Ancient Greeks in the Land of Dionysos - Excavation of Emporion Pistiros, Thrace

Period: Classical Greek and Hellenistic
Code: PIS.EXC 17
Session 1: 24 July - 7 August, 2017
Session 2: 7 - 21 August, 2017
Session 3: 24 July - 14 August, 2017
Session 4: 24 July - 21 August, 2017
Academic credits available: up to 9
Admission fee starting from: 1147 EUR (approx. 1285 USD)

The Project and the Course

General Information

 This project is included in the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans

Project type: field school & archaeological 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 is available to advanced students.    

The field school started: 2013

Site: Emporion Pistiros, between the small towns of Septemvri and Vetren, Southern Bulgaria.

Project venue: "Villa Terres" is a newly built tourist complex including a SPA hotel and a winery. It is located in the southern part of the village of Karabunar, 8 km from the motorway exit "Trakia" on the road to Velingrad. During the project work days all participants will be given a lift from the hotel to the site (that is located 14 km away) and back.   

Period(s) of occupation: Late Classical, Hellenistic (5th - 3rd  century BCE)     

Major field school topics/activities: Archaeological field techniques and methods for excavation and documentation; ancient Greek and Thracian archaeology in the light of their trade and religious interaction at the Site; RTI and photogrammetry in collaboration with University of Exeter, UK; documentation of Classical and Hellenistic finds, excursions to significant heritage sites in Thrace, Bulgaria.

BHF partners in this project: Septemvri Archaeological Museum "Prof. Mieczyslaw Domaradzki", Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA, Pistiros Excavation Team from the National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Pazardzhik Regional Museum of History, ,"Pistiros" Association and New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria). 

Dig director: Ass. Prof. Alexey Gotsev (PhD in Archaeology), National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.   

Field school coordinator: Angela Pencheva, Balkan Heritage Program Manager; PhD student in Classical Archaeology at Humboldt University-Berlin, Germany.

Visiting professors: Dr Jacqueline Christmas and Dr Judith Bannerman - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, UK; Dr Lidia Domaradska - Sofia University: Ass. Prof. Tzvete Lazova - New Bulgarian University; Gavrail Lazov - Director of the Department “Archaeology” at the National Museum of History, Sofia.

Field school sessions available:     

  • Field school two week session 1: 24 July - 7 August, 2017
  • Field school two week session 2: 7 - 21 August, 2017
  • Field school three week session: 24 July - 14 August, 2017 
  • Field school four week session: 24 July- 21 August, 2017

Application deadlines: until the places are filled or 1st of July, 2017

Minimum length of stay for participants: two weeks

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

Number of field school places available: Maximum 18

Project language: English   

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 12 semester credit units (equivalent to 18 quarter units) through IFR’s academic partner: the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension. See more details below!

Experience required: None

Special requirements:  Participation in 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 25-38 C or higher. All participants should bring clothes and cosmetics suitable for hot and sunny weather but should also prepare for possible rainy, windy and chilly days. Participants are also 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 wide ranging experience with classical antiquity, please see also the ANCIENT GREEK PACK and the ANCIENT GREEK AND ROMAN PACK (each combining two different Balkan Heritage Field School projects)!   


The Site and the Excavation Project   

The ruins of an ancient Greek trade center (emporion) in the heart of Thrace – on the left bank of Maritsa River (ancient Hebros), between the towns of Vetren and Septemvri, were discovered by Prof. M. Domaradzki in 1988. He started regular excavations and in 1990 his team found a stone inscription (known as "Vetren inscription") that helped the scholars to identify the site as the Ancient Greek emporion named Pistiros. Merchants from Greek coastal cities of Maroneia, Thassos and Apollonia lived and traded there with their Thracian neighbors under the supreme protection of the Thracian Odrysian kings (the biggest and mightiest Thracian Kingdom at that time). 

