Medieval Funerary Archaeology, Romania. Archeotek
When: There are two, three week sessions running from mid June to the end of July, students can participate in one session or two depending on spaces etc. Run along side the funerary excavation is a bioarchaeology workshop where the skeletal remains of previous years excavation efforts are assessed. This school runs for four weeks starting one week prior to the excavation. Some students chose to participate in both, one after the other.
“If you like ____, you’ll love this field school“: Osteoarchaeology
Cost: The cost of the three week field school was approximately $1500. This included breakfast and dinner during the week, accommodation as well as entry to the site and transportation to and from. Romania is an extremely affordable country so this price is very reasonable.
In terms of extra money I travelled to and from Romania via Bucharest and Singapore, including the cost of staying in these places as well as weekends and money for lunches every day I only spent an additional $600 for the entire time.
Buying food to make lunch was usually around $10 for the week, eating out was a similar price. E.g. we had a dinner as a nice restaurant including steaks, desserts, wine and drinks total cost $30 each.
Living conditions: Our accommodation was amazing. Rooms of three or four with a private bathroom, TV, wardrobe and desks. Free wifi throughout the property and in the rooms. The property was situated a short walk from Odorheiu town as well as local supermarkets, (taxi were also readily available to avoid walking during night or if you are feeling lazy).
Breakfast and dinner were provided by the hotel staff throughout the week. Breakfast consisted of a buffet style hot breakfast and dinner was a three course meal. Alcohol could also be purchased from the hotel at minimal cost. The staff at the hotel were lovely and always went above and beyond to cater to our needs. On a few occasions they organised outdoor BBQ dinners for us to enjoy the scenery.
Working week consisted of four field days (usually Monday through Thursday 7am breakfast till 5pm return home), one day a week, usually Friday, was reserved for lab work (bone cleaning and lectures).
The Team: The team consisted of 18 students, mostly in their early-mid 20s, with varied level of experience. On the first day we were divided into trench groups of three people that included at least one postgraduate student in each group.
The field was lead by a director and her assistant as well as local Romanian workers.
The director of the entire field school visited the site occasionally, mostly to see the progress and let us play with new gadgets.
Culture: Romania is a really beautiful place, full of amazing history and archaeology. During our weekends off we had a tour of the local churches of the area that had been excavated years prior and spent time watching medieval battle re-enactments. (We even got to practise throwing axes, using bow and arrows and sword fighting). We also spent time travelling through neighbouring towns, learning about local legends, including but not limited to Dracula.
Most Romanian locals are very friendly, on two occasions I had strangers offer to help me find my way to my hostel and navigate the busy city of Bucharest.
English is not as widely spoken as you might expect. During the field school this is not an issue, the only time it might cause some people to feel anxious is during travel to and from. I however travelled alone through Burcharest and had no trouble finding everything I needed.
The only down side comes for girls who choose to go out drinking/dancing at night, Romanian men can be somewhat forceful and inappropriate especially if alcohol is involved. The best way to avoid this however is to never be alone and avoid going to bars over populated by local men, which is easy to do.
Best Thing: The hands on nature of the excavation, we were able to successfully locate, excavate, map and remove over 30 bodies in 3 weeks. This was an amazing experience that is hard to find in many field schools.
Worst Thing: Having only 2 directors in the field meant that most of the work done was performed by students in a learning capacity, most of the time this was great, but for a few students who lacked confidence a more structured approach might have been beneficial.
Where to go for more information and applications: http://www.archaeotek.org/