Bulgaria: Nessebar Underwater Archaeology (IFR)

Location: Nessebar, Bulgaria

Session Dates: May 25-June 15, 2024

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Institute for Field Research (IFR), Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF)

Project Director:
Dr. Nayden Prahov

Project Description:

The Bulgarian Underwater Archaeology field school provides a comprehensive training in underwater archaeological methods through participation in an ongoing research project: discovering the submerged heritage of ancient Mesambria, present-day Nessebar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today, significant parts of the ancient town are below sea level. Remains of fortification walls, towers, staircases, gates and other structures from Classical and Hellenistic period, Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages were traced in various sectors around the peninsula. The dynamic coastal landscape of the town makes it an ideal location to experience multiple aspects of maritime archaeology. Students will be trained  in various underwater archaeology and interdisciplinary practices: underwater reconnaissance survey, archaeological excavations, underwater photography, photogrammetry and 3D modeling, mapping and recording of submerged archaeological structures and monuments, marine geophysical survey, creating a GIS database, etc. Our research aims to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of the fortification system of Mesambria and its harbors, the changes to the coastal landscape and the fluctuation of the Black Sea level in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and the societal reactions and adaptations to these changes. This program aims to broaden the knowledge and refine the skills of participating students, and thus enhance their career in Maritime Archaeology.

Period(s) of Occupation: Antiquity, Middle Ages

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Students are expected to stay the full length of the program.

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: This program requires participants to have Open Water Diver Certification (any world-wide recognized training organization) and DAN diving insurance

Room and Board Arrangements:
Students will stay at the family hotel Emona Guest house in the Old Town Quarter of Nessebar. Rooms will have 2 or 3 beds with bathrooms with, TV, and air-conditioning. Cheap laundry service and free Wi-Fi is available. The distance from the hotel to the sites and the beach is approx. 200 / 400 m and it takes approx. 2 / 5 min to walk. Diving gear will be transported by a car. Meals. Breakfasts on workdays as well as the welcome and the farewell dinners are covered by the tuition fee. Students are responsible for their daily lunch and dinners and all meals on days off. Nessebar offers a variety of restaurants that can meet everyone’s preferences and dietary requirements – from fast food options to cozy gourmet restaurants. The average meal price (soup/salad, main dish and dessert) can cost between $10-$20. The project team will recommend restaurants for different preferences (cuisine, cost, dietary needs) and will arrange discounts for the students.

Academic Credit:
6 semester (9 quarter)

Contact Information:

Institute for Field Research

1855 Industrial Street, Unit 106

Los Angeles



United States

Phone: 4242091173

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