Workshop for Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek Pottery

Period: Ancient Greek and Hellenistic
Code: APDR.WRK 16
Session: 26 June - 10 July, 2016
Academic credits available: 6
Admission fee starting from: 1286 EUR (app. 1359 USD)

The Project and the Course

General information  

Project type: field school & conservation workshop. The variety of activities and team flexibility make this project suitable for both beginners and advanced (either volunteers or students) in conservation.

Artifacts & monuments in the project's focus: The pottery for the workshop originates from the ancient Greek and Hellenistic necropolis of Apollonia Pontica (6th – 2nd century BC) which is one of the biggest ancient Greek necropoleis ever excavated. The vessels used for restoration originate from the cult fireplaces in the necropolis. They are provided by the Archaeological Museum – Sozopol, Bulgaria.

Periods in the project's focus: Archaic and Classical Greek, Hellenistic (sixth century BC - first century BC)

Collaborating Universities & Institutions: Balkan Heritage Foundation, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria; Apollonia Pontica excavation team: National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Archaeological Museum of Sozopol.

Workshop director: : Krastina Panayotova, PhD in Archaeology, Associated professor and Head of the Department of Classical Archaeology, National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Chief Instructors: Teodora Bogdanova, Ph.D. in Archaeology, Curator at Museum of Archaeology - Sozopol; Adjunct Professor, CPCE, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria and Daniela Cherneva, PhD in Archaeological Conservation and Restoration, BHF affiliate conservator


Field School coordinator: Nayden Prahov, PhD in Archaeology, Program Director of the Balkan Heritage Foundation and Expert Archaeologist at the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Ministry of Culture.

Venue: the summer resort town of Sozopol (ancient Apollonia Pontica) on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.

Dates: 26 June - 10 July, 2016

Application Deadlines: until the places are filled, or latest 1 June, 2016

Minimum length of stay: Two weeks.

Minimum age: 18 (16, if the participant is accompanied by an adult family member).

Number of field school places available: Maximum 8

Academic credits available: Participants could receive up to 6 European academic credits through New Bulgarian University.

Language: English

Experience required: No

Special requirements: 

Special requirements: Good physical condition and command of manual operations. All participants should bring clothes and cosmetics suitable for hot and sunny weather, although the weather imight be sometimes chilly and rainy. It is recommended that participants bring their laptops having at least 20 GB free disk space and a mouse. Operation system recommended: Windows Vista or newer. All participants are expected to prepare for the workshop by reading at least the BHFS handbook (the BHFS e-handbook will be sent by e-mail to all registered students before the beginning of the project) and other recommended readings! Participants will use the tools and equipment available at the labs and are not expected to bring any additional equipment.

   The Workshop

The Workshop for Conservation, Restoration and Documentation of Ancient Greek Pottery will guide the participants through the history of the ancient Greek pottery and the process of pottery conservation, restoration, documentation and study. Both the theoretical and practical courses will be based on ancient Greek pottery found in Sozopol ( the ancient Greek city of Apollonia Pontica on the Black Sea Coast ). The course includes three modules: 1) practical work in conservation, restoration and documentation of ancient pottery ( involving authentic pottery shards found in Apollonia Pontica); 2) lectures on topics related to the archaeological context of restored vessels and to conservation and restoration of ancient Greek pottery; 3) excursion to the ancient coastal towns of Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a sightseeing tour of Sozopol (including study visits to their archaeological museums). Refer to the Course Program and Agenda below!


By the end of the workshop the participants will:

  • be introduced to the basic methods for documentation and restoration of ancient pottery;
  • be able to develop basic/further practical skills (depending on participant's initial level of qualification) in ancient pottery restoration and illustration;
  • deepen their knowledge through first-hand experience with ancient Mediterranean/European History and Archaeology;
  • meet professionals, who work in the areas of Classical Archaeology and Pottery Conservation, Restoration and Documentation.

The workshop takes place from 2009. By far the instructors and the students have conserved and restored more than 150 ancient Greek vases.


