Osteology Research Laboratory Workshop

- Medieval Crisis Populations -


Odorheiu Secuiesc, Harghita County,

Transylvania, Romania

Adult Osteology Workshop: June 6 - July 3, 2021

Juvenile Osteology Workshop: July 4 - July 31, 2021


Room and Board


Logistics and Housing


          Students and volunteers will be housed in Odorheiu Secuiesc, a small and beautiful city, rich in history and culture. It is cosmopolitan town, situated in central Transylvania, on the historical divide between the Szekely Country to the East into the Carpathians Mountains and the more Romanian and Saxon Transylvania to the South and West into the lowlands.

         Students and volunteers will be housed in double or triple occupancy rooms, in a beautifully renovated hotel, within 45min walking distance from downtown Odorheiu Secuiesc (or a 10min cab ride).




          Breakfast and dinner will be served Mon-Fri in the hotel restaurant. Participants will sample a variety of amazing home cooked Romanian and Szekler traditional meals. Students and volunteers are responsible for their own lunches in the field. Beware that Romanian cuisine is generally meat oriented, but we can accommodate vegetarian dietary requirements. There are plenty of small stores, supermarkets, farmer markets, where you can purchase fresh cheese, various meat products, garden vegetables, bread, drinks, and anything else you might need. 

         Odorheiu Secuiesc provides all the amenities of a small European city, which includes hospitals an international bus station, train station, and all the stores you might need.

Project Fees


Program Fees (non-credit):

  • Adult Osteology Laboratory Workshop: US$ 2495 for mandatory four weeks

  • Juvenile Osteology Laboratory Workshop: US$ 2495 for mandatory four weeks

Single Room Supplement: US$400 (per 4 week session - optional)

Team size: 18 participants


          The fee is for each individual 4-week session. It includes a $695 non refundable registration fees, room and board as described above. Usually, we expect the entire project fee to be paid in full within 21 days after being accepted to the program. No refund will be considered after March 14, 2021.

          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 Odorheiu Secuiesc (see below various travel suggestions). Participants must arrange their own travel and health insurance. Participants are responsible for their own lunches.


          Fees do not include university/college credits. If interested (optional), 3 or 6 undergraduate or graduate academic credits (up to a 9 credits maximum for students registered to both laboratory workshops) can be obtained through  University of South Florida.  Contact Dr. Jonathan Bethard for more details. Additional USF tuition fees apply. For registration procedure, see USF Program Brochure. Contact Dr. Jonathan Bethard at USF for more details. USF tuition fees will apply separate form ArchaeoTek's program fees.


           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.

          If quarantine is required on arrival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is strictly the responsibility of the participant to fulfill all the conditions required by law by the host country. We can make the arrangements for a 14 day quarantine (which includes airport pick-up, full room an board), in one of our project facilities, for an additional US$650.


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. In terms of the pandemic, the situation is under control overall, and our prophylactic measures ensure that our projects are safe for both participants and hosts.

          Otherwise, 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 in 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 (http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2019/11/GTI-2019web.pdf), and associated reference map (http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2019/11/GTI-2019-A3-map-posterprint-1.pdf), as well as  Global Peace Index (http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2019/10/PPR-2019-web.pdf). Also, have a look at the Department of State specific Romania page for more information: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/romania.html . 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 https://www.numbeo.com/crime/rankings_by_country.jsp). 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.

          To minimize the risk of exposure, all participants are required to fly into Bucharest airport (International Airport Henry Coanda, in Otopeni). We will pick up everyone on the first day of the respective sessions (on Sunday morning) and will drive you to our Hotel in Odorheiu Secuiesc. The cost for a one way ticket on our chartered bus is US$100. Arrival charter bus pick up is mandatory, but you can make your own arrangements for your departure (we offer a charter bus airport drop off on the last Saturday of each session). On arrival, it is required you arrive in Bucharest airport the day before pick up and spend the night in one of the numerous hotels in Otopeni, near the airport (they offer a shuttle service). Bucharest (not the airport which is situated in a different town, about 30km from Bucharest) being a COVID-19 hot spot, participants are not allowed to enter the city on arrival.

         We have co-opted an US based travel agent, who has an extensive knowledge of our programs' logistics, schedules and travel requirements. He is not only able to get you a very good price on flights, but also is able to offer full refund CFAR (Cancel for any Reason) insurance on the plane tickets and European health insurance that includes COVID-19 related issues. We include his contact details with the registration package.

          In terms travel arrangements, I urge you exercise caution, as almost all listed flights from the US to Europe do not exist. Flights through Italy and Portugal are especially problematic. Right now, there are a lot of flights that are in the $250-$350 range that go through Rome or Lisbon, but they are all ghost flights and organized in such a way that you would not be able to get cancellation insurance. At the same time, you should currently avoid any flights that would have a layover in Turkey, Ukraine, Russia or North Africa, as they have become dangerously unreliable. I would recommend avoiding as well layovers in Spain, Greece, potentially Poland. The least surprises (and most promptly fixed otherwise) came from flights through the Netherlands (KLM), France (Air France), Switzerland (Swiss Air), Austria (Austrian), and Germany (Lufthansa) - and their respective US affiliates. The UK (British Air) was also a good option, but COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc there, hence the presence of uncomfortable uncertainties. The travel agent will know more on that subject and can help each of you, individually, sort out all of this based on your location and travel plans, removing much of the uncertainty factor.




