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.
The field school started: 2009
National Archaeological Reserve Deultum - Debelt
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 BCE) which is one of the biggest ancient Greek necropoleis ever
excavated. The vessels used for conservation originate from the cult fireplaces
in the necropolis. They are provided by the Archaeological Museum – Sozopol,
Periods in the project's focus: Archaic and Classical Greek, Hellenistic (6th – 2nd century BCE)
BHF partners in this project:
Krastina Panayotova, PhD in
Archaeology, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of
Classical Archaeology, National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Teodora Bogdanova, Ph.D. in Archaeology, Curator at Museum of
Archaeology - Sozopol; Adjunct Professor, CPCE, New Bulgarian
Daniela Cherneva, PhD in Archaeological Conservation, BHF affiliate conservator
Field School coordinator:
Nayden Prahov, PhD in Archaeology, Program Director of the Balkan Heritage Foundation and Assistant Professor at the National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Bulgaria.
Field school session available: 16 - 29 July, 2023
Application Deadlines: 16 May, 2023
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 can receive up to 6 European academic credits through New Bulgarian University.
Experience required: No
Special requirements: Good physical condition and command of manual operations. All participants should bring clothes and toiletries suitable for hot and sunny weather, although the weather might be sometimes chilly and rainy. It is recommended that participants bring their laptops with at least 6 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.
A medical COVID-19 certificate
might be requested from each participant. The participants should have medical insurance including COVID-19 treatment and repatriation. The participants should inform the project staff about any health issues, allergies, and food preferences.
Participants are also expected to prepare for the dig by reading at minimum the recommended readings.
Participants will use the tools and equipment available at the site and are not expected to bring any additional equipment.
COVID-19 Safety measures: All participants should read our updated Terms & Conditions regarding BHF's COVID-19 Safety policy.
Apollonia Pontica (present-day Sozopol, Bulgaria) is one of the most ancient towns on the western Black Sea coast. The city, founded by Miletian colonists around 610 BCE, was named Apollonia Pontica, in honor 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 BCE) and Alexander the Great (335 BCE) but in 72 BCE 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 CE. Despite the damage, it survived the period of the Great Migration of People (4th - 7th century CE) 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 BCE and 4th - 6th century CE, 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 2500 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 for conservation originate from the cult fireplaces in the necropolis. They are
provided by the
The Workshop for Conservation of Ancient Greek Pottery will guide the participants through the history of 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 from sites on the Western Black Sea coast. The course includes three modules: 1) practical work in conservation of ancient pottery (involving authentic pottery shards found in the necropolis of Apollonia Pontica); 2) lectures on topics related to the archaeological context of conserved vessels and to conservation process of ancient Greek pottery; 3) excursions 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:
The workshop has taken place since 2009. The instructors and the students have conserved more than 180 Ancient Greek vessels.
All participants will receive:
Field School coordinator:
The workshop provides a minimum of 75 hours of training, instructions, lectures and guided tours as follows:
Arrive by noon at Sofia Airport, Bulgaria, conduct a COVID-19 PCR* test on arrival at the airport and get self-quarantined for the period before the pick up, at the Best Western Premier Sofia Airport Hotel** (these rules may be changed. The BHFS will provide ongoing updates on COVID-19 rules and restrictions in Bulgaria to all enrolled students).
*The reimbursement payment DOES NOT cover the shuttle cost, the first night accommodation and PCR test costs!
**Please do not make any reservations before the confirmation of the field school and the latest updates about the COVID-19 situation, which will be sent to you via email one month before the beginning of the field school!
Morning: All students with negative PCR test results will be picked up from the hotel by a shuttle. The lunch will takes place on the board of the shuttle.
Afternoon: Arrival and check-in the project hotel.Presentation of the Balkan Heritage Field School and collaborative universities & institutions, the project and the participants. Ice-breakers. Town sightseeing and orientation walk.
7.50 - 8.30 am - Breakfast;
8.30 - 1. 00 pm - Workshops on conservation 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 conservation and 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;
8.00-10.00 am - Breakfast;
Check-out by 11:30 am
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.
Cherneva, D. Richly Decorated Pottery from Apollonia Pontica (4th Century B.C.). Technical Study, Damage Phenomena, and Approach to Conservation. - Report in the Interim Meeting of the ICOM-CC and Glass Working Group and Corpus Vitrearum - ICOMOS in Amsterdam (In print)
Cherneva, D. Investigations on the Gilding Technology of Antique Ceramics from Apollonia Pontica. Archaeologia Bulgarica, XVII, 2, Sofia, 2013, 39-53.
Cherneva, D. Archaeological glass from a mound in Pamuklia (Bulgaria),1st -2nd century AD: Identification, damage phenomena and conservation, Poster, 17th Triennial Conference ICOM-CC, 2014 Melbourne, Australia.
Cook, R., P. Dupont. East Greek Pottery. London, New York, 1998. p. 1-10; 26 – 70; 77 – 94; 129 – 131; 192 – 206.
