Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana
Capital of the Dacian Provinces
First Civitas North of the Danube
Roman Imperial Urban Excavation

          In the plains at the foot of the majestic Retezat Mountains in Southern Transylvania, rose the first Roman metropolis north on the Danube:  Colonia Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa. Located less than 50km from the former capital of the mighty Dacians who were finally defeated in 106 by Trajan’s legions, built on a strategic site where a battle between the Roman legions and the Dacian troops took place, Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana was the largest city of Roman Dacia and the capital of the Dacian Provinces. With an area of over 30 hectars, it was a very imposing cosmopolitan center, featuring four Palmyrene temples (among many others), a large forum with associated buildings, an amphitheater, gladiator schools, imposing fortifications and several necropoles.

          This extraordinary city produced a plethora of beautiful monuments, quarried for 15 centuries both for artistic value and high quality limestone and marble. Medieval churches, such as the early medieval church of Densus, and castles display fragments from Roman Sarmizegetusa bas-reliefs and statues. The forum itself has been quarried for lime for at least one century, when the local stopped building with brick and started using cement.

          The systematic excavation of the site has started in 1924 under the direction of Prof. C. Daicoviciu and continued until 1936. In 1973, the excavations have resumed under the expert leadership of Profs. H. Daicoviciu, D. Alicu and I. Piso. At the present time, less than 15% of the site has been exposed, revealing a cosmopolitan and rich metropolis. After finishing excavating in 2014 the temples of the Aria Sacra and associated structures as well as the area surrounding the North Gate of the city, we have started excavating the home of the imperial governor of the Dacian Provinces, the richest man in one of the richest provinces. The Domus Procutratoris has revealed a very complex hypocaust system, highly decorated walls and a rich material culture. In 2016, we plan to continue the exploration of this extraordinary residential complex.




Location: Sarmizegetusa, Hunedoara County, Transylvania, Romania


Dates: July 3 - August 6, 2016


Housing: beautifully renovated rural pension, 2-4 participants per room,  semi private/shared bathrooms.


Meals: breakfast and dinner is served Mon-Fri; traditional country cuisine; we can accomodate vegetarian diets


Cost: US$1585 ($450 per week for short stays - 2 weeks minimum)


Fee includes: registration and field fees, lectures, field gear, housing and meals as described above

... about travel and safety, room and board, sightseeing




  • 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.


New for our 2020 season: our Applied Field Geophysics Workshop-GPR Applications will allow the comparative professional training on the core GPR systems and configurations used in near surface investigations: 250MHz and 500MHz transducers, in respectively cart and rough terrain configurations. Our program is open to all disciplines, focusing on GPR theory, methods, techniques and applications.


As a result of overwhelming positive response and further request from our participants, we are offering the possibility to combine all sessions of our the GPR Applications Workshop with both field sessions of our Roman Villa Excavation as a stand alone program, allowing to save $200 on the combined fees. Our two research/training case study sites have been carefully chosen to combine increasing complexity of ancient, historical and modern features. These sites provide an unparalleled access to a diverse set of features and conditions.  We address urban and proto-urban settlement construction, complex anthropogenic stratigraphic relationships, variation in soil structure and conditions, wide range of materials and their use/reuse, unmapped ancient and modern utilities, potential graves, modern and ancient civil works projects (including the remains of roads, aqueducts, and wells), changes in hydrogeological environment caused by modern human intervention, and all as-yet undiscovered features. The highest quality for the best price on any GPR courses available anywhere!!!

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