Roman Villa and Settlement Excavation and Survey
Rapoltu Mare, Hunedoara County,
Room and Board
Logistics and Housing
Our excavation project, in and around the village of Rapoltu Mare, aims at exploring the area situated on the north side of the Mures River, in the immediate vicinity of the Imperial Roman road linking Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana to Apulum, via Germisara.
All our Roman excavation participants will be housed in double or triple occupancy rooms, in a hotel on the outskirts of the town of Simeria, about 20km form the site. Each room is equipped with its own bathrooms. Transportation to and from the hotel to the site/lab will be provided.
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.
For the duration of the excavation, breakfast and lunch are provided during the work week (Mon-Fri) and we will have them as a team in our dining hall near the site.
You are responsible for your own dinner, and all meals during the weekend. Our hotel has its own (very good) restaurant, and there is a small fast food/pizza place next door as well. Romanian cuisine is generally meat oriented, but we can accommodate vegetarian diets. However, we are not able to offer a vegan or gluten-free option. There is a small store near the hotel where you can purchase fresh cheese, various meat products, garden vegetables, bread, drinks, etc. In Simeria, a city about 8km away, you can find restaurants, pizzerias and supermarkets.
Projects Dates and Fees
Dates - Roman Villa Excavation and Survey
Session 1: June 9 - July 6, 2024 (4 weeks mandatory)
Session 2: July 7 - August 3, 2024 (4 weeks mandatory)
Costs - Roman Villa Excavation and Survey: US$2395 per each 4-week session
Team size - Roman Villa Excavation and Survey: 18-20 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. If you register before March 1st, 2023, you are expected to pay at the time of registration $695 (the non-refundable registration portion of the fees), as well as any ancilliary fees (such as weekend field trips and chartered bus tickets from the airport to our hotel, and back) within 21 days after being accepted to the program. The remainder of the fees are to be paid in full no later than April 30, 2024. No refund will be considered after March 14, 2024.
The program fees do not include the trip to and from Romania. Participants must arrange their own travel to and from Romania, and health/travel insurance. Participants who are not taking the chartered bus from the airport to our hotel (and back) are responsible to get to our base on their own (instructions will be provided with the travel kit in March 2023). Participants are responsible for their own meals during weekends, and dinner during the week, as described above
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.
Covid-19 vaccination is required to be allowed to participate to the program. If at any time, you test positive for COVID-19 while in Romania, it is strictly the responsibility of the participant to fulfill all the conditions required by law by the host country at their own expense.
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. Full Covid-19 vaccination is required for all participants and staff.
The Ukraine-Russia war has no impact on Romania in terms of safety or security.
In terms of physical safety, 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, Roma problems, street kids, etc., happen south of the Carpathians
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 (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwidnO-T55DzAhXBKFkFHZCkAwMQFnoECAYQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fvisionofhumanity.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2020%2F11%2FGTI-2020-web-1.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3Ha5PxcF_TkFfgg2OXF_hf). 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) Since Romania was one of the last countries to join the EU, it still has active borders and it controls all transit in and out of the country. Common sense will keep anyone perfectly safe in Transylvania.
The simplest (and cheapest) way to get to our base is to fly into Bucharest airport (International Airport Henry Coanda, in Otopeni) on Saturday (June 8 or July 6, 2024), and spend the night in the Hilton Garden Inn Bucharest Airport (it is a 5min walk from the airport). We will pick up everyone on Sunday (June 9 or July 7, 2024) morning at 10AM in the Hilton parking lot and will drive you to our base. The bus ride is, under normal circumstances, 7-8h long. The cost for a one way ticket on our chartered bus is US$125. Although Bucharest (not the airport which is situated in a different town, about 30km from Bucharest) has its charms and a lot has been done to clean the city and make it safer, it is not recommended you venture into it on arrival. If you want to explore it, we strongly recommend you do it at the end of your stay in Romania, when you are more versed with the local realities and better equipped to deal with the city. Also, Bucharest has been and still is Romania's Covid-19 hotspot, so make sure you protect yourselves diligently. We also offer the possibility to book the return on our chartered bus, directly from the hotel to the airport. We leave from our hotel Friday (July 5 or August 2, 2024) evening around 9PM in order to arrive at the airport around 4AM on Saturday morning so participants can make it on time to the earliest flights (6AM) out of Bucharest. Participants are personally responsible to obtain all the necessary travel documents.
If you want to get to our hotel on your own from the airport (not recommended), you will need to take a train or a taxi from the airport to the main train station in Bucharest (Bucuresti Nord) and then grab a train to Simeria. There are 4-5 direct trains to Simeria from Bucharest, and the entire ride is about 10h long. However, keep in mind that 2-3h (or more) delays are considered "normal" in Romania. Once you arrive at the Simeria train station, you will then have to take a cab to our hotel. The train ride costs around US$35-45. If you are taking a cab from the airport to the train station, the cost is around US$30-40, but you run the risk of getting ripped off (which is the case every time you take a taxi in Bucharest as a tourist). From Simeria train station to our hotel, the cab ride is around US$10.
Be aware: DO NOT FLY BRITISH AIRWAYS. During the past two years, they have shown themselves to be highly unethical and incompetent. They do not refund flights they have cancelled, they will force significant additional costs to reschedule the cancelled flights, and they do not honor their own ticket rules and regulations.
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 home to the Dacian and Roman Civilizations Museum, our partner and repository for all project's finds. The hilltop Deva Castle dominates the city center. 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.
Because public transportation in Romania is either lacking or is highly unreliable, and due to the COVID-19 situation, for the safety of our participants, our staff and our hosts, we want to ensure our participants get to explore the magic of Transylvania, while being as safe as possible. As a such, we are organizing four weekend day trips, to some amazing sites and museums:
Day Trip #1 (weekend 1): Deva Fortress (easy hiking required: 30min each way) - Dacian and Roman Civilization Museum
Day Trip #2 (weekend 1): Alba Iulia Acropolis and Medieval Fortress
Cost: US$250 for both trips or US$145 for each individual trip (the fees include transportation to the site/museum and entrance ticket - photo rights not included)
Day Trip #3 (weekend 2): Sarmizegetusa Regia (Dacian Capital, easy hiking required, 20min each way) - Costesti Fortress (moderate hiking required, 30min each way)
Day Trip #4 (weekend 2): Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana (Roman Capital) - Densus Church - Corvin Castle
Cost: US$260 for both trips or US$150 for each individual trip (the fees include transportation to the site/museum and entrance ticket - photo rights not included)