Hungarian Parliament building and Danube
Hungarian Parliament building and Danube
Esther Unterweger

Born in Austria, Esther studied Provincial Archaeology and Art History at the University of Graz, Austria. Her other interests include 20th century Vienna and the Viennese Secession, two of her favourite subjects.

Later, Esther studied Maritime Archaeology: studying at both Karl-Franzen Graz and Southampton universities, and working on research and excavation projects with a maritime focus. Her favourite travel experiences – she couldn’t just choose one – include exploring the jungle in Belize, touring the desert in Jordan and backpacking across Java, Bali and Lombok. She enjoys working on archaeological projects, diving, fencing, and, of course, travelling.

What first sparked your passion for travel?

My family. From a young age onwards, there always has been a thirst for exploring and getting to know other countries and how people actually live in comparison to us.

How many languages do you speak?

German, English and Spanish (which will always need more work)

What first sparked your interest for archaeology?

I guess my interest in archaeology stems or at least started when I still was a kid and my mum used to always watch documentaries about history and archaeology while she was cooking. The things we study are a means to trying to understand why humans behaved in certain ways at certain times in history - which helps us understand the present.  l love archaeology because the tangible evidence of our history fascinates me. The ability to sift through layers of time in the form of soil and discover pieces of our past long since forgotten is a unique experience that greatly expands our knowledge of human culture and history.

If you can – name your favourite archaeological site?

I really can’t, but I can name a few:

The Moai statues, massive megaliths, at Chile’s Easter Island. The remoteness and monumentality of these statues are just astonishing.

The magnificent Tikal in Guatemala, its great plazas, pyramids, and palaces, the appearance of Maya hieroglyphic writing and complex systems of time-counting.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia, especially Ta Prohm as it remains mostly in its original state and is just a magical place to be.

Borobudur (Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia), the world’s largest Buddhist temple, with a view to die for.

Ephesos in Turkey, so much is still intact and yet undiscovered, its my favourite archaeological playground.

The lake dwellings at Federnsee, Germay. The prehistoric pile dwellings in the region of the Alps are among the most important archaeological sources of early human history. As I have worked on lake dwellings for the past 4 years, I am constantly fascinated by the preservation of the organic material there and the sheer load of information we can gather from almost 6000 years ago.

What is the most memorable thing to happen to you on a tour?

There are many cherished memories that will stay with me forever, but if I had to choose only one, it probably would be my first game drive in Tanzania.

What is your favourite tour?

So far, I have three favourite tours: Japan, Tanzania and Zanzibar and Belize, Guatemala and Honduras Tour

How many tours have you managed for Andante?

I think around 15 and every single one was an experience I never want to miss.

What does archaeology mean to you?

Archaeology is the material connection between our history and the contemporary present. Analysis of each artifact, site, or feature brings us closer to understanding where we came from, and pushes us towards discovering where we are going.

The fine line that separates the present and past shows how significant each and every historical event is in shaping our future. Although I have been interested in many subjects during my education, history has always been at the forefront as it excites and motivates me the most.