All participants will receive:

  1. Project handbook (in PDF by e-mail );
  2. Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate specifying the topics and the hours of the fieldschool activities (fieldwork, lectures, workshops, educational trips, ets.).

 Archaeological and historical context

Apollonia Pontica (present-day Sozopol, Bulgria) is one of the most ancient towns on the Western Black Sea coast. The city, founded by Miletian colonists around 610 BC, was named Apollonia Pontica, in honour of the patron deity of Miletus - Apollo. The Ancient authors identify the philosopher named Anaximander as the founder of the city. It became an autonomous and strong democratic polis and important trade center between Ancient Greece and Thrace. Thanks to its strong navy and naturally protected harbors, Apollonia kept control of the major merchant road along the Western Black Sea Coast, called Via Pontica, for several centuries. The city preserved its independence during the campaigns of Phillip II of Macedon (342-339 BC) and Alexander the Great (335 BC) but in 72 BC it was conquered, pillaged and burned by the Roman legions of Marcus Lucullus. The victors took the most prized trophy to Rome: the colossal statue of Apollo. The city succeeded in restoring its former glory and was known in the Roman World as Apollonia Magna (Great Apollonia). Following the Christian mainstream tradition, its name was changed to Sozopol in the 4th century AD. Despite the damage, it survived the period of the Great Migration of People (4-7 century AD) and entered the Middle ages as a focal point of long-lasting Byzantine-Bulgarian conflicts.

The large necropolis of Apollonia Pontica, dated to the 6th - 2ndcentury BC and 4th - 6th century AD, is Sozopol's most important archaeological site today. It was once outside the ramparts of the town, along the sea coast in what is today the Harmani beach area and Budzhaka peninsula. Here archaeologists have discovered more than 2000 ancient graves. Some of them contained impressive artifacts such as painted pottery, funerary reliefs, jewels and terracotta statuettes.

The collection of ancient Greek vases from the necropolis is among the richest in the world. The most representative part of it is kept in the Archaeological Museum – Sozopol, Bulgaria but some artifacts are now in the Louvre Museum (Paris, France), the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), the Pergamon Museum (Berlin, Germany) and the National Museum of History, Sofia, Bulgaria. The vessels used for restoration originate from the cult fireplaces in the necropolis. They are provided by the Archaeological Museum – Sozopol, Bulgaria. The workshop’s main initiative is to restore the pottery from these specific contexts (cult fire places).


The Program

The workshop provides a minimum of 90 astronomical hours of  training, instructions, lectures and guided tours as follows:


Lectures (L), Workshops (W) and Guided Tours (GT):   

  • Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek Pottery (L);
  • Technology, Typology and Chronology of the Greek and Hellenistic Pottery with Examples from Apollonia Pontica (L);
  • Review of Basic Methods for Uncovering, "First aid", Consolidation in Situ, Cleaning, Sorting out and Storing of Ceramic Artefacts (L);
  • Ancient Greek Cemeteries and Funeral Rites with Examples from the Western Black Sea Coast (According to Historical and Archaeological Evidences)(L);
  •  Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek Pottery (with fragmented original pottery from Apollonia Pontica (W);  
  • Archaeological Documentation of Ancient Greek and Hellenistic Pottery (drawing, graphic reconstruction, image processing using graphic software, photographing, description etc) (W);
  • Guided visit of Sozopol: the Old Town Quarter and Archaeological Museum (GT);
  • Guided visit of Nessebar: the Old Town Quarter and Archaeological Museum (GT).               
  • Lectures and workshops will take place in Dom Mladenovi guest or in VMK hotel.

The Agenda


First day

26 June. Arrival and check-inby 7.00 pm

8.00 - 9.30 pm - Traditional Bulgarian welcome dinner.

Meeting time/point on arrival date: 7:45- Dom Mladenovi guesthouse garden

Additional pick-up may be arranged from Burgas or Varna airports, train or bus stations upon request.

