This project is included in the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans
Project type: field school (excavations). The variety of activities and the team's professionalism and flexibility make this project suitable for both beginners and advanced in either Field or Classical Archaeology. Individual program and task assignments are available to advanced students.
The field school started: 2011
Site: Apollonia Pontica - sector of the the ancient city's sacred precinct (temenos) located on St. Kirik Island, Sozopol, Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
Project venue: Sozopol, Bulgaria
Period(s) of occupation: Archaic and Classical Greek, Hellenistic and Early Byzantine (seventh - third century BC and fifth - seventh century AD)
The project partners: Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF), Bulgaria and Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA, Apollonia Pontica Excavation Team, Archaeological Museum of Sozopol, New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria).
Dig 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
Deputy dig director and chief instructor: Teodora Bogdanova, Ph.D. in Archaeology, Curator at Museum of Archaeology - Sozopol
Field school coordinator: Nayden Prahov, PhD in Archaeology, Program Director of the Balkan Heritage Foundation and Expert Archaeologist at the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Two-week session 1: 24 June - 8 July, 2017
Two-week session 2: 8 July - 22 July, 2017
Three-week session: 24 June - 15 July, 2017
Four-week session: 24 June - 22 July, 2017
Major field school topics/activities: Ancient Greek Colonization, Culture and Religion; Аrchaeological Field Techniques and Methods; Find’s and Samples Processing, Documentation of Archaeological Pottery, Excursions to Significant Heritage Sites along the Western Black Sea Coast. For participants in the three-week session: Course on Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek Pottery; For participants in the four-week session: Processing of archaeological finds.
Major field school topics/activities: Ancient Greek Colonization, culture and religion; archaeological field techniques and methods; find’s and samples processing, documentation of archaeological pottery, excursions to significant heritage sites along the Western Black Sea Coast. For participants in the three and four-week session: course on conservation and restoration of Ancient Greek pottery;
Until the places are filled, or 1 June, 2017
Minimum length of stay for volunteers: 1 session (two weeks)
Minimum age: 18
Number of field school places available: Maximum 35
Academic credits available: Students who study in Europe can receive up to 12 ECTS credits through New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria. Students who study outside Europe can obtain 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units) through IFR’s academic partner University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA - Extension). See more details below!
Experience required: No
Special requirements: The project is not recommended for individuals with solar allergies or other special illnesses that might be exacerbated during the intensive outdoor activities. The average summer temperatures in the area are 25-35 C or higher. All participants should bring clothes and cosmetics suitable for hot and sunny weather. Bear in mind that chilly, windy and rainy days are not uncommon. They are expected to prepare for the dig by reading at least the BHFS handbook that will be sent by e-mail before the beginning of the project. Participants will use the tools and equipment available at the site and are not expected to bring any additional equipment.
If you are interested in an even more comprehensive experience with classical antiquity, check our project packs: ANCIENT GREEK PACK and the ANCIENT GREEK AND ROMAN PACK each combining 2 different Balkan Heritage Field School projects! You are also welcome to join the WORKSHOP FOR CONSERVATION, RESTORATION AND DOCUMENTATION OF ANCIENT GREEK POTTERY in Sozopol from 24 June to 8 July.
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Ancient Apollonia Pontica (present-day Sozopol,
Bulgria) is one of the earliest towns on the
Despite being one of the largest and richest Ancient
Greek colonies in the
Epigraphic sources mention that the
The great discovery convinced the Bulgarian Government to declare the island a cultural heritage site and designate some of the abandoned military buildings to be turned into a Museum of the Maritime Contacts and Civilizations.
This field school provides a unique glimpse into the early stages of the Greek colonization of the Western Black Sea Coast and the development of a small Greek settlement to one of the richest and strongest Greek colonies in the Black Sea region, as well as an amazing opportunity to:
- dig at an ancient Greek site on the Black sea coast;
- practice all basic excavation techniques in the field plus find’s and samples’ processing;
- visit significant archaeological and historic sites in Bulgaria as Nesebar, ancient Mesambria (UNES|CO World Heritage Site) and Sozopol, ancient Apollonia Pontica, etc.