The emporion was also a major metallurgical center and a key harbor for export of metals and metal products from Thrace to Greece in the Classical and Early Hellenistic periods (from the middle of the 5-th to the beginning of the 3-rd century BCE). The trade contacts of the emporion are evident through finds of numerous imports such as Attic red-figured and black-slip pottery, amphorae (mainly Thassian) and coins (e.g. several hoards of cooper, silver and gold coins found during the excavations - they represent the coinage of different Odrysian kings (e.g. Amatokos I, Bergaios, Kotys I, Amatokos II, Teres II, Kersebleptes, Teres II), Greek cities (Thassos, Maroneia, Parion, Thracian Chersonese, Kypsela, Enos, Apollonia, Messabria etc.) and Macedonian rulers (Philip II, Alexander the Great, Kassandros, Demetrios Poliokretes, Lysimachos etc.).

Most of the ancient authors and the majority of the modern scholars consider the cult of Dionysos rooting in Thrace. It played a very important role in the emporion's religious life. For instance the Vetren inscription informs about the oath taken in the name of Dionysos by the Odrysian king: Kotys I (383-359 BCE) and his successor from the citizens of Pistiros - this how they guaranteed the integrity of their lives, properties and activities in their town under the sovereignty of the Thracian kings.  


Pistiros history in brief:   

  • around 500 BCE - Date of the earliest artifacts found on the territory of Pistiros.
  • 475 - 450 BCE - Date of the earliest Attic pottery found at the site - the foundation of Pistiros (like the foundation of the most Greek apoikias elsewhere) was probably preceded by various previous colonial economic and political activities. Greek economic and cultural penetration in the interior of Thrace was intensified after the Persian withdrawal from the Balkans following the battles of Marathon (490 BC) and Salamis (480 BC);
  • 450 - 425 BCE - Foundation of the emporion by colonists from the Aegean cities of Maronia, Thassos and Apollonia. Major structures and features of fortification and drainage system were constructed along with tracing and paving of the streets;
  • 370-s BCE - Period of significant reconstructions in the emporion during the reign of the Thracian Odrysian king Kotys I;
  • 359 - 357 BCE - Citizens of Pistiros re-contract their rights and obligations with the successor of Kotys I;
  • 350/345 BCE - The emporion suffered from the invasion of Philip II Macedon in Thrace;
  • 300 BCE - Devastation of Pistiros by the Celts;
  • 278 BCE - Massive invasion of the Celts in the Balkans: Ultimate devastation of the emporion. Afterwards the settlement lost its trading importance and turned into a metal production centre with local importance.   

In the course of time after 1988 the Pistiros Excavation Team lead by representatives of National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) was joined by the following institutions: 

  • National Museum of History, Sofia, Bulgaria;
  • Regional Museum of History, Pazardzhik, Bulgaria;
  • Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Bulgaria;
  • Archaeological Museum "Prof. M. Domaradzki", Septemvri, Bulgaria;
  • The Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic;
  • Liverpool University, Great Britain;
  • The French School at Athens, Greece;
  • The Balkan Heritage Foundation, Bulgaria.


So far archaeologists uncovered the Eastern fortification wall of the emporion (having one gate, several towers, and a bastion - all built of stone blocks analogically to the Thassian fortification system), streets paved by stone plates, solid stone foundations of buildings as well as an efficient drainage system. Despite the long period of study there are still many questions concerning Pistiros to be answered - for instance:

  • what is the dynamic of architectural evolution of the settlement following the disasters such as devastation, earthquakes, fires and floods;
  • which ancient cults were practiced in Pistiros;
  • what were the relations and the interactions between the different ethnic groups in Pistiros: Greeks, Thracians, Celts.

The Field School

The Balkan Heritage Fieldschool at the site of Pistiros has started in 2013. Until the moment the students have worked in the South-Eastern sector which is an area next to the fortification wall. Based on the high concentration of artifacts and features, like pits, and clay escharae (fire places), the archaeologists suggest that the area was covered with simple houses, presumably dated in the very first period of the existence of the site (5th BCE). A huge amount of local and imported pottery, cult figurines, Greek and Thracian coins, weapon etc. were among the discovered artifacts in the last four years. 

The participants in 2017 in Ancient Greeks in the Land of Dionysos - Excavation of Emporion Pistiros are going to be included in the further excavation one of the same sector. 