Second day

Morning: Presentation of the Balkan Heritage Field School and collaborative universities & institutions, the project and the participants. Ice-breaking.

Afternoon: Town sightseeing and orientation walk.

Work days

7.50 - 8.30 am - Breakfast;

8.30 - 1. 00 pm - Workshops on conservation and restoration of Ancient Greek Pottery; 

1.00 - 5.00 / 5.30 pm- Lunch and free time; 

5.00 / 5.30 - 7.30 pm - Lectures and workshops on documentation of Ancient Greek pottery; 

7.30 - 9.00 pm - Dinner.


8.00-9.00 am - Breakfast;   

10.00 am - 5.00 pm - Visit to Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) - sightseeing and free time;

7.30-9.00 pm - Dinner.


3 July 2016

Departure day

10 July

8.00-10.00 am - Breakfast;
Chek-out by 11:00.

Reading background   


Boardman, John. The History of Greek Vases: Potters, Painters and Pictures, 2006, Thames & Hudson.

Bouzek, J. Studies of Greek Pottery in the Black Sea Area. Oxford, 2003.

Manuel Cook, Robert. Greek Painted Pottery (Handbook of Archaeology), 1997, Routledge.

Pena, J. Theodore. Pottery in the Archaeological Record, 2007.

Sparkes, Brian. Greek Pottery. The Introduction., 1991, Manchester University Press.

Travel, Accommodation & Practicalities


Venue: the summer resort town of Sozopol (Ancient Apollonia Pontica) on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast

The Nearest Airports: Burgas (60 km) and Varna (80 km) airports. Don't forget checking the low cost flight options!

Transfers may be arranged upon request from Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv, Sofia airports, bus or railway stations or hotels. The price from Burgas is app. 25 EUR, from Varna - app. 100 EUR, from Sofia - app. 200 EUR. The price may be shared between two / three participants.


Accommodation & Meals


Accommodation: Accommodation is either at Dom Mladenovi guest house or at VMK Military Club, both of which have comfortable rooms with ensuite, with two to three beds, bathrooms with shower and WC, equipped with air-conditioning, refrigerators, TV and Internet. The hotels are located very close to the town beaches, the Old Town Quarter, the Archaeological Museum and within 15 min walking distance from the archaeological site. Wi-Fi is available on the first floor of the hotel. Staying an extra day costs 27 EUR. Single rooms are available upon request for an additional fee of 110 EUR per week.

Alternative more luxurious accommodation (single, double or triple roums) is available for an additional fee of 180 to 270 EUR per week upon request at Vila Kera (http://www.villa-kera.com/newsite/index.php#!/pageRooms). Places are limited.

For those who prefer higher class accommodation, the BHFS would recommend to make reservations with the following hotels in Sozopol: Hotel Casa del Mare and Hotel Fiesta.

All participants who organize and pay extra for their own accommodation will receive a discount of 75 EUR (per week) off the admission fee.

See all accommodation options on our Information page!

Meals: Three meals (fresh, organic, homemade Bulgarian food) per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) in the garden/dining room of the workshop premises in Villa Buria. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. 

Participants must pay on their own for extra days and for single room accommodation as well as for extra meals, beverages, services and products!


Free Time & Trips


Free time: Guided sightseeing tours of Sozopol and Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) will be organized for all field school participants and are covered by the admission fee. Leisure activities during the free time as swimming, sunbathing, walking, etc. will be facilitated by organizers.

Extra trips and excursions: The BHFS participants could take advantage of their stay in the Balkans and take trips to some worth seeing historical sites and towns nearby. The BHFS encourages participants in the current project to visit after the field school:   

  • ancient city of Plovdiv on their way to the Bulgarian capital Sofia (the entire trip from Sozopol is about 370 km/ 230 mi)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (340 km/ 215 mi from Sozopol).   

The BHFS can assist the participants who plan to organize their own trips with trip advice and recommendations, accommodation and tickets reservations, by providing historical information about the sites to be visited, arranging travel insurance and other tips. With our help these excursions could be cheap, easy, safe and pleasant. Look-up at other suggested travel ideas and excursions before/after the field school!  


