Jan 10th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Archaeological Vacations Seniors Will Really Dig

I have been interested in archeology for a long, long time.  I enjoy reading articles and news stories on the topic. I recently was in an office having my eyes checked for new glasses and picked up a copy of Archeology Magazine.  This volume had several tours that seniors might enjoy concerning travel to major digs and exploration sites all over the world.

I have wanted to go on a dig in Normandy after observing students from the University of Nantes on a dig where the Templar Knights had a rural castle.  I watched as one of the students dug up a gold ring. The lead archeologist pointed out to me a long wide line of nettles (green weeds) that he said showed him precisely where an old limestone wall once stood and where a bridge once crossed over a small creek bed.  He said that nettles thrive in that type of soil. Neat I said. I wanted to bring my metal detector and help them…but they said “no”.  Metal detectors are outlawed in France.

There is something going on daily all over the world.  I even found an article on Texas and the large number of sites that are being excavated in search of  ancient ruins and artifacts. The Lone Star State is home to a rich heritage of archeology from 14,000 year-old stone tools to the famed Alamo. Seniors can study how humans lived in the past by excavating the remains of past human societies. Artifacts such as cups and bowls used for eating, tools employed in everyday activities, and the dwellings they lived in all provide clues for the archaeologist to analyze. Even the soil from which the artifacts are recovered helps the archaeologist recreate the environment where ancient people lived and you can too. Archaeology is a painstaking process that requires tremendous patience and attention to detail.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology. The Institute is a nonprofit group founded in 1879 and chartered by the United States Congress in 1906. Today, the AIA has nearly 250,000 Members belonging to more than 100 Local Societies in the United States, Canada, and overseas. The organization is unique because it counts among its members professional archaeologists, students, seniors and many others from all walks of life. This diverse group is united by a shared passion for archaeology and its role in furthering human knowledge. Consider joining.

I have had retired seniors ask me to help them find an archeological site where they would be welcome to join a group on a dig or a good tour. “Voluntourism is a booming activity,” says Jeanine Pfeiffer, program director for social sciences at Earthwatch, a non-profit organization that seeks to introduce science into the lives of non-specialists. “Although, a better term might be ‘citizen science.’”

Seniors Combine Travel and Digging

For most of us without academic or professional experience in surveying and excavating, numerous organizations offer vacations that combine travel with on-site artifact recovery and restoration. With Far Horizons seniors can experience a wide range of journeys to destinations where the boundaries of archaeological knowledge are being tested and pushed ever outward. Led by renowned scholars and created by a visionary staff, their trips offer seniors adventure, education, camaraderie, and a new understanding of the world’s cultures – both past and present.  Gordons invites seniors to check out these ten tours of the 147 they have to offer.

Martin Randall Travel features a wide selection of small-group tours exploring the ancient and classical world, from Ancient Rome to Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece to Classical Turkey and the Caravan Cities of Syria to the Deserts and Oases west of the Nile. Most all archeological tours feature expert lecturers, chosen for their companionability and communication skills as well as their scholarship. Tara Tours will take seniors to Peru and Guatemala to view spectacular locations. Peter Sommer Travels specialize in small group escorted tours (max 18 people) in Turkey, Greece and Italy.

If you were interested in any or all of these tours, you will want to check out the Archeological Conservancy established in 1980 as the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation’s remaining archaeological sites. Their tour regions include the American Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest, as well as Mexico and Central and South America.

American Archeology Magazine is a popular magazine devoted to the excitement and mystery of archaeology in the United States, with additional coverage of Canada and Latin America. In four issues each year, American Archaeology’s colorful features and departments present the research breakthroughs, persistent puzzles, and unique personalities making news in this fascinating field.  They too offer seniors the opportunity to “Explore the Wonders of the Past” via several tours. So pack up your tools: a little shovel, a small trowel, a good brush or two, good work clothes, leather gloves, a small camera, hand-held magnifying glass and a good scoop of courage.   Enjoy your adventure!  jeb

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