Intensive Applied Field Geophysics Workshop

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Applications


Rapoltu Mare, Hunedoara County,

Transylvania, Romania

Session 1: June 14 - June 20

Session 2: June 21 - June 27

Session 3: July 12 - July 18

Session 4: July 19 - July 25


​​Room and Board


Logistics and Housing


            Our project aims at exploring the area situated along the mures River, in the immediat vicinity of the Imperial Roman road linking Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana to Apulum, via Germisara.

          We house everyone in double occupancy rooms in village homes. Every house is equipped with bathrooms. You will be guests of Romanian families and will have a chance to discover the true sense of old fashion Transylvanian hospitality. You will experience some of the nicest aspects of Eastern European country life, indulging in your guest families home made cookies and a variety of  home made traditional  beverages.      
          The housing and excavation conditions are very safe. There are several fully equipped hospitals and stores near by. Generally speaking, you will have all the advantages of a country life with all the comfort of an urban environment.




          Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the fees for the entire session (Mon-Sat) and we will have them with the rest of our team in our dining hall at our archaeological base.  Beware that Romanian cuisine is generally meat oriented, but we can accommodate vegetarian diets.

          There are several small stores in Rapolt where you can purchase fresh cheese, various meat products, garden vegetables, bread, drinks, etc. In Simeria, a city about 10km away, you can find restaurants, pizzerias and supermarkets.


Project Fees


Costs: US$1095 per each 5-day session

Team size: maximum 3 participants per session per GPR system


         The fee is for each full 5 (six) day (Mon-Fri) session. Because each session is limited to only 3 (three) participants per GPR system, we require a clear commitment from each applicant before a spot on the project is assigned, As a result, the project fees are not refundable.

         The project fees include registration fees, full room and board for the duration of each session as described above, site access, museum clearance, local transportation to sites when needed, all field equipment, reading materials and lectures, field and lab training. All houses have bathrooms and hot water showers. Usually, we expect the entire project fee to be paid in full within 21 days after being accepted to the program.

          The registration cost does not include the trip to and from Romania. If you arrive at the pre-established times, someone will wait for you at the train station in Simeria (Hunedoara County, Romania) and drive you to your guest home. Participants must arrange their own travel and health insurance.

           At the present time, no entry visa is required for Romania for up to 12 weeks for EU, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens.


Getting There: Travel and Safety


          In light of recent global events, questions of safety are on everyone’s mind. Romania is safe and Transylvania as a whole is very safe. Most crimes in Romania take the form of petty theft or corruption. Very few violent crimes have occurred in the country. Most of the problems and crimes that are exposed in the media: poverty, gypsy problems, street kids, etc., – happen south of the Carpathian Mountains, mainly around Bucharest and Craiova.

          There is no terrorist threat whatsoever in regards to Romania. Romania is a country with the lowest terrorism risk in the world - for references, check: Global Terrorism Index (, and associated reference map (, as well as  Global Peace Index ( Also, have a look at the Department of State specific Romania page for more information: . Statistically speaking, as far as crime (and terrorist threats) are concerned, you will be safer in Transylvania than in any major city in the US (for reference on comparative crime rates, see Also, the current migrants/refugees are really not interested in Romania (poor social safety net and low average salaries) and Romania is only accepting a symbolic number of refugees. Since Romania was one of the last countries to join the EU, it still has active borders and it controls transit in and out of the country.

          We will pick up everyone at the Simeria train station upon arrival and drive you to the dig house in Rapoltu Mare. There are several easy ways to get there. Simeria is a train and bus hub, easily accessible. In the past, participants preferred to land in Budapest (recommended): it is very easy to get to Simeria by train from there. Another option, a bit more expensive, is to land in  Cluj, Arad, Timisoara, or Sibiu (there are daily flights from England, France, Germany, Italy and Hungary to most of these cities – check, among other sites, , , ,; Wizz Air, , might offer a significantly cheaper flight, but your options are severely reduced). We advise not to land in Bucharest: it is not as nice nor as safe as Budapest, or any Transylvanian cities.

         The return train trip Budapest-Simeria is less than US$100. The trip usually last around 9-11 hours one way (always expect Central and Eastern European trains to be late). From Simeria train station, our dig house is less than 10min cab ride (and about $10). If you choose to take the train in Romania, I strongly suggest to pay an bit extra for first class seats, if the train offers that option: the conditions are not much better than second class, but it is cleaner and you get different kind of travelers.
          All participants are responsible for their own travel arrangement to the Simeria train station. Once you arrive at the pre-established times at the designated spot, someone will pick you up and take you to the dig house.

