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Archaeology: Libya, Syria and Iran

Unearthed from his Wyoming ranch and dusted off, Harrison Ford is bringing everyone's favourite archaeologist back to the big screen this summer with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But it's not just whip-cracking archaeologists sparking interest in all things ancient: the once-out-of-bounds destinations – Libya, Syria and Iran – are receiving intense interest from sightseers. "We are putting on extra departures for Syria this year," says Annabel Lawson of Andante Travels, the specialist archaeology tour operator.

Andante's five-day "Bare Bones" tour of the magnificent classical ruins of Leptis Magna in Libya (pictured) spends two days at the vast North African site, which has changed little in 2,000 years. The next stop is Sabratha, a trading port turned Roman city, and you also spend time in Tripoli. In Syria, Andante's tour takes in the desert oasis of Palmyra and Aleppo. So are archaeologists a little bit bolder than the rest of us? "Well, many visitors like the feeling that a place might be just a tad dangerous," concedes Lawson. RB

The Leptis Magna trip costs £1,150 per person, including flights. Palmyra and Aleppo tours cost £1,850 per person, inclusive, 01722 713 800, www.andantetravels.co.uk