, and every necropolis has hundreds and hundreds of human remains that need to be studied.”
Millington earned her Ph.D. in Natural Science from the University of La Sapienza in Italy and is a formally trained archaeologist and anthropologist. Sitting in a science classroom at Arlington Memorial High School, where she teaches honors-level physics and chemistry classes, the affable Millington explained how during her years of study and work in Italy she has played a role in over 35 excavations and conducted research into all aspects of osteological remains.
When CCV-Bennington archaeology students study with Millington they have access to first-hand knowledge of, and examples from, some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites. Millington has also been teaching Italian language classes at the College’s Bennington academic center since 2012. And now, Millington’s students will be learning material from and seeing never-before-seen photographs in her first book, The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property: Saving the World’s Heritage, which she co-authored with U.S. Army archaeologist Laurie Rush. Millington will be signing books at an event at CCV-Bennington on Dec. 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Who: Author and CCV Instructor Luisa Millington
What: Book signing – The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Property: Saving the World’s Heritage
When: 7 p.m. December 7, 2015
For More Information: 802-447-2361
Visit publisher Boydell & Brewer for more information about the book.
The book is an in-depth look at the Italian military’s Carabinieri branch. The unit’s purpose is to recover artworks and cultural artifacts stolen from war zones and disaster areas around the world. They are also charged with protecting and preserving archaeological sites, museums, churches and other locations where such artifacts and artworks are housed. As the only unit like it in the world, Millington said the Carabinieri are a model that other countries look to and rely upon for direction in the preservation and protection of the world’s most important cultural sites and locations. Over the course of three years in which she and Rush traveled between the U.S. and Italy, and on Rush’s part to Iraq and Afghanistan, the two have produced a book with a very noble purpose.
“We are trying to teach the Italian model,” Millington said. “To me, every country should have a branch of the military protecting archaeology, arts, museums, specifically. And so three years later, here is the book.”
For her CCV students, the book and the research have real value, she said. First, the book has modern context: the importance of protecting sites and cultural artifacts is needed now more than ever as areas in the Middle East are being ravaged by warfare and terrorist organizations.
“Part of the archaeology course is about how to preserve cultural history not just in the U.S. but internationally, and that’s where this book comes into the picture,” she said. “I have given my [CCV] students two chapters of the book to read and to study and they are amazed that there is such a unit in Italy, they had no idea. And they all agree that we should be doing the same thing here.”
While her classes are not digging up human remains in Europe or Africa, Millington said here in Vermont students can see the importance of preserving archaeological sites. In the past she’s brought students to Fort William Henry, the Merck Forest, and to a site of importance along the Battenkill River for hands-on work.
“For next year we’re looking at doing something in cooperation with Bennington Battlefield, I just established a contact with them,” Millington said. “I really try to do what’s of importance to this area, but the focus is really on preservation of the sites rather than going there and destroying everything, because that’s what we don’t want to happen, and that’s what the book is about.”