Focus on Archaeology

by Julie Skurdenis (Second of two parts)

I traveled with my husband, Paul, on a private tour of the three Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in May/June 2010. Last month I wrote about the top archaeological site visited in Azerbaijan and in Georgia and selected a handful of other highlights in each country as well. Armenia remains.

In Azerbaijan, the archaeological site selected was a mountainous area riddled with caves containing petroglyphs. In Georgia it...

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by Julie Skurdenis (First of two parts)

My husband, Paul, and I journeyed through the Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia on a customized itinerary organized by Boston-based Kutrubes Travel (details will be in part two) in May-June 2010. Situated between the Black and Caspian seas, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, these three countries share the common thread of the spectacular Caucasus Mountains as well as a recent past of Soviet domination.

...

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by Julie Skurdenis

In the Barri Gòtic, one of Barcelona’s oldest quarters, there is a lovely small square called the Plaça del Rei (King’s Square). Dark, narrow streets lead to the square, hidden away in the middle of the old quarter. Minutes away is a major thoroughfare, but you wouldn’t know it standing there surrounded by medieval stone buildings.

Barcelonans pass by, striding briskly. Tourists stroll through at a more leisurely pace, slowing down to admire the old...

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Around the year AD 500, long before the Viking era began in the second half of the eighth century, a chieftain on the island of Vestvågøy, in Norway’s Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle, built himself a house worthy of his status.

It was an enormous longhouse, 221 feet long, with turf walls and (probably) a wood-shingled roof. It stood on a hill with a sweeping view over the countryside. It could be seen from a distance, which is one of the reasons it was built where it was. It...

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by Julie Skurdenis

Three of the most remarkable ships from the Viking Age rest together in an Oslo museum. Although discovered and excavated separately between 1867 and 1904, the three ships share much in common. All date from the ninth century AD. All were found on the Oslofjord, south of Olso. All once actually sailed Norway’s coastal waters or the open sea. And, finally, all were used later on as “coffins” for burial of presumably important Viking-era individuals.

Each of...

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by Julie Skurdenis (Third of three parts)

For my husband, Paul, and me, this was the last part of a 22-night trip through Tunisia that began in the north of the country in Carthage, one of Tunisia’s prime archaeological sites, and ended on the island of Jerba in the Mediterranean just off the coast of Tunisia.

The first two weeks of our trip had been full of Numidian, Phoenician, Roman and Byzantine archaeological sites as well as medinas, souks and museums interspersed with...

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by Julie Skurdenis (Second of three parts)

The following describes the middle part of an odyssey that began in Sidi Bou Said, a suburb of Tunis, capital of Tunisia, and at the nearby archaeological site of Carthage.

During the first seven days of our 22-night private guided trip, my husband, Paul, and I visited seven archaeological sites (three of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites) plus the picture-postcard village of Sidi Bou Said, overlooking the Gulf of Tunis; the world-...

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by Julie Skurdenis (First of three parts)

This was not my first trip to Tunisia. I had visited the country twice before years ago, but both trips had been brief additions to other trips. I had waited a long time for the opportunity to revisit this relatively small North African country wedged between two much larger neighbors, Algeria and Libya. I also wanted to share Tunisia with my husband, Paul, who had never visited before.

We carved out the time from our schedules,...

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