The uniqueness of a journey through time which becomes a dialogue between past and present



Haldenstein, Gässli
Jürg Spadin
Archäologischer Dienst Graubünden

My name is Joerg Spadin and I am an archaeologist, but I prefer to think of myself as a time traveller: a sort of Indiana Jones, hunting for treasures from the past. The greatest treasure of all, however, is the sense of awe I feel when I have the impression that my present and history overlap. On the one hand, the research of someone who studies a culture that no longer exists and, on the other, the life that created that culture.

I believe that the essence of man lies in the traces that he leaves behind during his lifetime.

This is why I view my job as an opportunity to travel in a unique dimension, creating a dialogue between different eras, both near and far.

I live in the Canton of Grisons in Switzerland where I have worked since 1998. In 2006, I became director of excavations, overseeing a team of archaeologists with whom I share my passion for every minute trace of distant eras.

We travel together through time, guided by the discipline of science. And I expect discipline from my colleagues: in their assessments, classification procedures, and drafting of conclusions and research. The prerequisite for a valid result is accuracy in the work, throughout all the stages. We are usually told about a potential site, a wall or an artefact.

We then carry out an on-site inspection, check the position and decide whether to set up a work site. We always produce photographic documentation of the finds; we free them from debris and then, clean, catalogue and glue them together. In this way, we bring them back to life, to present time where the past is studied to better understand man’s adventure on Earth.

All the material produces a large amount of documentation which is made available to other scholars and researchers because science is about sharing.

Stories, people, cultures and languages are always intertwined. The greatest treasure of all is knowing all the details.