Study Tours

 Paris Museums Trip 21st-23rd February 2009




 In late February 2009, a group of students from Kent set off to Paris for a long weekend, to visit the Roman and Medieval monuments of the city, along with its Museums, in the company of archaeology lecturer Luke Lavan, who has previously worked as a guide in this ‘City of Light’. Such trips are easy from Canterbury, as we are only 15 minutes away from Eurostar at Ashford International, which is itself only 1h50 from Paris Gare-du-Nord. We stayed in a chic part of town near ‘Nation’, blessed with inexpensive but excellent brasseries, that is only ten minutes from Notre Dame.


In three days we visited the Amphitheatre, the Roman Baths / Museum of the Middle Ages, the Crypte Archeologique, the Sainte Chapelle, the Conciergerie Palace, Notre Dame, and of course the Louvre: for its Mesopotamian Antiquities, Classical Sculpture and its stunning Egyptian collection. The tour was both gastronomic as well as archaeological, taking in classic French restaurants and Vietnamese dishes from the Chinese quarter. We also took a stroll along the Seine, a walk through the Tuileries Gardens to the Champs Elysées, and made an obligatory visit to the Tour Eiffel.



Alex Da Costa:

“I thought the Paris trip brought great value to my studies. I felt the visit to the Louvre especially valuable, particularly for anyone doing modules on ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome. The collections are fascinating and it is useful to actually be able to see archaeological finds that are discussed in lectures and seminars. It brings your modules to life! I definitely felt that it was a cultural experience. I fully enjoyed the Paris Trip. Without a doubt, I would recommend it to anyone. It is a beautiful city with some amazing historical sites. I love my course but it made me appreciate it even more!”



Katie Cable:

“Having never visited Paris, I was extremely excited to go. I felt without a doubt the whole trip was extremely positive, and enjoyed every last second. The visits to the many different museums were so interesting and really broadened not only my knowledge of the history of Paris but also my classical knowledge as a whole. The visit to the Louvre was one of the most interesting things. Seeing artifacts that I had seen … shown in lectures was brilliant. I also felt that having Luke Lavan taking us through areas of the museum was very beneficial, as I learnt a great deal from him. We managed to cover everything that I had hoped we would, and it has made me want to go back to Paris and discover more. I loved the whole experience!”



Maudie Van den Berge:

“I found the trip most worthwhile and enjoyable. The experience of seeing artifacts in the Mesopatamia exhibition at the Louvre was enhanced by first-hand access to Luke’s expert knowledge and insight.  The trip also included visits to the Crypte Archaeologique, which I had never seen despite a number of previous stays in Paris, the wonderful Sainte-Chapelle and many other sites of interest. An added bonus was that I almost forgot that I was something like three times the age of my travelling companions, who were all very charming and inclusive.”





Rome Study Tour 15-22nd August 2009



Prior to this year’s Ostia excavation season Dr Luke Lavan organised a study tour of Imperial Roman and Early Medieval Rome. Here follows a short account by Tina Manahai-Mahai who took part in it.


It was so unbelievably hot on our first day trip to Rome that our sandals stuck to the pavement. Yet none of us cared about the sweltering August heat. We were in La Citta Eterna! Over two and a half thousand years worth of history right there in front of us. The city that was home to the likes of Caesar, Nero and Virgil. I think we all felt beyond lucky. We were in Italy to excavate the ancient site of Ostia Antica. To be honest that was exciting in itself, but some of us also had the opportunity to enjoy a week-long study tour of Rome. Guided by the wonderfully informative Dr. Michael Mulryan, we were treated to some of the most famous sites in the world. Our first day eased us into the hustle and bustle of the capital city. We had a sweeping tour that covered the likes of the Colosseum, the Imperial Forum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. Later in the week we had a chance to explore these places in more depth. An average day trip for us was spent perusing ancient catacombs and admiring the view from the Palatine Hill. There was no need to imagine what life in Ancient Rome was like, the city itself is a living, breathing testimony to its illustrious past.


Combined with exploring the city’s various ruins we had daily lectures, from Dr Luke Lavan and Dr Mulryan, under the glorious Italian sun. We learnt everything from modern Roman culture to the politics of Ancient Rome. Being able to see what we were learning about really made a difference. It doesn’t matter how many pictures you see of the Colosseum, nothing compares to standing in what used to be the stands and looking at the vast arena. We toured the museums and the churches, we ate ice-cold water melons as we gazed at the Circus Maximus. We listened to a man playing acoustic guitar at night outside the Pantheon. We tossed coins into the Trevi fountain, explored the ruins of the circus of Maxentius and indulged in gelato.


Learning about and exploring Rome was a brilliant way to bond together as a team. We were going to be living together for five weeks, so it was essential that we all got to know each other. From day trips to enjoying midnight pool parties back on camp, we certainly bonded. Our campsite was far from basic, two swimming pools and numerous bars were certainly enjoyed on our time off. We felt that we had already experienced so many new and wonderful things together, but the trip had only just begun. Excavation and explorations were the next thing on the agenda…



  1. I thought Paris was great and I really enjoyed myself and learnt a lot. I also met new people which I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I highly recommend this trip.

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