This tour is intended for archaeology and travel enthusiasts, both professionals and amateurs, allowing them to work with an expert team on location in Salona. The excavations will take place every morning from Monday to Friday, focusing on the area inside the eastern extension of the ancient town, right beside the main baths. The afternoons and weekends are reserved for educational trips to the nearby cities and towns, all abounding in archaeological and cultural heritage.
Take the opportunity to be a part of the excavation project on one of the most attractive archaeological sites in the Mediterranean, learn about the rich and turbulent history of Salona and the nearby regions in the present-day Dalmatia, and potentially make a discovery which might greatly contribute to the interpretation of the past, signing your name in the „Golden Book“ of archaeology.
Visit the marvellous city of Split, a living monument of antique architecture intertwined with early Christian, Byzantine and Medieval art; the culturally rich towns of Sinj and Trilj in the Dalmatian hinterland; the 'amphibian' town of Trogir, one of the oldest cities on the Croatian coastline established as a Greek emporion; the archaeological sites of Biranj and Mujo's Cave; the Kliss fortress, a proud guardian of the frontier and the key to Dalmatia; the in situ Museum of Narona with its remarkable marble statues and the remains of a Roman temple; and the Archaeological Museum in Split, storing abundant archaeological material from the ancient Salona and other rich and varied collections.
Situated in the well-sheltered Kastela Bay in the central part of the eastern Adriatic coast, in the delta of the river Salon (the present-day Jadro), the ancient Salona was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. Its favourable geographic position and good road links to the hinterland allowed a quick and unhindered development of the town into a prosperous city, resulting in extensive building and expansion.
The early trapezoidal shape of the city, encompassing the area around the Forum and the Theatre, was transformed by eastern and western expansion of the city. The walls were fortified with towers during the reign of Augustus in the face of the threat posed by the invading Germanic tribes. The most impressive Salonitan structure - the amphitheatre - was erected in the second half of the 2nd century, along with the public baths and an aqueduct.
A particularly significant period in the city's history was the reign of Emperor Diocletian, during whose rule a great number of splendid buildings were erected, the forum, temples and thermae were reconstructed, and an annex to the amphitheatre was built. Diocletian also built a magnificent palace in the present-day city of Split, to which he was to retreat after his abdication in 305 AD.
The most glorious period in the Salonitan history began with the Milan Edict of 313 A.D., allowing free practice of the Christian faith. During this period, a powerful Christian community developed and numerous churches were built (aside from the Episcopal centre, seven other church buildings were discovered within the town walls), completely changing the urban layout of Salona.
The invasions of the Avars and Slavs in the early 7th century marked the end of Salona as an ancient urban settlement, forcing the residents to flee to the off-shore islands or the nearby Diocletian's Palace which later developed into the nucleus of Split in the Middle Ages. Along the eastern walls of the ancient Salona, a Croatian settlement sprang up that was soon to become one of the most important centres of the medieval Croatian state.
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Welcome, dear archaeology lovers! Upon your arrival at the Split airport, our driver will greet you and take to your bungalow at Resnik Tourist resort. After a short rest, you will visit the excavation site together with our expert guide and learn about the Ancient Salona and the historic region of Dalmatia. The day will end with the return and free time in your resort.
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On your first day of fieldwork you will be introduced to the expert team who will give you the basic instructions and assign you to your tasks. One team will excavate inside the eastern extension of the ancient town, right beside the town main baths. A 30-minute lunch break is planned during the excavations. After the first day of fieldwork, we will drive you back to your resort so you can refresh yourselves and spend the rest of the time relaxing on the beach.
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Today, after the excavations and time for rest and refreshment, we will take you on the first of the two tours of the city of Split, the descendant of the ancient Salona and a living monument of antique architecture intertwined with early Christian, Byzantine and Medieval art. During the first tour you will walk down the ancient Cardo street, visiting the main sights along the way. After the tour of the city, our driver will take you back to the resort.
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As always, your fieldwork starts at 7:30 and is followed by free time to rest and enjoy swimming at the Resnik Resort or reading a book in the shadow of the pine and cypress trees close to the beach. Right by the beach is the Ancient Siculi site, where last year’s excavations took place. Discovered some 60 years ago, the submerged town with Hellenic origins and a Roman layer is still a mystery for the local archaeology.
