Nineteen Years of Archaeology and Bioarchaeology in

Transylvania (Romania)

          Archaeological Techniques and Center Research (ArchaeoTek) has been created in 2001 in Canada by two archaeologists of Eastern European background, Andre Gonciar and Stephen Batiuk, as an independent association of researchers in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, physical anthropology and GIS/remote sensing. Our initial goal was to provide a platform where international collaborative research programs could develop, through which we could provide logistical support and up-to-date expertise (methodological and theoretical) to selected projects in Eastern Europe. In that context, A. Gonciar set up the Southern Transylvania Projects, directed towards studying the archaeological development of culture in a geographically distinct territory, from the early Neolithic to the Classical period, to the Post Roman Iron Age, to the Middle Ages.

          Since its creation in 2001, ArchaeoTek Archaeology has been providing field and laboratory education and research opportunities in Transylvania, Romania, in the fields of archaeology, bioarchaeology, anthropology, classics, history, experimental archaeology, applied geochemistry and geophysics.  Working in close collaboration with Romanian museums and universities, our researchers prioritize the full integration of a comprehensive educational and cultural experience for students with the research designs of the scientific directorship.  Focusing on skill acquisition, ArchaeoTek offers rigorous and intensive training and hands-on experience performing essential cultural heritage field and lab work in the region, including site excavation, site survey, applied field geophysics and geochemistry, experimental archaeology, funerary and mortuary excavation, bioarchaeological and osteological analysis and research, across a range of time periods from the Neolithic to Medieval.  Our staff – faculty, graduates and personnel from some of the best-regarded university programs – is committed to providing students of any background with a productive, educational and valuable fieldwork experience, going above and beyond traditional academic field school approaches. Being an independent research program, together with our direct involvement with local communities, allows us to maintain positive, respectful and lasting relationships with our Romanian counterparts.  This also permits us to keep cost to students as low as possible, as well as grants us the freedom to extend research, conference presentation and publication opportunities to students who wish to incorporate their experience with ArchaeoTek into their future academic work.

           From what initially was intended to be purely a scientific endeavor, Southern Transylvania Projects evolved to be much more. It became a full program of exploration of Romanian archaeology, anthropology and culture, truly a journey into the histories and realities of the Romanian countryside. As a result, during the past 14 years, more than 1200 American, Canadian, Western European and Australian (and more) participants have spent their summers on one of our projects, contributing to the exploration and further understanding of the Romanian past and, extension, the evolution of the "Old World". The experience they took back to their home countries portrayed a different Romania from the one commonly displayed in the news. These students experience a country enriched by an extraordinary anthropological heritage that they are now part of in a small but meaningful way, a diverse and vibrant culture, and a welcoming people.

           All our projects (see project list) are the result of research initiatives set up as field, laboratory and scientific collaborations with local museums and/or national research units, in a context of scientific collaboration and mutual respect. At the present time, the Southern Transylvania Projects are currently the longest lasting cultural international endeavor in Transylvania and one of the very few archaeological projects in Romania. The full day session that we presented at the 2012 Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference in Buffalo, “New Perspectives in Transylvanian Archaeology”, celebrated a decade of our field and scientific research by introducing the North American scientific community and public to the extraordinary archaeology of the Romanian distant past. The ongoing  series of our International Student Colloquium in Osteology and Bioarchaeology, now in its 8th year, hosted by the Haaz Rezso Museum, brings together Romanian and Western perspectives, while preparing our participants to bring their research forward and propagate newly generated scientific knowledge. ArchaeoTek students and staff continue to bring Transylvanian archaeology and anthropology to the North American scientific community through numerous conference presentations and sessions at SAA, AAPA, PPA, AIA and TAG-USA.

             Furthermore, since 2016, our osteology workshops and funerary excavations are formally credited by the University of South Florida and Western Carolina University, respectively.

And finally, the aquisition of new exploratory gear allows ArchaeoTek to set new standards of excellence in the field. Depending on the project, our participants will get trained in using our 3D scanner and printer, digital microscopes, drone mapping (panchromatic, thermal and multispectral), total station and two ground penetrating radar (GPR), of different transducer frequencies (250MHz and 500MHz) system configurations (cart and rough terrain).

WHAT'S UP?
LAST EVENT

NEW PROJECTS

 

  • The outstanding success of our 2018 and 2019 GPR projects, the Applied Field Geophysics Workshop - GPR Applications, prompted us to buy a second GPR unit with a different central frequency and a different configuration. As a result, our participants will have the unique opportunity to get fully proficient on a 250MHz GPR system, in a cart configuration, as well as 500MHz system, in a rough terrain configuration.

  • Furthermore, participants who are committed to expand their field skill set can register to our new Geophysics Exploration and Field Excavation program. It is a 4 week program, combining the GPR Applications Workshop (5 days) and  Roman Villa Excavation (3 weeks). Participants save $200 over the combined costs of the individual programs.

2020

New for our 2020 season: our Applied Field Geophysics Workshop-GPR Applications will allow the comparative professional training on the core GPR systems and configurations used in near surface investigations: 250MHz and 500MHz transducers, in respectively cart and rough terrain configurations. Our program is open to all disciplines, focusing on GPR theory, methods, techniques and applications.

 

As a result of overwhelming positive response and further request from our participants, we are offering the possibility to combine all sessions of our the GPR Applications Workshop with both field sessions of our Roman Villa Excavation as a stand alone program, allowing to save $200 on the combined fees. Our two research/training case study sites have been carefully chosen to combine increasing complexity of ancient, historical and modern features. These sites provide an unparalleled access to a diverse set of features and conditions.  We address urban and proto-urban settlement construction, complex anthropogenic stratigraphic relationships, variation in soil structure and conditions, wide range of materials and their use/reuse, unmapped ancient and modern utilities, potential graves, modern and ancient civil works projects (including the remains of roads, aqueducts, and wells), changes in hydrogeological environment caused by modern human intervention, and all as-yet undiscovered features. The highest quality for the best price on any GPR courses available anywhere!!!

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