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Tours & Cruises

Skeleton Crew Needed to Dig Up Dem Bones


Archeologist wanna-bes can help make history by assisting on an excavation project near Rancho Santa Fe in north San Diego County. The pick of dates are July 30-Aug. 6, Aug. 6-13, Aug. 13-20 and Aug. 20-27. The site has cultural layers 10 to 12 feet below the surface. It is believed to contain 9,000-year-old stone artifacts, food and plant gathering locations and rock art. An experienced crew chief will be assigned to four to five participants, who will assist with surveying, excavating, screening, mapping surface artifacts and lab work on the various sites. Basic discussions about excavation techniques, mapping and artifact cataloguing will be ongoing throughout the project. Discussions about the cultures you are investigating will take place as you work and find artifacts. Cost: $395 per week, including ground transportation from Quality Resort in San Diego to the base camp at the project, all meals prepared at the field camp's kitchen, use of tent, sleeping pad, chemical toilets, showers, shade tarps, tables, chairs and lanterns, and archeological supervision. Not included: transportation to San Diego. Bring a sleeping bag and digging kit. Contact: Lost World Trading Co., P.O. Box 365, Oakdale, CA 95361; telephone (209) 847-5393.

Real Theater, Darling

The 12th annual British Theatre Backstage leaves Los Angeles for London on Dec 27. The 10-day tour, led by arts writer Barbara Isenberg, offers seven performances in London and Stratford, plus meetings with leading British theater artists and critics. This year there are tours of architectural masterpieces with a historian, a visit to the long-awaited Shakespeare Globe Theatre, an outing to Kew Gardens and a David Hockney drawing exhibition. A full-day excursion to Stratford will include a matinee performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as a private gourmet dinner at historic Alscot Park. Cost: $3,760 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, room at Mayfair's Washington Hotel, full English breakfast daily, seven performances, three dinners, celebrity tea, excursions and transfers. Contact: Susan Holden, Gilner International Travels, 437 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; tel. (310) 273-6161.

Saddle Up

A guided two-day eco-tour by horseback up Mt. Ilalo, near Quito, is available year-round to visitors of Ecuador.

Participants take a half-hour trip by van from Quito to the Valle de los Chillos, where the horses are corralled. As they ascend to the summit, riders pass scenic valleys and colorful hamlets. Geological features, native flora and fauna are described by the guides. At the summit, participants stay overnight in modern tents, dining barbecue-style around the fire. The next morning the group breakfasts on huevos rancheros and coffee, and spends the morning bird-watching and exploring. Experience is not required, and children are welcome. Cost: $166 per person, double occupancy, including camping gear, food and horses. Not included: air fare to Ecuador. Contact: Adventure Associates, 13150 Coit Road, Suite 110, Dallas, TX 75240; tel. (800) 527-2500.

Maximum Micronesia

Micronesia, "the land of tiny islands," is a group of small, widely scattered Pacific islands virtually untouched by the 20th Century. Leaving each Tuesday year-round, a 20-day adventure starts with a visit to Hawaii and continues to the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Mariana Islands and the Republic of Palau.

The area is an underwater museum with sunken ships and warplanes that hold appeal for scuba divers and snorkelers. An excursion to Yap Island in search of "stone money" reveals huge doughnut-shaped stones up to 10 feet in diameter. Accommodations range from bungalows to deluxe hotels. Cost: $4,527 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, hotels, all meals and sightseeing. Extensions to Nauru, Tarawa and Abemama are available. Contact: Universal Travel System; P.O. Box 2115 Santa Monica, CA 90407-2115; tel. (310) 393-0261.

Boston and Newport

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