          A more specific, detailed "travel kit", with train schedules, pick up locations, a guide to food and drinks, an overall list of what to bring, etc will be sent to all team members in March. Meanwhile, you can explore the participants' blogs from various ArchaeoTek past projects and visit our Facebook Community page where they have shared thousands of pics.

     To sum up:

1. Strongly advised to land in Budapest, not Bucharest.

2. Shop (i.e. check multiple travel sites, including the airlines website) on-line for tickets.
3. Make sure you have enough time between connecting flights (i.e. minimum 2h is good under normal circumstances).
4. Don't fly over war zones or with questionable airlines.

5. Flight prices as such don't change much with time, but the cheap seats are sold faster.




          Rapolt is located in the center of Hunedoara County, a region of great historical significance in Transylvania.  The locality of Rapolt itself is surrounding by a number of important cultural sites that students are encouraged to visit.  Because of the short duration and the very small number of participants in each session, we can't offer any tours. However, we strongly encourage you to take a couple of days before or after the project to explore the region.

          The Roman (and modern) bath complex of Germisara (now Geoagiu Bai) which was once a hub of Roman social life is now a popular tourist destination as well, and is only a few bus stops from Rapolt.  The nearby fortresses of the Iron Age Dacians at Costesti/Blidaru and Piatra Rosie are some of the best preserved examples of Dacian military defenses here in the heartland of the Dacian Empire.  The political, religious and economic capital of Hunedoara County, Deva, is easily accessible, home to the Deva History Museum, our collaborative partner and repository for all projects finds.  The hilltop Deva Castle dominates the city center, and accessible by stair or cable car.  Beautiful orthodox churches, restaurants, pubs and shops abound as well.

          The two ancient capitals of Free and Roman Dacia, Sarmizegetusa Regia and Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana, are also located in Hunedoara County.  The ancient Dacian sanctuary and fortress complex of Sarmizegetusa Regia has long been a national icon of Romanian identiry.  The royal capital of the Dacian people, its temples and fortified acropolis are located high in the Orastie Mountains.

          The Roman procuratorial and gubernatorial seat at Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana has been excavated and studied for almost a century, and much of the foundations of the monumental city forum and surrounding temples and amphitheater have been exposed and reconstructed.  Artifactual finds from previous excavations are on display on site at the Sarmizegetusa Museum. 

          The adjacent transportation hub of Simeria affords students easy access to further destinations.  Hunedoara is home to the famous Corvin Castle, first home of Matthias Corvin.  It is one of the best preserved private castles in Europe, an archetype of every castle in every movie ever made!

          Alba Julia, the original capital of the unified modern Romania and one of the oldest continually occupied sites in Romania, is only a short train ride away.  The city center still boasts its massive late medieval defensive walls, built in the shape of concentric seven pointed stars, now both an open air museum and the center of local nightlife.  Within the walls students will find one of the largest historical museums in Transylvania, some of the largest and oldest Orthodox and Catholic cathedrals, and a vibrant culinary and social scene.

        For more involved excursions, Simeria offers access to the famous medieval Transylvanian cities of Brasov and Sighisoara (Dracula’s birthplace), Cluj and Sibiu.





  • 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.



By now, everyone has  been caught in the media whirlwind surrounding the subject of the coronavirus (COVID 19). We are monitoring the situation very closely through both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization) and ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control). Those institutions are the only competent and informed sources of factual information and subsequent advice for further action in this matter. We will fully abide by their recommendations.


In case the CDC raises the travel health advisory to level 3 or above for our region of interest, we will cancel the osteology, bioarchaeology, and Roman Villa and Settlement Excavation and the associated program fees will be refunded. In this very unlikely event, the GPR intensive workshop will be moved to Ottawa (Canada) and we will proceed with the training during the same dates, adding urban GPR signatures to the program. In this latter case, if you are registered to the Geophysics (GPR) Exploration and Roman Excavation, you will be reimbursed for the Roman Villa Excavation portion of the fees and receive a bonus credit of $495 off the program fees for our 2021 Roman projects, if still interested in exploring the archaeology of the Dacian Provinces.


At the moment, both Hungary and Romania have no travel restrictions or advisory of any kind. I do not anticipate either of them to change in any drastic way, as prophylactic measures have been set in place early and efficiently, following all ECDC and WHO guidelines.


To obtain the correct (and credible) information on the reality of the coronavirus outbreak, check the following sources:


WHO Situation Reports:

CDC Situation Report:

CDC Travel Advisory:

ECDC Risk Assessment: Daily risk assessment on COVID-19, 7 March 2020

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