The project sessions available in 2017 include the following three modules:    

  1. fieldwork including excavation, maintaining a field journal on a daily basis, filling context sheets and labels, drawing an elevation plan / a ground plan/ a cross-section, 3D positioning of finds, taking coordinates with a level device, and taking photographs at the site;    
  2. lectures, workshops and field training in Classical and Field Archaeology, finds' processing and documentation;    
  3. excursions to various cultural and archaeological sites in the region such as the ancient town of of Plovdiv (Please refer to the Course Program and Agenda below!).


The participants who join either the three-week and four-week project sessions will be able to develop further their skills and competences regarding the field work and finds processing, gained during the first two-week session and to attend a number of extra lectures, workshops and an excursion to some of the most remarkable Thracian royal tombs in the Rose valley in and around Kazanlak and Starosel, Bulgaria (Please refer to the Course Program and Agenda below!) and a guided tour to Sofia.


The participants who join four week project session will be able to attend the Workshops on Advanced Digital Imaging for Archaeological Recording alongside the excavation (it is optional and covered by the admission fee), taught by Dr. Jacqueline Christmas and Dr. Judith Bannerman - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, UK;. Students will continue excavating in the morning session but will have the option of additional training in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Photogrammetry of epigraphy monuments and objects found in Pistiros, in the afternoon.


Students who should prepare field reports and presentations for their universities can receive additional instruction and assistance.

All participants will receive:

  • Project handbook (in PDF version by e-mail and a hard copy upon arrival);
  • Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate specifying the fieldwork hours, educational modules, and sites visited;   
  • T-shirt.



The Team   

Instructors, Trainers and Area Supervisors:

  • Angela Pencheva (

    PhD Candidate in Classical Archaeology, Humboldt University, Germany); Adjunct Professor, CPCE, New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria;   

  • Petja Ilieva (PhD in Archaeology, Sofia University, Bulgaria; MA in Ancient Greek Philology, Aristotle University Thessaloniki, Greece. Assistant Professor at Centre of Thracology and Institute for Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.);   

  • Viara Petrova (PhD Student in Classical Archaeology at BAS), Curator at the Archaeological Museum "Prof. M. Domaradski", Septemvri, Bulgaria; PhD Student in Archaeology at Sofia University "Kliment Ohridski", Bulgaria;    
  • Gavrail Lazov (MA in Archaeology), Archaeologist and Museologist; Director of Department Archaeology in the National Museum of History, Sofia, Bulgaria, Visiting professor at the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria;
  • Valentina Taneva (MA in Archaeology), Archaeologist and Numismatist; Director of "Prof. Mieczyslaw Domaradzki" Archaeological Museum in Septemvri;
  • Lidia Domaradzka (PhD in Classical Philology), Visiting professor at Sofia University "Kliment Ohridski" and National School for Ancient Languages and Cultures "Constantine-Cyril Philosopher", Sofia, Bulgaria; President of the "Pistiros" Association;   
  • Emilia Ivanova (MA in Art Conservation), Conservator of Coins and Metal Artifacts, National Military History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria; Visiting professor at at the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Program

          Two-week field school sessions provide a minimum of 85 hours of fieldwork and training, workshops, lectures and guided tours as follows:   

          Field Work   

          • Practicing basic excavation techniques;
          • Use of Tools and Working Techniques;
          • Creating of field documentation - field journal, context sheets and labels, ground plans and cross-sections, photographs, etc;
          • Identifying and sorting of archaeological finds;           



          • Archaeological Documentation of Pottery (drawing, graphic reconstruction, photographing, description, etc.);    
          • Cleaning of pottery.


          • Introduction to the History of Ancient Thrace in the First Millenium BC;
          • Emporion Pistiros: History and Archaeology;
          • Epigraphic Monuments and Artifacts from in Pistiros;
          • Typology of Pottery from Pistiros in the Late Classical and Hellenistic Period;   
          • Circulation of Ancient Coins in Pistiros;       
          •  Urbanization of Ancient Thrace; 
          • History and Archaeology of Plovdiv;  
          • Stratigraphy and Chronology;
          • Dating Artifacts and Materials;
          • Three Dimensional Positioning of Finds, Features and Structures;   
          • Basic Field Methods and Practices for Excavation and Documentation;
          • Introduction to the Field Journal, Contextual Sheets, Log Book and Other Forms
          • Excavations Preparation. Preliminary Indoor Research;
          • Excavation Completion. Post Excavation Work and Analyses;      
          • From the Field to Storage: Review of Basic Methods for Uncovering, "First Aid", Consolidation in Situ, Cleaning, Sorting, Labeling, Documenting and Storing Ceramic Artifacts;      

          Guided Tours

          • Tour of the ancient town of Plovdiv (the Ancient City of Philippopolis) including the Archaeological Museum, Old Town Quarter and major Roman monuments.

