• The 2022 TCC International Conference in Malta

  • Paul Drake and his wife exploring Sicily before the 2022 conference

  • The June 2022 Arkansas Chapter gathering in Little Rock

  • New Member Jin Liu with David Brezic at her first TCC meeting

  • 200-country milestones for Linda Rose Victoire Byers & Margo Bart

  • The new Korea chapter resumed in-person meetings in May

  • Rimma Milenkova, guest speaker at the May 2022 Pennsylvania Chapter meeting, with member Jill Kyle

  • The spring 2022 Southeast Florida Chapter meeting

A Message From the President

A Message From the President

Every TCC Member deals with the same dilemma: Do I continue to explore new destinations or return to some of my favorite places? I’m guessing 95 percent of you have already visited some or several parts of France. Similarly I would estimate 95 percent have also visited a European castle. I’m writing this message to encourage everyone to consider visiting a particularly special French castle, one being constructed today using 13th-century techniques.

One of the most unique tourist attractions in Europe today is Château de Guédelon. This is a “new build” of a castle forgoing all modern technology. Workers use only materials and techniques that were available in the 1200s. Workers must use 13th-century hammers to break stones, clay to make tiles, local pigments to color the tiles and wooden wheels to hoist materials to where they are needed. The workers go so far as locating local plants to make the baskets that are used to hoist materials.

This project had its origins with a French entrepreneur, Michel Guyot. In the 1990s, when he was restoring a beautiful château from the 19th century, he found it had been built on the foundation of a medieval castle from an earlier era. This gave him the idea of attempting to build an entirely new structure using the tools of an earlier era. After raising the necessary capital, including 400,000 Euros from the European Union, he had to find a suitable site and chose a specific date from history from which to orient his project. Michel chose an abandoned sandstone quarry to minimize transporting stone to the site. Although this was his primary concern in the site selection, he was fortunate that a nearby forest yielded the wood he needed. Nearby, he also was able to find clay for the tile work, iron ore for smelting, and pigments for painting and tile colorization.

Finally, he needed to choose a precise date that the castle was to have been constructed, so as not to use any technology that wasn’t developed at the time. He chose the year 1228, during the reign of Louis IX, who was known as the builder king. Coincidentally, this was the same era as the castle that is the foundation for the Louvre in Paris. (This stonework can be seen in the lower level of the museum today.)

This entire building process is part of a formal branch of archaeology known as “experimental archaeology.” This formal discipline is devoted to testing theories on ancient building techniques by trying to duplicate the tools and processes used in the period. A good example of experimental archaeology would be Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki expedition across the Pacific Ocean.

A particular benefit of this castle construction is paying dividends in rebuilding the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. After the 2019 fire, there were many experts who said it would be impossible to rebuild the cathedral roof as it had been. They claimed the only feasible way to reconstruct the roof was to use more modern techniques. Fortunately, the builders of Château de Guédelon came forward and convinced Parisian authorities the roof could be rebuilt using the same 13th-century methods.

Hopefully, we can see more samples of this type of experimental archaeology in the future. Already, more than 300,000 tourists have visited the castle and surrounding areas.

Not only are tourists coming to visit the site, some are signing up to assist the crafts people working there. I encourage each of you to consider joining this amazing quest. For more information about the project, visit the Château de Guédelon Web site at https://www.guedelon.fr.

March 2023 Photo Contest Winner: David Berhenke, Vancouver, Washington

Congratulations David! With 50 photos to choose from, yours received the highest rating among members. You’ve not only brought honor to the Pacific Northwest Chapter, but you have won a year of free membership for yourself. Thanks to everybody who submitted their wonderful “religious buildings” theme photos for the March contest. They can still be seen and commented on by visiting https://pollunit.com/en/polls/tcc-2023-march.

The theme for our June 2023 contest is “City Life.” Click for contest details »

Photo: David Berhenke

On top of most travelers’ “must see” list when visiting Bhutan is Paro Taktsang. The famous “Tiger’s Nest” monastery is perched precariously on a sheer cliff 900 meters above the valley. Hidden from view for much of the 3-kilometer hike up through the forest, and ascending a bit over 500 vertical meters, the monastery views are a well-earned reward and good excuse to stop to catch your breath before entering the complex for a visit.


Sherri Donovan, Oyster Bay, New York

Photo: Sherri Donovan

The Asmaul Husna 99 Dome Mosque, located at the center point of Indonesia in Makassar, South Sulawesi, has 99 orange and white domes designed to resemble the buds of flowers. Winning the Abdullatif Al Fozan Award for best Mosque architecture, Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil is architect, engineer and former governor of West Java.

Megha Chokshi, Oak Hill, Virginia

Photo: Megha Chokshi

Black-and-white striped arches, colorful murals of saints and sinners, and high snow-capped peaks abound at Bulgaria’s Rila Monastery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this monastery is said to have preserved the Bulgarian language and culture during the Ottoman rule, and is known as being one of the hideouts of Bulgarian revolutionaries.