Four field school sessions are available: two two-week sessions, one three-week session and one four-week session. Each includes fieldwork, lectures and instructions on classical and field archaeology, workshops for find’s processing and documentation, excursions to significant archaeological and historical sites. The participants who join the three or four-week session will be able to develop further their field archaeology skills and competences and to attend more lectures, workshops and excursions (refer to the Course Program and Agenda below!).
Students who should prepare field reports and presentations for their universities can receive additional instruction and assistance.
All participants will receive:
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Two-week field school sessions provide a minimum of 75 hours of fieldwork and training, workshops, lectures and guided tours as follows:
The three-week session provides a minimum of 110 hours of fieldwork and training, workshops, lectures and guided tours incorporating all two-week session's ones plus the following:
Additional and more comprehensive field work training and practices;
Course on conservation and restoration of ancient Greek pottery;
The four-week session provides a minimum of 150 hours of fieldwork and training, workshops, lectures and guided tours incorporating all three-week session's ones plus the following:
Students participating in the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans will be able to visit Varna, ancient Odessos and Varna Museum of History for free. The excursion is available for the other students for an additional fee.
Arrival and check-in by 7.00 pm
8.00 - 9.30 pm - Traditional Bulgarian welcome dinner.
Meeting time/point on arrival date: 7:45 - Dom Mladenovi guesthouse garden
A pick-up may be arranged from Burgas, Varna, Sofia and Plovdiv airports, train or bus stations upon request.
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.
During the second session participants who are attending three-week or four-week sessions will follow the agenda concerning regular working days.
6.30 - 7.10 am - Breakfast
7.10 - 7.30 am - Walk to the excavation site;
7.30 am - 1.00/1:30 pm - Fieldwork, including 30 min break*
1.30 - 5.30 pm - Lunch and siesta break
5.30 - 6.30/7.30 pm - Lectures/Workshops /Lab work
7.30 - 8.30 pm - Dinner
* in cases of rain, the project envisions finds' processing workshops, lectures and film projections
The following excursions are included in the field school program and covered by the admission fee:
Old town of Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Excursion to Varna for participants enrolled through IFR. The other students may joint the excursion for an additional fee.
Begliktash - natural megalithic and archaeological site (for participants in three-week or four-week sessions).
Apollonia Pontica Excavation Project alumni will be able to attend any tour.
2 July 2017
8 July 2017
15 July 2017
BHFS team could organize/assist with organization of various leisure activities for participants during their free time such as visiting beaches and sites, boating, sailing, fishing, diving, attending cultural events, etc.
Departure. Check-out by 11.30 am.
Two-week session 1: 8 July 2017
Three-week session: 15 July 2017
Two-week session 2 & Four-week session: 22 July 2017
A drop-off may be arranged from Kiten to Burgas, Varna, Sofia and Plovdiv upon request.
Boardman, J. 1999. The Greeks Overseas. Their Early Colonies and Trade (fourth edition). Thames & Hudson.
Bouzek, J. 2003. Studies of Greek Pottery in the Black Sea Area. Oxford.
Grammenos, D. V., Petropoloulos, E. K. 2003. Ancient Greek Colonies in the Black Sea. Vol. 1. Publications of the Archaeological institute of Northern Greece, Nr. 4.
Grant J., Sam Gorin and Neil Fleming. 2008. The Archaeology Coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. Routledge.
Renfrew, Colin and Paul Bahn. 2006. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. New York.
Sparkes, B. 1991. Greek Pottery. The Introduction. Manchester University Press.
Theodore Pena, J. 2007.Pottery in the Archaeological Record.Cambridge University Press.
Tsetskhladze, Gocha R. 2006, 2008. Greek Colonisation: v. 1, 2: An Account of Greek Colonies and Other Settlements Overseas. Brill.
Project venue: the picturesque, small Black Sea coastal town of Sozopol, Bulgaria is a popular summer destination for tourists.