The three-week session provides a minimum of 120 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;    

Lectures & Workshops on:   

  • Technical Photography;
  • Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI): capture and processing;
  • Photogrammetry: capture and processing   
  • Burial Customs and Sepulchral Architecture in Thrace (5th - 3rd century BCE);
  • Guided tour to Thracian royal Tombs in the Rose valley in and around Kazanlak (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Starosel.      

The four-week session provides a minimum of 170 hours of fieldwork and training, workshops, lectures and guided tours incorporating all three-week session's ones plus the following:   

Lectures & Workshops:   

  • Classical and Hellenistic Toreutic from Thrace;   
  • Pottery Conservation;   
  • Guided tour to the Bulgarian capital - Sofia.

Students participating in the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans will be able to join the excursion to Northwestern Thrace for free. The excursion is available for the other students for an additional fee.

Students who should prepare field reports and presentations for their universities can receive additional instruction and assistance.

  • Fieldwork - expect to perform all types of fieldwork at the site, from digging,and brushing to mapping and sampling as well as finds processing along with lab work.
  • Lectures will take place at Villa Terres or Septemvri Archaeological Museum.
  • Workshops will take place at the site, villa Terres or Septemvri Archaeological Museum.
  • Field instructions and training - will take place at the site.

The Agenda


First day

Arrival dates:    

  • Two-week Session 1/ Four week session: 24 July, 2017   
  • Two-week Session 2: 7 August, 2017

Arrival and check-in at villa Terres, Karabunar, Pazardzhik district, Bulgaria by 7.00 pm   

8.00 pm - 9.30 pm - Traditional Bulgarian Welcome Dinner.


A pick-up may be arranged either from the Sofia or Plovdiv airports upon request.   

Meeting time/point on arrival date: 8.00 pm, villa Terres, Karabunar

Second day

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

Afternoon: Lectures and the site seeing of Pistiros.


Working days

6.30 am - 7.00 am - Breakfast

7.10 am - 7.25 am - Travel to the site

7.30 am - 10.00 am - Fieldwork*

10.00 am - 10.15 am - Break

10.15 am - 12.30 pm - Fieldwork*

12.30 pm - 1.30 pm - Finds processing

1.30 pm - 5.00 pm - Lunch and Siesta break

5.00 pm - 6.30 pm - Lectures/Workshops/Finds processing **

8.00 pm - 9.00 pm - Dinner


*In rare cases of rain, the field school program provides substitute activities including finds processing workshops and film projections at villa Terres.


**Lectures and workshops in the area of Classical and Field Archaeology, focused on Ancient Greek and Thracian culture in Pistiros and advanced digital imaging and surveying for archaeological and architectural recording.

Excursion Schedule

The following excursions are included in the field school program and covered by the admission fee:   

30 July (Sunday): Visit to the ancient town of Plovdiv – European capital of Culture 2019        

5 August (Sunday): 1-day excursion to North-western Thrace (Bulgaria): Koprivshtitsa (a historical town and architectural reservation keeping the traditional look of Bulgarian towns in the 18th and 19th century);Recently discovered Thracian sites (castles and shrines) in Sredna Gora Mountains.Panagyurishte (including the History Museum with the famous golden treasure of Panagyurishte).

12 August (Saturday): 1-day excursion to the Thracian royal tombs in the Rose valley in and around Kazanlak (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Starosel   

18 August (Sunday): 1- day guided visit to the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Participants who attend the four-week project sessions or the three-week one will join all the tours.

Days off

6, 13 August

Last day

Departure dates:    

  • Two-week Session 1: 7 August, 2017  
  • Three- week Session: 14 August 2017
  • Two-week Session 2, Four week session: 21 August 2017 


Departure day. Check-out by 12.30 am.


A drop-off may be arranged to the airports in Sofia and Plovdiv upon request.

