ANT330Y: The Rudabanya Field School

Announcement: March 24th, 2020: As a result of COVID-19 we are forced to cancel the 2020 field school. Look for an announcement for the 2021 fieldschool this fall. Stay safe and indoors.

Announcement: The Rudabanya field school 2020 is now ready for excavation! Once again and perhaps for the last time ever we will be excavating this extremely rich world famous site. Join us for what may be the final excavation at Rudabanya and be part of the history of this amazing site. We will also be exacavting a newly discovered site where we found a new ape species just last year. Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new discovery. We can only accept a limited number of students so apply now to be sure of a spot. The Rudabanya Field School is tentatively scheduled to run from June 3rd to June 24th, 2020. We will require a deposit of $500 as soon as you are accepted (no later than March 15th) and the balance of $2000 CND by May 1st, 2020. Email me (begun@chass.utoronto.ca) with all your questions.

Welcome to the home page of The Rudabanya Field School, a palaeoanthropological field course administered by the University of Toronto in collaboration with the Geological and Geophysical Institute of Hungary. Participants have the opportunity to excavate the world famous locality of Rudabanya and a new site called Alsotelekes, both in Hungary. The these two sites are rich in fossils including early relatives of living African apes and humans. Discoveries at Rudabanya, many made by the students themselves, have helped us to unravel great mysteries of our ancestry. The first field school took place in 1997. I still know people from that first year and from subsequent field campaigns, many of whom have gone on to prominent positions in acedemia and other professions. They always remind me of the great experience and memories from Rudabanya to last a life-time.

The Rudabanya Field School course is run by Dr. David Begun of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.

about the locale

Rudabanya, Hungary

Rudabanya is a world famous locality located in north central Hungary with one of the richest collections of fossil primates from the late Miocene period. Especially noteworthy at Rudabanya is Rudapithecus, a fossil ape that figures prominently in debates about great ape evolution and human origins. Rudapithecus has been interpreted to be a common ancestor of living African apes and humans. The University of Toronto and the Hungarian Geological Institute are collaborating to excavate Rudabanya to learn more about Rudapithecus and the environment in which it lived. As part of this project, the Rudabanya Palaeoanthropological Field School offers students the opportunity to experience firsthand the multidisciplinary approach of human origins research. Students always find fossils at Rudabanya and many find fossil apes.

For more information on the course and the field experience:
Click here to see the field school flyer
Click here to see views from the field
Click here to learn more about the course
Click here for additional contact information

 How to Apply: To apply for admission to the field school, please email me a brief explanation of your reasons for wanting to excavate at Rudabanya. Include your university affiliation, year of study, email address and phone number. No prior experience is necessary. All we require is an enthusiastic desire to dig up fossils. If accepted, you will be instructed to fill out an application form and to submit it along with your deposit ($500) to Josie Alaimo, the undergraduate administrator in Anthropology. When the list of participants has been finalized we will have an orientation meeting at which all your questions will be answered.

Practical tips:  Your ancillary fees ($2500) cover all your room and board expenses in Hungary as well as travel within Hungary during the field school. Course fees (set by the University, TBA), your travel to Budapest, and health insurance are in addition. Travel to and from Hungary is very easy and safe. Hungary is a safe and beautiful country full of history and beautiful sites.  You will be completely in our care for the entire duration of the field school.  We gather at the hotel in Budapest the day you arrive, and you will stay there on the first and last days of the field school.  We arrange all travel in Hungary. You are responsible for getting to Hungary and for your own health insurance, as well as any additional days you stay abroad. Upon acceptance, you will be given very detailed instructions on getting to the hotel and more details about the site.  We have never lost a student. You will be provided with maps and phone numbers, and you will find it very easy to get to where you need to go.

At the site you will be housed in a hotel (no camping).  We have a laundry service and bedding is changed every week.  You do not need to bring any bedding or camping gear, except perhaps your favorite pillow.
 All dinners will be prepared by a local caterer under our supervision, and we will provide breakfast and lunch.

Required Field Gear 

  1. Notebook - The type is up to you but a standard spiral notebook will do.
  2. Backpack
  3. A retractable measuring tape (in centimeters, not inches!)
  4. Dustpan and dust broom (Rubbermaid makes a nice one with the dust broom attached to the pan)
  5. One or two small paint brushes (1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) wide)
  6. A line level  (available at Home Depot, Home Hardware and Rona)
  7. Pens – your preferred basic writing supplies
  8. A small ruler or other straight edge
  9. Dental tools and/or a medium length (~7 inch or so) flathead screwdriver (to be carried in your checked luggage only!) NB:  Dentists are a good source of used dental tools.


Any medication that you require


Suggested Field Gear

This list is offered as a guideline.  Only you know what you need, but bear in mind that you should bring only one bag or suitcase.  Pack light and bring as many multipurpose items as possible.  The work is often dirty, wet and strenuous, so bring appropriate clothing and check your vanity at the airport.    You may want to check out Value Village or Goodwill for work pants/shirts and plan to leave them in Rudabanya at the end of the season.

  1. 2-3 pairs work pants for excavation
  2. 2 pairs shorts for washing station (bathing suit optional)
  3. 5 - 6 shirts for excavation and washing station
  4. 1 long-sleeved shirt for excavation/washing station sun protection or cool day wear
  5. 1 sweatshirt, plus 1 rain jacket or poncho (ponchos work best)
  6. Water shoes or flip flops for washing station
  7. Sweat pants, shorts, lounge pants for relaxing at the hotel in the evening
  8. 1-2 casual shirts or T-shirts for relaxing at the hotel in the evening
  9. 2-3 nicer shirts for town visits and Budapest
  10. 1-2 pairs better pants for town visits and Budapest
  11. Sneakers (required for excavation) for everyday wear
  12. Personal items (10 socks and underwear, personal care items, 1 towel)
  13. Leatherman or other multipurpose tool or a small pocket knife (again, in your checked baggage only!)
  14. Knee pads
  15. Correction fluid (e.g. White-out) 
  16. Sunscreen
  17. Bug spray
  18. Hat or cap
  19. Water bottle

site content ? david begun 2019
site design ? weija chiang 2006
university of toronto, department of anthropology