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The words of the Founder and President of IRIAE
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I founded the International Research Institute for Archaeology and Ethnology (IRIAE) in November 2012, together with my friend Marco Merola, an internationally renowned scientific journalist. What drove me into this adventure was the will and desire to create a Research Institute that would allow us to conduct archaeological and ethnological projects and expeditions anywhere in the world, without necessarily being linked to academic realities, but equally with a high scientific profile.

Before IRIAE, I was Sole Director of an archaeological services cooperative society, Archeologiattiva s.c.a.r.l., with which, in 2009, I made official the first collaboration between the Italian government and Japanese institutions in the field of archaeology, namely the search for Kubilai Khan's Lost Fleet, on which I had been working personally, in collaboration with Prof. Hayashida Kenzō, since 2005.

When Archeologiattiva was closed, the same year I founded IRIAE, which inherited the expedition to Japan, and since then, research activities have grown exponentially. Expeditions, discoveries, adventures have followed one another over the years, thanks mainly to the various collaborators who have joined IRIAE over time.

Today we can enjoy several records, especially in the field of Japanese archaeology.

Thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of our team, we have achieved important results and IRIAE now sits at the table of the international scientific community.

Have I realised a dream? I can say yes. Today, IRIAE is a solid and established reality, a reality that I will be happy to bequeath one day and see grow increasingly, allowing the archaeologists and researchers of tomorrow to have a tool that enables them to realise their projects. Just as it happened to me!

Dr. Daniele Petrella

Our History


Since its inception in 2012, IRIAE has had a very precise mission, namely to network professionalism, skills, and passions to generate endless possibilities for growth and development in the fields of archaeology and ethnology, in the knowledge that understanding the world and its cultures is the only way to find a common soul.

On the strength of this Vision, IRIAE has conducted, developed, and managed several archaeological expeditions, 5 completed and 5 currently active. Its scientific achievements have been remarkable: the "Jōmon Sea Project" and "Tsushima Project" expeditions are considered among the top 15 expeditions out of approximately 300 funded and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic; it has contributed to the drafting of legislation to protect Japan's Underwater Archaeological Heritage where it was the first and so far only western organisation to carry out archaeological excavations both on land and at sea.

The expedition "The Kubilai Khan's Fleet Project" also won President Daniele Petrella, and thus the entire team, the Rotondi Prize "Saviours of Art in the World" in 2014.

In 2019, "BeArchaeo Project", of which IRIAE is co-creator together with the University of Turin and of which it directs the purely archaeological activities, won a European Union grant within the Horizon 2020 programme.

In addition to its research activities, over the years IRIAE has developed training programmes in various disciplines related to archaeological and ethnological research. One of the most prominent courses was the very popular 'Archaeological Expedition Management' directed by Daniele Petrella himself.

Over time, international collaborations have become numerous and today IRIAE is invited to participate in the most important international fora to present its expeditions. The hunger for knowledge and the will to disseminate it is and always will be the driving force that will propel IRIAE in its future research and activities.

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