Roman Provincial Settlement Excavation and Survey
Life by the Imperial Roads Project
Rapoltu Mare, Hunedoara County,
June 10 - August 11, 2018
(Session 1: FULL; July 1 - July 21; July 22 - August 11)
Room and Board
Logistics and Housing
Our project aims at exploring the area situated on the north side of the mures River, in the immediat vicinity of the Imperial Roman road linking Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana to Apulum, via Germisara. All our archaeological objectives are within 2 kilometers from the beautiful village of Rapolt. We will hike to the site and back.
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 and dinner is included in the fees during the work week (Mon-Fri) and we will have them as a team in our dining hall at our archaeological base. You are responsible for your own lunches in the field. Beware that Romanian cuisine is generally meat oriented, but we can accommodate vegetarian diets.
There are plenty of 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.
Costs: US$1295 per each 3-week session
Team size: maximum 5 participants
The fee is for each full 3 (three) week session. It includes a $385 non refundable registration fees, room and board as described above. 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. No refund will be considered after March 14, 2018.
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 and drive you to your guest home. Participants must arrange their own travel and health insurance. Participants are responsible for their own lunches daily, as well as all meals during weekends.
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 (http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2016.2.pdf) and Global Peace Index (http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GPI-2016-Report_2.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 (less than 4000 in 2016). 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. We strongly recommend to land in Budapest: it is very easy to get to Simeria by train from there. Another option, better but quite more expensive, is to land in Sibiu (preferably) or Cluj, Arad, or Timisoara (there are daily flights from England, France, Germany, Italy and Hungary to most of these cities – check, among other sites, , , , , , etc.). Bucharest and Targu Mures are also good options, but a bit further, and harder to get to Simeria by train from there.
The return train trip Budapest-Simeria is less than US$100 and about US$75 from Bucharest. Either trips usually lasts around 7-10 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 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.
All participants have make their own travel arrangement to the closest train station to the project home base, in this case Simeria. 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.
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. Each season the project team takes a horse-drawn wagon ride to the Roman military castrum of Cigmau, a major supply distribution center for the locally stationed Imperial army. The team also makes the trek up Magura Uroiului, a major natural and historical landmark that dominates this arm of the Mures Valley. Occupied as a fortress from the Neolithic through the Iron Age, the acropolis affords an unparalleled panorama of the valley.
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 pride as well as one of the sites most studied by academia and represented by the media in Romania. The royal capital of the proud 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 well preserved 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 of the medieval Hungarian client-kings. Both the elaborately appointed and designed castle and its original occupants have captured the popular imagination. 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.
Every summer, if there is enough demand, we organize 2 or 3 weekend day trips to the most important Roman and Dacian sites in the region, an a couple more significant monuments, such as Corvin Castle and Densus Church. The cost is around US$100/person/trip.
Students will have plenty of opportunity to engage more interactively with the cultural life of modern Transylvania as well. Every summer, students have been able to attend Dacian War reenactment and Medieval festivals, experimental ethnoarchaeology workshops, visit sheep holds and other production sites of the local village economy, and have attended local holiday celebrations and religious ceremonies, in addition to the authentic living experience students gain from their home stays with our generous and welcoming host families.