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Ancient Greeks in the Land of Dionysos - Excavation of Emporion Pistiros, Thrace, 2014

Location: Varvara, Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

August 2, 2014 to August 23, 2014

Session dates: 
Field School Session 1: 2 August - 16 August, 2014; Session 2: 17 August- 31 August, 2014; Session 3 (Session 1 Extended): 2 August - 23 August, 2014.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, July 20, 2014

Flyer: bhfs_brochure_season_2014.pdf

Discount for AIA members: 
5% discount off the regular admission fee

Program Type

Field school


The Balkan Heritage Foundation, Pistiros Excavation Team: National Archaeological Institute with Museum at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Regional Museum of History, Pazardzhik, “Prof. Mieczyslaw Domaradzki” Archaeological Museum in Septemvri and New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria); “Pistiros” Association; University of Liverpool (England); Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic).

Project Director:

Ass. Prof. Alexey Gotsev, PhD in Archaeology, Department of Thracian Archaeology, National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Director of Pistiros Excavation Team. Prof. Jan Bouzek, PhD in Archaeology, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Dig Director of the Czech Excavation Team at the emporion Pistiros; Ass. Prof. Zofia H. Archibald, PhD in Archaeology; University of Liverpool – Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology Department, Great Britain; Dig Director of the British Excavation Team at the emporion Pistiros.

Project Description

Excavation of the Ancient Greek emporion Pistiros, once located deep in the Thracian Odryssian Kingdom (the strongest and mightiest of all Thracian kingdoms) is to reveal more secrets about the trade, metallurgy, every-day and religious life, especially the cult of Dionysus (which most of the ancient authors and the majority of the modern scholars consider rooting in Thrace) in Ancient Greece and Thrace in Classical and Hellenistic periods. The project provides to students, young specialists and generally people who have Archaeology as a hobby amazing opportunities to dig at Pistiros, Bulgaria and gain hands-on experience in Field Archaeology;  learn more about the Ancient Greek and Thracian culture from prominent Bulgarian, UK and Czech archaeologists; visit Thracian Royal tombs in the Rose Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and ancient Plovdiv, Bulgaria as well many other archaeological and historical sites in the area; and take a trip to Istanbul, Turkey. 

The project sessions available in 2014 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 trainings in Classical and Field Archaeology, finds' processing and documentation; excursions to various cultural and archaeological sites in the region such as the ancient town of Plovdiv.

The participants who join either the three-week session (3) or the two project sessions (1&2) 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.

All participants will receive:

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


Period(s) of Occupation: Classical, Hellenistic (5th – 2nd century B.C.).

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 session (two weeks)

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

In comfortable rooms with two to three beds (bathrooms with shower and WC), equipped with air-conditioning and TV in a local guest house located very close to Varvara Mineral Baths. The guest house has a small swimming pool with mineral water and provides cheap laundry service and free Wi-Fi. 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 guest-house tavern. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Staying an extra day at the guest house costs €27. Single rooms in the guest-house are limited but available upon request for the supplement of €200 (for two-week period).

The regular admission fee is €1,299/ €1,949 / €2,468 EUR (app.$1719 / $2619 / $3319) for participation in one / extended / or two project sessions.

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
New Bulgarian University
Number of credits offered 6/9 credit hours
starting from 345 EUR


Contact Information
Ms. Anna Parmakova
204 Sveta Troitsa St.
Stara Zagora
+ 359 877 725 052
Recommended Bibliography: 

Pistiros I: – Pistiros I. Excavations and Studies, J. Bouzek, M. Domaradzki and Z. Archibald (eds.) Prague 1996.

Pistiros II: Pistiros II. Excavations and Studies, J. Bouzek, L. Domaradzka and Z. Archibald (eds.), Prague 2002.

Pistiros III: Pistiros III. Excavations and Studies, J. Bouzek, L. Domaradzka and Z. Archibald (eds.), Prague 2007.

Pistiros IV: Pistiros IV. Excavations and Studies. J. Bouzek, L. Domaradzka and Z. Archibald (eds.). Prague, 2010.

Addenda to Pistiros II, Studia Hercynia VII, Prague 2004.

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

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

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

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

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

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