Villa Terres provides SPA center with sauna, steam bath and swimming pool for free to all field school participants as well as ATVs and bikes to hire. The BHFS team can assist with the organization of additional leisure activities for participants upon request such as hiking, wine-tasting outside the Villa, movies etc.

Reading Background   

Archibald, Z. H. The Odryssian Kingdom of Thrace: Orpheus Unmasked (Oxford, 1998)

Bouzek. J. - The outline of the chronology of Pistiros. – Studia Hercynia XVII/1, Pistiros V supplementum, Pragae, 2013, 5-7.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L. (eds.). The Culture of Thracians and their Neigh­bours. Proceedings of the International Symposium in Memory of Prof. Miec­zysław Domaradzki, with a Round Ta­ble ‘Archaeological map of Bulgaria’. BAR International Series 1350. Oxford, 2005.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzki, M.†, Doma­radzka, L., Taneva, V. Fortification and ur­ban planning of the Emporion Pistiros (Adžijska Vodenica). – Archeologia (Warszawa) LII 2001, Warszawa 2002, 7 – 18.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L., Gotzev, A., Ivanova E., Katincharova, D., Kolaro­va, V., Lazov, G., Taneva, V., Youroukova, Y. Pistiros and the Celts. (In:) Proceedings of the 3rd International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities. Eirene 42, Prague 2006, 124 – 129

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L. The Empo­rion Pistiros near Vetren between great­er Powers, 450 – 278 B.C. (In:) Thrace in the Graeco-Roman World, Athens 2008, 86 – 94.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L. Pistiros and the North Aegean Greek Cities. Ancient Macedonia. Proceedings of the 7th Inter­national Symposion on Ancient Mace­donia. Thessaloniki 2007, 2009, 745 – 758.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L. Pistiros. Facts and Opinions. Eirene XLV/2009, Prague 2009, 147 – 154.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L. Pistiros and Inland Emporia in the Balkans: Greeks, Thracians, and their Neighbours. – Eirene XLVI/2010/I – II, Prague 2010, 157 – 160.

Bouzek, J., Domaradzka, L. Greeks in Inner Thrace. Eirene XLVII/2011/I – II, Prague 2012, 45 – 60.   

Grant J., S. Gorin and N. Fleming.The Archaeology Coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. Routledge. 2008.

Taneva, V. The Potter’s Kiln Found at Pistiros. Eirene XLVII/2011/I – II, Prague 2012, 25 – 28.   

Valeva, J., Nankov, E., Graninger D. (ed.) A Companion to Ancient Thrace, Wiley Blackwell, 2015   

Travel & Accommodation & Practicalities


Project venue: Villa Terres is located in the village of Karabunar, 84 km/52 mi away from the Bulgarian capital Sofia and just 8 km/5 mi away from "Trakia" motorway exit to Velingrad. The distance from the villa to the site is app. 15 km/9,5 mi, and it takes app. 15/20 min drive. Daily BHFS shuttle service is arranged for the participants to bring them to the site and back. The site has running water, electricity and a squat toilet.

The nearest air terminals: Sofia (Bulgaria, 84 km/ 52 mi away) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria, 50 km/ 34 mi away) - don't forget to check the low-cost flight options! If participants arrival at one of these airports, a transfer to Villa Terres in Karabunar 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 25 to 100 EUR. Ask for details!

How to get there?: Participants who arrange individually their travel will be expected to arrive at Villa Terres on the arrival day by 7.30 pm. It may be reached by bus from Septemvri (15 - 20 min) and Sofia (app. 1 ½ hrs). A detailed travel-info sheet will be provided to enrolled students.  

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 & Meals

Accommodation: Villa Terres Hotel, Karabunar, Bulgaria - in comfortable rooms with two to three beds (bathrooms with shower and WC), equipped with air-conditioning and TV in a local newly built hotel. The hotel has a small swimming pool and SPA, free of charge for the participants in the field school. There are cheap laundry services and free Wi-Fi provided. Extra night - 30 EUR (per night per person), Single room - 200 EUR (for two-week period).   

See all accommodation options on our Information page!


Meals: Three meals (fresh, organic Bulgarian homemade food) per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) in the hotel’s restaurant. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Brown-bag lunches during the excursions and days off.