          Transylvania is an amazing, magical place and it is really worth exploring. Odorheiu Secuiesc, our base, is situated in central-eastern Transylvania, close to the heartland of the Szekely Land. The whole region is a country of immense natural beauty and extraordinary history. Surrounded by natural springs such as the bubbly water pools of Miercurea Ciuc, Tusnad and Borsec, not far from the beautiful volcanic lake of Saint Anna and the amazing salt mines of Praid (an extraordinary Mines of Moria lookalike), the Odorheiu Secuiesc area is bordering the historic Saxon Transylvanian lands with its castles and fortified churches.

          The birth place of Dracula, the medieval city of Sighisoara is only a short train ride away. Not far from there, we have the fortified churches of Viscri and Messendorf, renovated with the support of Prince Charles and the Rupea and Racos castles. Of course, no visit to Transylvania is complete without a trip to the beautiful city of Brasov and its amazing surroundings, Rasnov Fortress, Peles Castle and, to top it off, Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Bran Castle.

Field Trips (mandatory in 2021)

Due to the COVID-19 situation, for the safety of our participants, our staff and our hosts, we will ensure our participants get to explore the magic of Transylvania, while limiting as much as possible the potential of getting infected:

Day Trip #1 (weekend 1): Szekely Land (earliest church in Odorheiu, the Jesus Chapel, ethnographic museum in Cristuru, medieval Szekely "Lost Churches")

Day Trip #2 (weekend 1): medieval Saxon fortified churches (Cata, Homorod, Viscri) and the Rupea Fortress

Day Trip #3 (weekend 2): Dracula's Bran Castle, Rasnov Fortress and Peles Castle

Day Trip #4 (weekend 2): Praid Salt Mines (dubbed by our students the "Mines of Moria")

Total cost for the 4 day trips: US$ 300




  • Because of the continuing high demand for our 4-week long combined Geophysics (GPR) Exploration and Roman Field Excavation program and the fact that both existing June and July sessions are full, we have set up an additional third session in August, running from August 1-28, 2021.

  • 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 $400 over the combined costs of the individual programs.


​​April 15, 2021: The Promise Of International Travel: April EU Travel Restrictions, Covid-19 Test Requirements, Quarantine By Country


Greece to Lift Self-Isolation Requirement for All EU & Five Non-EU Countries (including the USA).


And: Belgium Health Minister: International Travel Ban Should Be Lifted on April 18:


April 12, 2021: As previously reported, international air travel appears to be safe in terms of Covid-19.



March 24, 2021: The White House plans to lift the entry ban for EU travelers around mid-March, which has also been suggested by Secretary A. Blinken during his latest visit to Brussels. Reciprocity agreements would result in the EU opening its borders to US travelers shortly afterwards.



March 18, 2021: The US has been removed from the Romanian high risk countries in terms of Covid-19

At the present time, the infection rate in the US is considered a low risk according to Romania's standards. In practical terms, this means that if the infection rate in the US continues to drop (as expected), once Romania lifts its state of alert, US residents can enter Romania without quarantine (although vaccination seems to be the surer - all things considered - way in). Even though the US infection rate has not dropped yet to a point where it is considered safe by EU standards, since Romania is not part of Schengen, it has active borders, therefore has more latitude in implementing EU restrictions.


March 17, 2021: Good News: The EU is moving forward towards opening the borders for the summer to internal and international travel to vaccinated travelers:


March 9, 2021:

Covid-19 Vaccine: For residents in eligible states, you can also book an appointment (based on your own state’s eligibility requirements) through https://www.kroger.com/i/coronavirus-update/vaccine . Kroger has been approved as a site for vaccination distribution in many/most states. It seems it’s easiest to go to that link at midnight and then type quickly to get the appointment.


March 7, 2021:

Individuals who are not currently eligible Covid-19 vaccine can call your local Walmart, CVS, and pharmacies and ask to be placed on their Waste Protocol lists. Once the vaccines come out of frozen storage, they need to be used that day or else they will be thrown away. If more vaccine is available than appointments for eligible patients, distribution locations will call their lists to ensure the vaccine does not go to waste.


March 2, 2021:


Keep a close watch of your state vaccine registration methodology and get an appointment as soon as you have access.


February 18, 2021:


Some good and potentially useful advice to get the vaccine in time to travel:


February 16, 2021:



February 2, 2021:



As we are approaching the summer, it appears that there is some light at the end of the... trowel!!!


The new recommendations from the European Council to lift international travel restrictions are official (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/02/02/covid-19-council-updates-recommendation-on-travel-restrictions-from-third-countries-into-the-eu/ ) and, if the trend continues, both Canada and the US will meet those standards by the end of May (maybe sooner as the vaccination campaign progresses).


Furthermore, Dr. Fauci has indicated that all Americans who want the Covid-19 vaccine will have access to it by April (https://people.com/health/dr-anthony-fauci-coronavirus-vaccine-april-open-season-logistics-several-more-months/ ). If that is the case, both June and July participants could get vaccinated in time for the summer sessions. I strongly recommend you find out what is the procedure in your state and place yourself on the vaccine list as soon as possible.


Although Canada is significantly behind in the vaccination game, it will pick up the pace within the next month or so. It looks like it might be available for participants for the June session. However, it is almost certain participants to the July session will have access to it.


At the present time, a negative PCR test taken 72-48h (depending on destination) is required to board any international flight, it also appears more and more that Covid-19 vaccination will become a condition for unrestricted international travel (https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-55718553 ). At least one airline has made vaccination mandatory to access their planes - I suspect more will follow. Although it seems that coming from a country with a very low infection rate and having a negative PCR test might be enough for the EU in general, there would be additional restrictions on arrival for specific destinations for individuals who are not vaccinated.

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