Roman Villa and Settlement Excavation and Survey


Geophysics Exploration and Excavation


Rapoltu Mare, Hunedoara County,

Transylvania, Romania

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. We will hike to the site and back. For the GPR exploration at Micia, local transportation is provided.

          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.


Projects Logistics


Dates - Roman Villa Excavation and Survey / Geophysics Exploration and Roman Villa Excavation

  • Session 1: June 6 - July 3, 2021 (4 weeks mandatory)

  • Session 2: July 4 - July 31, 2021 (4 weeks mandatory)

  • NEW: Session 3 (Geophysics Exploration and Roman Excavation only):

August 1 - August 28, 2021 (4 weeks mandatory)

Costs - Roman Villa Excavation and Survey: US$1795 per each 4-week session

Costs - Geophysics Exploration and Roman Villa Excavation: US$2495 per 4-week session

Team size - Roman Villa Excavation and Survey: 20 participants

Team size - Geophysics Exploration and Roman Villa Excavation: maximum 6 participants

         The fee is for each individual session. It includes a $695 non refundable registration fees, room and board as described above, lectures, training, most gear, site access, museum clearance. 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 Simeria and drive you to your guest home. Participants must arrange their own travel and health insurance. Participants are responsible for their own 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.

          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) at 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 (, and associated reference map (, as well as  Global Peace Index ( Also, have a look at the Department of State specific Romania page for more information: . 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 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 base in Rapolt. 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 fron 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.

Magura Uroiului.jpg



          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, such as the Roman military castrum of Cigmau, a strategic supply distribution center for the locally stationed Imperial army, and the Magura Uroiului, a major natural and historical landmark that dominates he Mures Valley, used as a fortress from the Neolithic through the Iron Age.

          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 away 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 in the heartland of the Dacian Kingdom.

          The two ancient capitals of Free and Roman Dacia, Sarmizegetusa Regia and Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana respectively, are also located in Hunedoara County.  The ancient Dacian sanctuary and fortress complex of Sarmizegetusa Regia has long been a national icon of Romanian identity. The royal capital of the 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 political, religious and economic capital of Hunedoara County, Deva, is easily accessible, home to the Deva History Museum, our partner and repository for all project's finds.  The hilltop Deva Castle dominates the city center, and accessible by stair or cable car. Hunedoara City is home to the famous Corvin Castle, first home of Matthias Corvin.  It is one of the best preserved private castles in Europe, an archetype of every castle in every movie ever made!  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.

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): Deva Fortress - Dacian and Roman Civilization Museum

Day Trip #2 (weekend 1): Blidariu Fortress (hiking required, 1h each way ) - Geoagiu Church

Day Trip #3 (weekend 2): Sarmizegetusa Regia (Dacian Capital, hiking required, 20min each way) - Costesti Fortress (hiking required, 30min each way)

Day Trip #4 (weekend 2): Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana (Roman Capital) - Densus Church - Corvin Castle

Total cost for the 4 day trips: US$ 300