Volunteer at Halmyris

Due to the world-wide concern over the severity of COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 field season at Halmyris. This is for the wellness of not only our staff and volunteers but the community in Murighiol.
Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to welcoming volunteers to Halmyris once again in 2021. In the meantime, we send our best wishes for safety and wellness to all of our extended archaeology family across the globe.


Volunteer Application

Want to see what it’s really like in the trenches at Halmyris? Click here for a video by Caroline Landsheere from 2016!
Field Season 2020 Introduction

Over the past nine seasons work on the Roman fortress of Halmyris has produced enigmatic material revealing the unique conditions faced by Roman soldiers on the Danube frontier. In 2012 we began excavations in the ancient harbor, located directly below the walls of the fort, and in 2013 we opened five trenches in the fort alongside the walls above the harbor. In 2014 we continued work above the harbor, exploring the intensive 6th century building period in this area of the fort. We also excavated a 6th century defensive tower and dug trenches nearly two meters deep behind the late monumental entrance and tower. The 2015 team continued excavations in these areas; yielding well-preserved architectural features and numerous small finds including coins, weaponry, and ceramics suggesting that, during the Roman occupation, the harbor and the northeastern fort were areas of particularly intense activity. We also discovered the entryway to a previously unexplored defensive tower (Tower 3) in the eastern wall, which was excavated to depths of over two meters in 2016. In 2017 we further explored the area around Tower 3, as well as reopening investigations on Tower 12 of the western side, and additionally began the excavations of Tower 4, which may prove to be the largest tower of Halmyris. 2018 completed the excavation of Tower 12, and proved Tower 4 to be even larger than anticipated with 3 potential entranceways. The 2019 season concentrated on Tower 4 and associated buildings, some additional work on Tower 12, and saw the opening of multiple trenches in the harbor area, trenches that yielded an unprecedented amount of material culture including coins, pottery, and several bronze figurines.

The field season of 2020 will concentrate on multiple promising areas including Tower 4 and the structures of the northeastern fort. We also hope to begin excavating areas of the civilian settlement identified in an ongoing survey project, as well as continue excavations of the harbor. 2020 promises to be a particularly exciting season given the proliferation of material culture discovered during the previous stages of excavation in the harbor and in the area around Tower 4!

Excavation Details

Dates: 22 June to 17 July (4 weeks)

*NEW* for 2020: In addition to the full 4 week session, volunteers have the option of attending for either the first 2 weeks of the excavation or the final 2 weeks.

Please indicate on your application whether you would like to attend the full 4 weeks (22 June to 17 July), the first 2 weeks (22 June to 3 July), or the final 2 weeks (6 July to 17 July).

Cost: Approximately 1200 – 1350 USD for 4 weeks accommodation, meals, transportation, and visits to nearby archaeological sites. 600 – 675 USD for 2 weeks. All except the administration fee is paid on arrival directly to the providers or may be wired/bank transferred over ahead of time – the admin fee is used to pay for the site bus, purchase tools, cover operating expenses, and includes the cost of the dig t-shirt.

        Please note that all payments are made directly to the providers in the village and are subject to currency fluctuations based on the price of fuel. We provide a range of prices because the Romanian Lei is known to fluctuate, and it is difficult to estimate more than several months in advance. We are also in a position to cater for all needs, preferences, and pockets—the majority of our accommodation is priced at 75 lei/night, but we also have some places available at lower rates. The majority of our accommodation is shared, but limited single rooms are also available at a higher rate.

Administrative fees:

         For new volunteers: 350 USD/4 weeks or 175 USD/2 weeks

         For returning volunteers: 250 USD/4 weeks or 125 USD/2 weeks

Minimum Qualifications: Age 18, no archaeological experience necessary, but must be in good physical condition and capable of working in temperatures ranging from 75-100 degrees F.

Work: Volunteers participate in all aspects of the excavation, assisted by trained professionals.

Languages: English, Romanian

Location: Murighiol, Romania

Application Deadline: May 1, but we recommend you apply as soon as possible to ensure your place on the dig, as we are limited in the numbers we can accommodate.

Life at Halmyris         

Accommodation: All volunteers stay in the village of Murighiol, located 2.5 km from the site and less than a kilometer from the Danube River. Murighiol is a traditional Dobrogean village, and only in the past decade have cars become more common than horses and carts! There are a variety of options for accommodation, all are fully equipped with electricity and hot water, some have air-conditioning, and others have fans and large private bathrooms. There is free WiFi access available regardless of where you stay, but please be aware that in this rural setting speeds can vary.

Food: Volunteers eat three full meals a day at a local restaurant, the Green Delta. Breakfast typically includes bread, sausage, eggs, cheese, and coffee or tea. Lunch starts with either a soup or salad, followed by a main dish. Dinner is a bit lighter than lunch, with a main dish which is sometimes accompanied by fruit or another dessert. Romanian cuisine features cabbage, potatoes, lots of fish and chicken, pork, eggs, tomatoes, and cheese. All are locally grown/farmed and deliciously prepared. It is also possible arrange for alternative diets for vegetarians or vegans. Drinks are typically not included with meals, however, a full range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic are available at very low cost (approx. $2 for a pint).

Transportation: We have a local bus that provides transportation to/from the site and on trips to nearby archaeological sites including Histria (Constanta), Salsovia (Mahmudia), and Aegyssus (Tulcea).

Daily Schedule:

6:00-6:30: breakfast
6:30-7:00: bus to site and begin work
11:00-11:30: break for a rest in the shade and a snack
11:30-1:30: work on the site
2:30pm: lunch
3:00-late afternoon: free time/siesta
~4:30-6:00: time for workshops, pottery cleaning, trips to nearby sites
6:00: lectures by field staff
7:00: dinner
7:30-bedtime: free time

Weekend Travel:  Weekends are open for independent travel, in previous years groups of volunteers have enjoyed travelling to Constanta (~3 hours away by bus), a large city on the Black Sea with entertaining beach resorts, and touring other nearby sites. It is also possible to travel back to Bucharest, but we recommend saving Transylvania for before/after the excavation as it is difficult to reach from Murighiol. If you have time, however, Transylvania is well-worth the trip!

We are able to provide advice for travel arrangements, but all weekend travel is done at your own preference and discretion.

We will take volunteers on optional weekend excursions for an additional cost to cover transportation and fuel, these excursions will include:

Week 1: Salsovia, Aegyssus, and the archaeological museum in Tulcea

Week 2: Enisala, Histria, and Constanta

Week 3: Salsovia, Aegyssus, and the archaeological museum in Tulcea

We will also organize two Danube Delta boat trips for Weeks 1 and 3.

Arrival & Departure

All volunteers arriving for Week 1 are responsible for arranging their own travel to Tulcea, arriving no later than the late afternoon of Sunday, June 21.

All volunteers leaving after Week 2 are responsible for arranging their own transport back to Bucharest, but they may travel with us to Constanta and depart from there to Bucharest if they so wish.

All volunteers arriving for Week 3 are responsible for arranging their own travel to Tulcea or Constanta, arriving no later than the afternoon of Sunday, July 5.

We will provide the bus to return to Bucharest on Saturday, July 18, arriving in the early afternoon. More details will be provided once your application has been submitted and accepted.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact Project Manager Emily Hanscam.