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.

 

Meals

         

          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

 

Costs:

  • 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, www.lufthansa.com , www.austrianair.com , www.carpatair.ro , www.tarom.rowww.wizzair.com , 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.

 

Sightseeing

 

          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.

WHAT'S UP?
NEWS

NEW PROJECTS

 

  • 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.

2021

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

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexledsom/2021/04/15/the-promise-of-international-travel-april-eu-travel-restrictions-covid-19-test-requirements-quarantine-by-country/?sh=b4bf3b437cec

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

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/greece-to-lift-self-isolation-requirement-for-all-eu-five-non-eu-countries/

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

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/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.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/flying-safely-pandemic-2021-wellness/index.html

 

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.

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/us-may-lift-entry-ban-for-travellers-from-eu-uk-brazil-by-mid-may/ 

 

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.

www.cnscbt.ro/index.php/liste-zone-afectate-covid-19/2326-lista-state-cu-risc-epidemiologic-ridicat-14-03-2021/file

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:

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/ec-confirms-green-certificates-to-be-used-only-for-travel-within-the-eu-for-now/

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:

THE US WILL HAVE ENOUGH VACCINE FOR EVERY ADULT BY THE END OF MAY:

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

https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/02/politics/biden-merck-johnson--johnson-vaccine/index.html

February 18, 2021:

HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR A COVID-19 VACCINE IN THE US:

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

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/02/18/967448680/how-to-sign-up-for-a-covid-19-vaccine-in-your-state?utm_source=pocket-newtab

February 16, 2021:

GREAT NEWS: ROMANIA IS IN THE PROCESS OF OPENING ITS BORDERS TO VACCINATED TRAVELERS:

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/countries-open-to-vaccinated-travelers/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3OvHxxL4JQxNPMl5GkLMwBsQ0EW5hPWrSxElLLCp_Nu4DYk2MYdenbKEg

February 2, 2021:

SUMMER 2021: DOES IT STILL HAPPEN? SHORT ANSWER: YES!

OUR PROJECTS ARE STILL UP AND RUNNING

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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