This listing expired on March 13, 2015. Please contact for any updated information.
BHFS Rise and Fall of the First European Civilization - Tell Yunatsite Excavations 2015 + OPTIONAL TOUR OF ISTANBUL AND TROY (TURKEY)

Location: Pazardzhik, Bulgaria, Bulgaria

July 12, 2015 to August 9, 2015

Session dates: 
Session 1: 12 July – 26 July 2015 Session 2: 26 July – 9 August 2015

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Flyer: PDF icon bh_f_2015_brochure.pdf

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

Program Type

Field school



The Balkan Heritage Foundation, Tell Yunatsite Exacavation Team: National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Pazardzhik Regional Museum of History, New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria).

Project Director:

Ass. Prof. Yavor Boyadzhiev, PhD in Archaeology, National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Project Description

In the very beginning of the fifth millennium BC prehistoric population in Central and Eastern Balkans turned known metal-processing technologies into an industry for the first time in human history. Archaeological evidence shows that in the fifth millennium BC Balkan prehistoric cultures enjoyed a constant raise of population and wealth meanwhile experiencing social stratification due the intensive trade with metal products, salt and other goods with the rest of prehistoric Europe and Asia. These Balkan Copper Age cultures had all characteristics of the first civilizations including the very first urban settlements in Europe (Tell Yunatsite is one of them) and pictograms and characters interpreted by some scholars as the World’s oldest script etc. During the small-scale excavations of the trench from 2012 to 2014 the BHFS archaeologists and students found numerous artifacts such as weapons, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, Spondylus jewels, decorated fineware pottery, shards marked by characters/pictograms). All of them belong to the three earliest tell building levels excavated so far. The site provides an amazing opportunity for all field school participants to dig at a real tell to study textbook clear stratigraphy, to practice all basic excavation techniques in the field and to look through centuries of the everyday life of the Copper age inhabitants of Tell Yunatsite.

The BHFS participants could take advantage of their stay in the Balkans and take part in the optional excursions to worth seeing historical sites and towns in North-western Thrace (Bulgaria)during the  field school and Istanbul and Troy (Turkey) on 9-13 August, 2015. 


Period(s) of Occupation: Chalcolithic (or Copper age, 4900 - 4100 BC) - IN THE PROJECT'S FOCUS, Early Bronze Age (3100-2200 BC), Iron Age, Antiquity and Middle Ages.

Field school and excavation of the Copper age (Chacolithic) layers in Tell Yunatsite (4900-4100 BC) – one of the Europe’s earliest urban centers. The field school provides an amazing opportunity to all participants to study textbook clear stratigraphy, to practice all basic excavation techniques in the field and to look through centuries of the everyday life of prehistoric “citizens”. Up to 9 credit hours available.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

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

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 

Room and Board Arrangements

Accommodation is in a Pazardzhik downtown hotel (rooms with two to three beds, bathrooms with shower and WC, TV, air-conditioning and Wi-Fi). Three meals per day are covered by the admission fee. Participants are not expected to bring any additional equipment, bedclothes or towels. Three meals (fresh, organic Bulgarian homemade food) per day are covered by the admission fee. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Single rooms are available upon request for an additional fee.

Please check the website for available discounts! 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.

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
7 Tulovo St., Floor 5, Apt.7
+ 359 877 725 052
Recommended Bibliography: 

Balabina, V., T. Mishina - Considering the Destruction of the Latest Eneolithic Village at Tell Yunatsite –In:Boyadzhiev, Y., S. Terzijska-Ignatova (eds.) - The Golden Fifth Millennium. Thrace and Its Neighbour Areas in the Chalcolithic, Sofia 2011, 39-47.

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

Harris, E. Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. London & New York: Academic Press, 1989 Available in Internet -

McIntosh, J. Handbook to Life in Prehistoric Europe. New York, 2006

Merpert N. J. Bulgaro-russian Archeological Innvestigations in the Balkans. Ancient Civilisations from Scythia to Siberia – In: International Journal of Comparative Studies in History and Archeology, Vol. 2, N 3, Leiden 1995, 364-383.

Merpert N. J. - The problem of transition from the North Balkan Aeneolithic to the Early Bronze Age in the Upper Thracian valley – In: Europa Indo-Europea, Roma 1994, 41-50.

Телль Юнаците. Эпоха бронзы, Том ІІ. Часть первая. (Москва, 2007) (a summary in English is available after each chapter).

Todorova N., Mazanova V. Late Chalcolithic Ceramic Style at Yunatsite Tell (Approach to the Systematization of the Ceramics from the Newly Excavated Levels) – In: Nikolova L. (ed.) - Technology, Style and Society. BAR International Series 854, Oxford 2000, 331-361.

Zäuner, S. The Dark Side of the Chalcolithic. Evidence for Warfare at Tell Yunatsite? An anthropological approach – Boyadzhiev, Y., S. Terzijska-Ignatova (eds.) - The Golden Fifth Millennium. Thrace and Its Neighbour Areas in the Chalcolithic, Sofia 2011, 49-56.