Session 1: May 30 - June 5, 2021

Session 2: August 1 - August 7, 2021

Session 3: August 8 - August 14, 2021

Additional sessions could be added between June 7 and July 31, as needed

          Our Applied Field Geophysical Workshop is designed to offer our participants a very practical, useful and concrete set of skills that would provide an edge in today’s field/urban exploration job market. With the acquisition of a second ground penetrating radar (GPR) platform, ArchaeoTek's GPR Applied Workshops are the most complete professional training programs on the market. The combination of our Noggin 250MHz system in a cart configuration and our Noggin 500MHz system in a rough terrain/smart tow configurations, allows us to cover (and compare) the two systems of choice in archaeology, forensics and shallow subsurface urban mapping (SUM), for locating buried structures, graves, utilities, root systems, etc., as well as variations in pedology and geolgy down to about 4m (or 13ft) depth.

          Our 2020 workshop is an intensive applied program designed to offer in a very short time the necessary practical and analytical skills to conduct independent GPR field research. Our goals are to identify qualitatively and quantitatively ancient and modern anthropogenic and taphonomic modifications of the landscape, a skill that can very easily be translated to any GPR survey. The workshop is conducted in the heart of Transylvania, in the Mureş river valley (Hunedoara County, Romania).  In addition to being highly accessible, this region combines intensive historical human habitation and landscape transformation with relatively static modern occupation.  This offers a unique setting in which common environmental challenges to a GPR survey, such as interference from cell phone towers, communication and power lines, road traffic, and modern constructions occur at recognizable and manageable levels.  As a result, this location is ideal for both GPR exploration, and skill acquisition.


          This workshop aims at offering intensive training in applied field geophysical methods in an extraordinary environment in Southern Transylvania. Field experience with these techniques is an exceptionally useful and lucrative skill to acquire, but training in these methods is limited to expensive manufacturer professional development and/or academic courses. These educational opportunities tend to sacrifice either the theoretical and technical foundations, or the practical use and interpretation of the methods.  In contrast, this workshop offers a full set of technical, theoretical, and practical skills for Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveying, for two different GPR system configurations as well as two different frequencies, resulting in variations in resolution and vertical ground penetration.  It provides thorough training for field work, processing, and interpretation of intensively modified human landscapes, in an accessible and professional way.  Hands-on experience is an essential complement to previous or planned geophysics training for work in earth sciences, geology, geography, urban planning, architecture, surveying, civil engineering, environmental engineering, environmental studies, landscaping, forensics, anthropology, archaeology, cultural resource management (CRM), Classics, and/or history.  Working in teams of two or three, participants will maximize both quantity and quality of acquired field and analytical geophysical exploration skills.


          Upon completion of this workshop, participants will have the skill set and knowledge required to plan, conduct, analyze, and interpret successful GPR surveys in any terrestrial setting.  This process will present a variety of anthropogenic and natural challenges, from working in diverse field conditions, to dealing with sites containing a combination of known and unknown modern and ancient features.  The whole experience is intended to be intensive and collaborative, with a focus on experiential learning and application of processing, collecting, and interpreting data to real sites.  Participants will work directly with our instructors, in small groups of 2-3 persons teams on each GPR system, to gain fluency and proficiency with the equipment, software, and logistics of a GPR project.  At the end of each session, the data will be presented as a full professional report, both in writing and as an oral podium presentation.

          Our two field case study sites are the Roman castrum and subsequent town of Micia and the medieval castle at Uroi (Southern Transylvania, Romania). Whereas Micia shows distinct urban elements (without the extraneous clutter of modern extensive urban environments) of various size, shape, orientation, depth and composition, Uroi castle present massive buried structures, partially integrated in the modern urban landscape. As a result, the combination of these two historical and archaeological environments are ideal for GPR training, both at formative and advanced levels.

          After learning the fundamentals of GPR, basic survey implementation and optimized use of field equipment, our participants will conduct intensive GPR surveys at the Micia site. It is one of the largest and most intricate archaeological urban sites in Transylvania, featuring three centuries of intensive and extensive Roman occupation.  Beginning as complex fortified military camps, it later expanded into a large village and then a full city, complete with amphitheater, baths, temples, manufacturing, shops, plazas, large and small habitation structures, and two cemeteries with funerary monuments.  The Roman site was then taken over by migratory people with variable architectural skill who modified the site according to their needs and perception for over four centuries.  During communist times, a thermal power plant and a couple of roads were built on the site, destroying about 20% of it, introducing a modern twist to our GPR research area in the form of unmapped buried utilities and buried support/temporary structures. 

          The Uroi castle presents a different profile. It was a medium size medieval military fortress, aimed at controlling one of the many crossings over the Mures River, most likely along the ancient Roman road. The massive andesite walls offer different challenges to GPR exploration and intrepretation, both because of the topography generated by the destruction of the castle as well as the resulting stratigraphy. It is an ideal environment to deploy and compare the two system configurations for shallow exploration and the different frequency transducers.

          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 (construction and operation of a nearby thermal power plant), and any additional and as-yet undiscovered features.


          This program focuses exclusively on GPR applications and is offered either in combination with our Roman Excavation (see our Geophysical Exploration and Excavation program for a fee rebate)  or independently from our existing projects. Note that the basic introductory training program offered in 2019 by Sensors and Software (SenSoft), one of the two leading North American companies in GPR manufacturing and research, a ONE Day GPR Short Course, costs $400. GSSI, the other leading North American GPR compagny, offers a similar TWO Day Short Course, at US$800. Their classes usually run with 10 participants (or more), room and board not included.     



Location: Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana and/or Micia, Hunedoara County, Transylvania, Romania


Team Size: 2-3 participants per GPR system


Housing: hotel near target site, 2 participants per room, private bathrooms.


Meals: breakfast and dinner are served daily; we can accommodate vegetarian diets.


Cost: US$ 1195 (per 5  day workshop session) - for our integrated combination of GPR exploration and field excavation, see our Geophysical Exploration and Roman Excavation program (fee rebate applies)


Fee includes: registration and permit fees, lectures, gear, daily local transportation to our study sites (if needed), room and board as described above