The nearest air terminals: Burgas airport (45 km), Varna airport (160 km). don't forget to check the low-cost flight options! If participants arrive at one of these airports, a transfer to Sozopol may be arranged by request (please, specify this in your application form!). Individual or group transfer prices may vary, depending on the number of passengers, from 20 to 100 EUR. Ask for details!
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 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 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 rooms) is available for an additional fee of 180 to 270 EUR per week upon request at Villa Kera). 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 Bulgarian food) per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) in a local tavern. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Brown-bag lunches during the excursions and days off. All participants who prefer to organize and pay extra for their own food will receive a discount of 75 EUR (per week) off the admission fee.
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: Guided visits of Sozopol and Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) including their archaeological museums will be organized for all field school participants. Participants in session 3 and the two project sessions (1&2) will visit also the natural megalithic and archaeological site of Begliktash. Participants enrolled through the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans will visit Varna and Varna museum of Archaeology. The other students may joint the excursion for an additional fee.
During the summer Sozopol offers a lot of opportunities for sports and entertainment. Possible leisure activities during the siesta and days off in and around Sozopol are: swimming, sunbathing, beach sports including surfing, visiting local beaches and tourist (natural and heritage) sites, scuba diving, fishing, sailing & boating, attending cultural events, seeing movies in an outdoor cinema or just shopping.
Insurance: The admission fee does not cover insurance. It is necessary to arrange
your own insurance before your trip to
Weather: A southern European (subtropical) climate dominates in the region, making summers hot (30-40° C) but breezy. Rainy and chilly days in this season are rare but not excluded.
What to bring?
Excavation & documentation tools and materials, as well as working gloves are available at the site!
The admission fee is valid only for students who enroll in this field school through the Balkan Heritage Field School (BHFS). Students wishing to benefit from the advantages of the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans shall enroll through the Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA and pay different admission fees corresponding to the IFR's terms and conditions.
BHFS admission fee includes: Educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (hotel + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project handbook and issue of Certificate of Attendance, administrative costs and excursions included in the field school program plus relevant entrance fees.
The price in USD is approximate . Please check current exchange rates!
Super Early Bird Admission fee for two-week session is 1275 EUR* / approx.1424 USD - SAVE 224 EUR / 250 USD
Super Early Bird Admission fee for three-week session is 1911 EUR* / approx. 2135 USD - SAVE 337 EUR / 377 USD
Super Early Bird Admission fee for four-week session is 2549 EUR*/ approx. 2847 USD - SAVE 299 EUR / 334 USD
Early Bird Admission fee for two-week session is 1349 EUR* / approx.1507 USD - SAVE 150 EUR / 168 USD
Early Bird Admission fee for three-week session is 2024 EUR* / approx. 2260 USD - SAVE 224 EUR / 250 USD
Early Bird Admission fee for four-week session is 2699 EUR* / approx. 3014 USD - SAVE 149 EUR / 166 USD
The regular admission fee for two-week session is 1499 EUR* (approx.1674 USD).
The regular admission fee for three-week session is 2248 EUR* (approx. 2511 USD).
The regular admission fee for four-week session is 2848 EUR* (approx. 3181 USD). (Includes 5% discount for participation in 2 sessions).
* All participants who are willing to organize either their food or accommodation or both separately, outside the project package, will receive a discount of 75 EUR per weeks (for each) and 150 EUR per week (for both) off the regular admission fee! For instance, if Your admission fee for two-week session is 1259 EUR (the Early bird) and you prefer to organize and pay extra for your food and accommodation outside the project package, your admission fee will be reduced to 959 EUR (app. 1009 USD).
Admission Fee Transfer Options:
- Bank transfer
- Online transfers via the Balkan Heritage virtual POS Terminal VISA, MASTERCARD & MAESTRO cards are accepted.
For further information contact Admissions Office at [email protected]!
* 5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:
* 10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:
* 12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:
* 15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee is available in case of:
Note, 5% of every admission fee for this project directly supports the Balkan Heritage Protection Fund's activities!