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 visits to the Archaeological Museum, Roman monuments and the Old Town Quarter of Plovdiv will be organized for the field school participants in sessions 1, 3, and 1&2. Participants in session 3 and the two project sessions (1&2) will visit also Thracian royal tombs in the Rose valley in and around Kazanlak (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Starosel, as well as the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The above mentioned trips are covered by the admission fee. Possible leisure activities during the siesta and days off in and around Karabunar are: swimming in/sunbathing around a pool with mineral water, hiking in the Rhodopi Mountains, wine-tasting at one of many local wineries, visiting local tourist sites, traveling by the narrow gauge train to Velingrad (popular and larger spa and wellness town) or doing shopping and sightseeing in the neighboring cities of Pazardzhik and Plovdiv.   


Extra trips and excursions: The BHFS participants could take advantage of their stay in the Balkans and take part in the optional excursions to:

Please follow the links above for excursion details and information on how to join!


Technicalities & Practicalities

Insurance: The admission fee does not cover insurance. It is mandatory to arrange your own health 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: South-European climate dominates in the field school area, making summers hot (30-40° C). Rainy and chilly days in this season are rare but not excluded.


What to bring?

  • A pair of working shoes (sneakers, running shoes) and a pair of comfortable shoes for walking/hiking;
  • Clothing suitable for an outdoor working environment: sun-hat and light clothes with long sleeves and legs (protecting from the sun and insects), including a light raincoat (consider weather conditions - hot and sunny, but rain may fall as well);
  • Medication - only prescription medicines you may need. It is not necessary to bring non-prescription medicine from your country since you can buy all basic non-prescription drugs in Bulgaria.
  • Don’t forget to bring a converter to EU type electricity wall-plug if needed.
  • A good attitude for work, fun, study and discoveries ;)

Excavation & documentation tools and materials, as well as working gloves are available at the site!

The Admission Fee   



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.

The BHF 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 fees in USD are approximate. Please check current exchange rates! 


Super Early Bird Special - by November 30, 2016:

Super Early Bird Admission fee for two week project session is 1147 EUR / approx.1285 USD -  SAVE 202 EUR / 226 USD

Super Early Bird Admission fee for three week project session is 1742 EUR / approx. 1951 USD  -  SAVE 307 EUR / 344 USD

Super Early Bird Admission fee for four week project session is 2293 EUR/ approx. 2568 USD  -  SAVE 270 EUR / 303 USD


Early Bird Special - from November 30, 2016 until January 31, 2017:

Early Bird Admission fee for two week project session is 1214 EUR / approx.1360 USD -  SAVE 135 EUR / 151 USD

Early Bird Admission fee for three week project session is 1844 EUR / approx. 2065 USD   -  SAVE 205 EUR / 230 USD

Early Bird Admission fee for four week project session is 2428 EUR / approx. 2720 USD  -  SAVE 135 EUR / 151 USD


Regular admission fee - after January 31, 2017:

The regular admission fee for two week project session is 1349 EUR / approx.1511 USD.

The regular admission fee for three week project session is 2049 EUR /approx. 2295 USD

The regular admission fee for four week project session is 2563 EUR / approx. 2871 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]!

   Discounts off the regular admission fee:


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

  1. Participation in more than 1 BHFS projects in 2017. (5% discount is valid for all project 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 BHFS project in 2017). 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 in 2016). 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 2017. (15% discount is valid only for the second, third etc. project to be attended).
  3. BHFS alumni, who participated successfully in a three or four-week session of the same project in the past.

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   



  • Students who study in Europe (EU, EEA, CH, Russian Federation and countries from the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus): New Bulgarian University grants 6 ECTS credits to students for attending two and three-week sessions and 9 ECTS credits for attending the four-week session. 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.
  • Students who study outside Europe wishing to obtain academic credits for attending the four-week session of this field school project shall apply to the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans and enroll through the Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA. They will be awarded 12 semester credit units (equivalent to 18 quarter units) through our academic partner University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and will receive a letter grade. The tuition fee is included in the IFR admission fee.




Ancient Greeks in the Land of Dionysos - Excavation of Emporion Pistiros, Thrace

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