Mass Grave Medieval  Funerary Excavation


Sanpaul, Harghita County,

Transylvania, Romania

May 22 - June 11 / June 12 - July 2, 2016


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 within 45min walking distance from downtown Odorheiu Secuiesc (or a 10min cab ride). A bus will be rented to take us into the field and back daily.




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


Project Fees



  • Funerary Excavation Session 1: US$ 1585 for the full 3 weeks

  • Funerary Excavation Session 2: US$ 1585 for the full 3 weeks


Team size: 18 participants


          The fee is for the full individual sessions. It includes a $385 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, 2016.

          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. Participants must arrange their own travel and health insurance. Participants are responsible for their own lunches.

           No entry visa is generally required for Romania for up to 12 weeks for EU, US and Canadian citizens. It is always a good idea to check with the Romanian Consulate.


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.

          We will pick up everyone at the Sighisoara train station upon arrival and drive you to the hotel in Odorheiu Secuiesc. There are several easy ways to get there: Sighisoara is a train and bus hub, easily accessible. In the past, our participants chose to land in Budapest: it is an amazing city and it is very easy to get to Sighisoara by train from there. However, the current Syrian immigration crisis has made Budapest slightly problematic as a destination Another option is to land in Bucharest, Targu Mures, 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, , , , , etc.). Bucharest is the cheapest, but the city is far from having the same appeal as Bupadest. If you choose to land in Bucharest, we recommend that you take immediately the train to Brasov or Sighisoara.

           The return trip Budapest-Sighisoara around US$175 and around US$120 from Bucharest. It usually lasts around 12-14 hours one way. From Sighisoara train station, Odorheiu is less than an hour train ride (and about $10). Although quite a few international buses do the Budapest-Odorheiu Secuiesc route, by train, Odorheiu is accessible only from Sighisoara

          If you choose to land in Romania, I strongly suggest to pay an extra $30-35 for first class seats: the conditions are not much better than second class, but it is cleaner and you get different kind of travelers. Also, if you want a realtively hassle free arrival, we sometimes use a driving service based in Brasov. If interested, the driver would wait for you at the airport and drop you off anywhere you wish in Brasov. It costs around US$65-80 per person for groups of 2-4 (arrangements need to be made in advance).
          All participants have make their own travel arrangement to Sighisoara for us to pick you up at the pre-established times at the designated spot. If you arrive at a different time, you will have to make your way to Odorheiu Secuiesc and wait at the train station until one of our staff is availabel to pick you up.

         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.




          Transylvania is a 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.

          One of the downsides of sightseeing in Romania is that public transportation, train or bus, is rather chaotic and it takes a lot of time to move around the country, as a result, weekend travelling is complicated to organize. For that reason and at the request of our participants, we help out by organizing the transportation for a couple of trips, respectively to the Praid Mines (day trip) and to Brasov, Bran Castle and Poenari Castle – the real Dracula Castle (weekend trip). In the past, the Haaz Rezso Museum also organized for our participants a day trip around Szekely Land to some of the Lost Churches sites, the Jesus Chapel (the oldest medieval monument around Odorheiu), and the ethnographic museum in Cristuru Secuiesc.




  • 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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