The Underwater Archaeologist

marc primelo

Marc Primelo ’17 

As a kid, Marc Primelo ’17 (music, archaeology) dreamed of becoming a Navy Seal. Today, he envisions an aquatic profession of a very different sort—a career in underwater archaeology. Primelo plays six instruments, and he's conducted fieldwork in at a Grecian dig site. He discusses these interests and experiences, the pugnacious historical figure he’d like to dine with and more.


Archaeology and music

Clubs and organizations:  

Infernos a cappella group, College Choir, Dickinson College Safety Shuttle (driver), Resident Advisor, WDCV-FM and Tunnel Snakes.

Favorite book: 

The Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. Howard.

Favorite movie: 

Muppet Treasure Island.

On choosing Dickinson:

Dickinson's programs fit everything I wanted in my undergraduate experience. It appeared to me to be a small college with a large personality. Students at Dickinson each have a unique academic path and are encouraged to break the mold of typical undergraduate academia. As someone with a variety of interests, I understood that at Dickinson, I would have the opportunity to diversify my undergraduate studies.

Favorite place on campus: 

The Morgan Field plateau.

Favorite Dining Hall food: 

Flatiron steak.

On choosing a major:

I've always been interested in history and research, so archaeology appealed to me. Music is a passion of mine, and I couldn't pass up on the amazing staff and opportunities available through Dickinson's music department. 

Favorite learning experience:

Participating in the fieldwork at Mycenae with [Associate] Professor [of Archaeology; Christopher Roberts Chair in Archaeology Christofilis] Maggidis and my peers. It was my favorite experience through Dickinson thus far.  

What I did in Greece:

My peers and I assisted Professor Maggidis and graduate-student researchers with washing, sorting and cataloging pottery sherds, as well as drawing site remains and excavating the lower town walls. We also further surveyed the land surrounding the already excavated site.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:

Every task is fruitful if done well.  

Little-known hobby/talent:

I study the West African griot music traditions, and play the kora (mandinka harp), as well as the guitar, French horn, double bass and cross-strung harp. I began to play the kora as a junior in high school. I was drawn to its unique and beautiful tone. I am also attempting to build an epigonion harp. Ancient music has always been a field of interest for me; it fascinates me how much context-specific aspects of a culture can reveal about that people and that time. 

Post-Dickinson plans:

I hope to begin working as an underwater archaeologist, likely in Eastern Europe, with hopes of contributing meaningful research to the scientific community.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… a Navy Seal.

Proudest accomplishment so far:

Player's Player Sportsmanship Award, from my high school swim team.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Genghis Khan.

Biggest influence:

The FQ think-tank group. They have taught me so much about how to live a complete life, and I am proud to be among their ranks. I began involvement with FQ around my sophomore year of high school. I act as an artistic director, general logistics manager and producer, when fitting. 

In a perfect world …

… strength would be unnecessary.

Learn more

Published February 17, 2017