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date: 18 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

In 1998, archaeologists discovered the first of sixteen Roman shipwrecks at San Rossore, Pisa, 500 m from the leaning tower. Shortly afterward a grand vision for a “museum with three vertices” was articulated: a public excavation area plus a conservation laboratory and museum of Mediterranean navigation, to be constructed in an under-used sixteenth-century barracks nearby. The grand vision of three interconnected institutions became an obstacle in itself: in the absence of an administrative culture that was able to bring projects “down to earth,” the universalist and utopian tendencies of professional discourse fostered a tendency to choose the “best” project over the most feasible one, adding costs, risks, and uncertainty to an already challenging project. Based on extensive archival research, this chapter reconstructs the fifteen-year history of the project and explores the emergent management issues at this unique site, including the role of professional optimism, bureaucratic myopia, urban planning, and uncertainty.

Keywords: management, decision making, uncertainty, preventive archaeology, professional optimism, bureaucratic myopia, urban planning

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