Did you know you can often volunteer on archaeological digs when you travel, even if you have no experience? It’s a great way to make a special connection with a place. In 2008 I volunteered for three weeks on a project in Mongolia, a few hours south of Ulaanbaatar along the fringes of the Gobi desert. The best part, besides epic burials like the one pictured, ancient rock art, and ruined temples; was that we worked with local archaeologists. Working side-by-side gives you a really unique opportunity to get to know people on a level you wouldn’t normally be able to.
Google taglines like ‘volunteer archaeological dig’ and the country or state you are interested in to find opportunities. Some have fairly high fees- you’re basically funding their research, but those fees usually include room and board, excursions, lectures, and land transportation. Enjoy!