Magdolna Vicze

Nationality: Hungary
Professional associations: Hungarian National Museum, Budapest
EAA member since: 2014

TEA: Why do you do archaeology/How did you decide to get into it?

M. Vicze: My childhood dream was to look for and find the grave of Attila the Hun. It is a general knowledge in Hungary that Attila’s burial must be somewhere within the Great Hungarian Plain. Since childhood, I have come to love and appreciate the beauty of archaeology as a discipline as well as its difficulties/hardships. I feel privileged to be but a small part of the particular contribution archaeology can give to understanding human life and behaviour.

TEA: What is the most important and relevant part of your work? 

M. Vicze: My special field is the Bronze Age within the Carpathian Basin. The success of prehistoric communities is attested to by the extensive communication, trade and exchange systems they developed which stretched across the entire continent and beyond. These far-reaching contacts are reflected in their settlement systems and complex burial customs, both on a local and continental level. It is really marvellous how bronze use spread throughout pre-state Europe. The most important and relevant part of studying such communities and the ways in which they achieved success which lasted for centuries is to provide perspective about the challenges we face today.

TEA: How do you see archaeology changing in the future? 

M. Vicze: It seems that archaeology is going to be more and more extensive and more and more segmented as more disciplines join in our research. This, naturally, is a great thing! Human life itself as well as humans’ social lives are multi-faceted. The more research angles open up for us, the more we will be able to understand both our past and present.

TEA: What is the biggest issue facing European archaeology? 

M. Vicze: Today, archaeology faces a dynamic expansion of its fields. During its fourth revolution, it seems to be diverging at an unprecedented speed. This multiplying inevitably brings some difficulties. If we are not careful enough, we might lose the ability to understand each other.

TEA: What archaeology literature are you reading right now? 

M. Vicze: Right now, I am focusing on the theme of our session at the EAA Annual Meeting and particularly my paper, which is going to discuss some aspects of light and lighting, so I am reading the literature on lychnology.

TEA: Describe your workspace in five words or less

M. Vicze: Coffee, computer, books, trowel, excavation trench.

TEA: What is the one piece of gear that you can’t live without in the field?

M. Vicze: Trowel

TEA: If you could have a conversation with any archaeologist living or dead, who would it be, and what would you choose as the topic?

M. Vicze: Vere Gordon Childe. What would be his opinion on the state of archaeology today and its future.

TEA: If you could go back in time, would you go? Where and when?

M. Vicze: Yes, I would go immediately! To Százhalombatta (Hungary), 1700 BC for a whole year.

TEA: Any advice to new archaeologists just starting out?

M. Vicze: Love the discipline, but more importantly be interested in your intellectual pursuits because it is a way of life and thinking. Be patient and have perseverance.

TEA: What is your favourite part of your job?

M. Vicze: Field work and submitting a finished manuscript.

TEA: Do you go to archaeological sites on vacation, or do you do other things?

M. Vicze: Not characteristically, I’d rather enjoy art and architecture then.

TEA: What do you consider to be your greatest discovery?

M. Vicze: My greatest discovery are the colleagues and friends I have come to know and with whom I have worked through my professional life.

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Image courtesy of M. Vicze

Discussion at the site. Image at right courtesy of M. Vicze.

Image at left courtesy of M. Vicze

Colleagues are my greatest discovery. Photo courtesy of Magdolna Vicze.