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After another exciting fieldwork day in Salona, we will return to Split for the second part of our tour. This time, we will take you along the ancient Decumanus street and show you the string of five P’s: Pazar (the farmer’s market), Peristyle Square, Pjaca Square, Peškarija (fish market) and Prokurative Square. Following the tour is the transfer back to your resort for a buffet dinner.
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After yet another day on the site, today`s post-excavation activity is an optional diving course with a visit to the submerged port of Siculi. With its docks situated just meters away from the resort beach, the dive to the ancient town of Siculi is not a very demanding one and might be especially appealing to the younger archaeologists in the group. The diving tour is an optional activity not included in the price of the package.
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As no excavations are planned during the weekend, today we will be taking you across the mountains and off the beaten tourist paths to visit the culturally rich towns of Sinj and Trilj. Renowned for its archaeological exhibit at the Franciscan Monastery and the Alka Tournament Museum, Sinj is also a famous gastronomic destination, while the most significant landmark of Trilj is the Roman Camp of Tilurium, once an important military hub in the Roman province of Dalmatia and the encampment of the 7th Roman legion (Legio VII. Claudia pia fidelis).
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According to our previous experience, it is best to spend this day relaxing and resting, allowing you to gather your strength for the upcoming week. If, however, you are not one for idle pastime, you can visit one of the nearby central Dalmatian islands or pursue some adrenaline-infused fun such as zip-lining or rafting. Numerous activities are only 30 minutes to 1 hour away from your resort and we would be happy to advise and assist you with your plans.
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Today we are back on our excavation site with the same schedule as during the previous week. After the excavations and refreshment time, we will pick you up for an afternoon visit to Trogir, one of the oldest cities on the Croatian coastline. Established as a Greek emporion in the 3rd century BC, this ‘amphibian’ town is an excellent example of urban continuity boasting remarkable architectural endeavours and works of art.
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Today your excavations continue according to the schedule, starting with an early breakfast and transfer to the excavation site. Lunch will be provided during a 30-minute lunch break close to the site. After excavations, we will drive you back to your resort where you can refresh yourselves and spend the rest of the time relaxing on the beach.
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After another interesting fieldwork day in Salona and a short refreshment break, we will embark on our next adventure – a hiking tour of the Biranj hilltop archaeological site and Mujo`s cave, a mid-Palaeolithic site. Biranj site consists of prehistoric ruins, a late antique fortress with the necropolis, and the Romanesque church of St. John, enclosing an area of almost 73.000 m2 and abounding in findings from the Bronze Age.
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In the afternoon, after another day at the site, we are finally going to visit the Archaeological Museum in Split, the actual hosts of your expedition. Established precisely because of the abundant archaeological material found in the area of the modern-day town of Solin, the Archaeological Museum is the oldest museum institution in Croatia housing remarkable collections such as the collection of stone inscriptions from Salona, collections of Graeco-Hellenistic ceramic objects, Roman glass, ancient clay lamps, gems, ancient and medieval coins, as well as a rich library with an archive.
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For the final day of your fieldwork we have scheduled an afternoon tour of the Klis fortress, a small but immensely important medieval stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, which later became the seat of many Croatian kings and served as a major source of defence, guarding the frontier during the Ottoman wars in Europe. Accompanied by Klis Uskoks, the 16th century guerrilla fighters against the Ottomans and Venetians, we learn more about the fortress’ turbulent history and the weaponry that was used back in the day.
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The day before your departure is reserved for our longest trip so far – a visit to the Narona in situ museum situated in a small town of Vid in the present-day Neretva valley. After a guided tour of the museum and its remarkable remains of a Roman temple – the Augusteum – and 17 marble statues, we will head back, exploring the ancient ‘Village Principality’ along the way and descending to the estuary of the river Cetina for a peka lunch.
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On your last day of the tour, enjoy your breakfast with your colleagues before departing to the airport. We hope that the memory of your archaeological adventure in our homeland will stay forever in your minds and hearts.
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