Technicalities & Practicalities

Insurance: The admission fee does not cover insurance. It is necessary to arrange your own insurance before your trip to Bulgaria. All EU citizens can use Bulgarian medical services, just like Bulgarian citizens, as long as they can provide evidence of their home-country health insurance with a card/certificate, etc.

Weather: Mediterranean climate dominates in both Emona and Sozopol, but the early autumn’s weather is unpredictable. It is sometimes hot (30-35 C), but rainy and chilly days in this season are not excluded. The air temperature does not affect the sea temperature that is around 22-25 C in September. Usually chilly and cloudy days, if any in the first half of September, are followed by a long warm “Indian (Gypsy) summer” that lasts till November.

What to bring?

  • Participants are expected to bring clothing suitable to the workshop’s environment (both urban areas and countryside) and the weather conditions from hot and sunny to chilly and rainy. Light clothes and sun-hats for the sunny days as well as raincoats for probable rainy and windy days are recommended. Bring some comfortable shoes - visiting some of the sites requires walking on country roads and medieval cobble stone streets! Don’t forget your swimming suits and sunscreen lotion as well!
  • Medication - It is recommended that you bring your individual prescription medicines if any. You could also take anti-insecticides, esp. anti-mosquitoes and sunscreen/suntan lotion since there isn’t a pharmacy in Emona. However, Balkan Heritage will provide a medicine chest for the project participants. You could also buy some medicines during the transfer to Emona or during the excursions. In Sozopol, Burgas, Obzor and Nessebar you can buy all common medicines and other supplies.    
  • EQUIPMENT: Participants are encouraged to bring their PC’s having at least 6 GB free disk space, a mouse and an USB flash drive. Operating system recommended: Windows XP or newer. Don’t forget to bring also a converter to EU type electricity wall-plug if needed!   
  •  A good attitude for work, fun, study and adventures ;)

The Admission fee   


The Admission fee includes: educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (hotel + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project Handbook, issue of Certificate of Attendance, excursions/sightseeing tours/entrance fees and administrative costs.

The price in USD is for orientation. Please check current exchange rates! 


Early Bird Special by January 31st, 2016:

The Early Bird admission fee for the Project is 1286 EUR (app.1359 USD)  -  SAVE 150 EUR / 170 USD


Regular Admission Fee - after January 31st, 2016:

The regular admission fee for the Project is 1429 EUR (app.1509 USD).   


Admission Fee Transfer Options:

- Bank transfer
- On-line transfers via the Balkan Heritage virtual POS Terminal VISA, MASTERCARD & MAESTRO cards are accepted.

For further information contact Admissions Office at bhfs.admissions@gmail.com!


Discounts off the regular admission fee:


* 5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:

  1. Participation in more than 1 BHFS project or project session in 2015. (5% discount is valid for all projects/sessions to be attended).
  2. Membership in the Archaeological Institute of America.

* 10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:

  1. Participation in any BHFS project/s in the past.

* 12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people, who participate together in one project session in 2015 (the discount is valid for each participant)

* 15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee is available in case of:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people, who participate together in more than one BHFS project or project session in 2015 (the discount is valid for each participant for all projects/ sessions to be attended).
  2. BHFS alumni, who participate in more than one BHFS project or project session in 2015. (15% discount is valid only for the second, third etc. project/session to be attended).


Note, 5% of every admission fee for this project directly supports the Balkan Heritage Protection Fund's activities!


For more information about scholarships, low-cost flights, hotels, etc. please feel free to contact us or look at our recommended links

Academic Credits

New Bulgarian University grants 6 ECTS credits to students for attending this project. Transcripts of Records (ToR) are available upon request for an additional tuition fee starting from 282 EUR for six ECTS credits. For details please read carefully the Regulations for obtaining Transcripts of Records.




Workshop for Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek Pottery

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