Cook, Robert Manuel. Greek Painted Pottery (Handbook of Archaeology), 1997, Routledge.
Panayotova, K. Burial and post-burial rites in the necropolises of the Greek colonies on the Bulgarian Black Sea Littoral. - In: Ancient Greek Colonies in the Black Sea - 2, vol. I. BAR International Series, 2007, 87 – 126.
Panayotova, K. The Necropolis of Apollonia Pontica in Kalfata / Bugjaka: In.- Docter, R., Kr. Panayotova, J. de Boer, L. Donnellan, W. van der Put, B. Bechtold, Apollonia Pontica, 2007, Gent, 2007
Pavlova, L., D. Cherneva, N. Velinov. Study on Red-figure Ancient Ceramics. - In Proceedings of the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, Sofia, 2011.
Pena, J. Theodore. Pottery in the Archaeological Record, 2007.
Sparkes, Brian. Greek Pottery. The Introduction., 1991, Manchester University Press.
Project venue: National Archaeological Reserve Deultum - Debelt
The nearest air terminals: Burgas airport (45 km/28 mi), Varna airport (160 km/100 mi). If participants arrive at one of these airports, a transfer to Sozopol may be arranged by request. Transfers prices are:
Burgas Airport - Debelt - 31 EUR (approx. 50-60 BGN); Burgas downtown - Debelt - 26 EUR (30-40 BGN);
Transfers can be shared by several participants.
How to get there? Bus lines connect Sozopol with Burgas, Sofia (the Bulgarian capital) and Plovdiv.
All participants will receive a travel info-sheet in advance with basic travel instructions and information on how to get to the hotel.
Visa requirements: Citizens of EU, EEA, USA, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria for up to 90 days or any of Bulgaria’s neighboring countries, except Turkey. However, the Turkish government facilitates tourism by providing the option for obtaining an e-visa at www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. Citizens of all other countries may need a visa. The Balkan Heritage Foundation can send an official invitation letter that should be used at the relevant embassy to secure a visa to the program. For further details please visit our Visa information page.
Accommodation*: Accommodation will be at the archaeological base part of National Archaeological Reserve - Deultum, which is located 22 km from Burgas. It has comfortable ensuite rooms with two to three beds. Free use of wi-fi, washing machine, and kitchen. Bed linen and towels are provided. Wi-Fi is available on the first floor of the lobby area.
Meals: Daily breakfast and the official welcome and the farewell dinners are covered by the reimbursement payment. Students are responsible for their own lunch and dinners.
*Subject to change. May be substituted with similar level accommodation.
Free time: Leisure activities during the free time as swimming, sunbathing, walking, etc. can be facilitated by organizers.
Extra trips and excursions: BHFS participants could take advantage of their stay in the Balkans and take trips to some worth seeing historical sites and towns nearby. BHFS encourages participants in the current project to visit after the field school:
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. Suggested travel ideas and excursions before/after the field school.
The reimbursement payment does not cover insurance. It is necessary to arrange your own DAN insurance before your trip to The insurance must cover as a minimum the following risks: medical treatment in case of an accident or disease, specifically covering COVID-19 as well as costs related to evacuation and repatriation. All EU citizens can use Bulgarian medical services as long as they can provide evidence of their home-country health insurance with a card/certificate, etc.
Weather: A southern European (subtropical) climate dominates in the region, making summers hot (30-40° C/ 86-104° F) but breezy. Rainy and chilly days in this season are rare but not excluded.
What to bring?
All field schools are conducted as non-profit projects by the Balkan Heritage Foundation, Bulgaria. Their costs, including students' costs related to participation in the field school are covered by the reimbursement payments made by field school students.
BHFS project reimbursement payment covers: Educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (hotel + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project handbook or readings, issue of Certificate of Attendance, administrative costs, travel related to the fieldwork and the excursions included in the field school program plus relevant entrance fees.
BHFS project reimbursement payment does not include: travel costs to and from the project venue or related to activities not included in the field school program; medical products and services and any expenses related to medical quarantine (food delivery, accommodation, etc.).
The costs in USD are approximate. Please check current exchange rates!
Early Bird Cost - until January 31, 2023:
Early Bird Cost for two-week project session is 1749 EUR/ approx. 1749 USD
Regular Cost - after January 31, 2023:
The Regular Cost for two-week project session is 1899 EUR / approx. 1899 USD
Reimbursement Transfer Options:
For further information contact Admissions Office at: [email protected]!
* 5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost available for:
* 10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost available for:
* 12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost available for:
* 15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost is available for:
NOTE, 5% OF EVERY COST FOR THIS PROJECT DIRECTLY SUPPORTS THE BALKAN HERITAGE PROTECTION FUND'S ACTIVITIES!
New Bulgarian University grants 6 ECTS credit units for attending the field school. Transcripts of Records (ToR) are available upon request for an additional tuition fee of 400 EUR for EU students and 600 EUR for Non-EU students.
Participants in the field school who do not need academic credit units are not expected to pay for them.