National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Kroum Batchvarov

Affiliation: University of Connecticut at Avery Point

Kroum Batchvarov is Associate Professor of Maritime Archaeology at the University of Connecticut, and holds his degrees from Park College and Texas A&M University (MA and PhD).  He has a number of ongoing projects, including the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (as Co-Principal Investigator), the Rockley Bay Research Project in Tobago (as Project Director and Principal Investigator), and the Vasa project (analysis of construction and documentation of a 17th century Dutch-built man-of-war); he also served as Co-Principal Investigator for the Ropotamo inundated Chalcolithic settlement excavation (part of teh Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project).  His publications include Domestic Economy aboard a Black Sea merchantman (in press), and A Method for Documenting Hidden Structures on Shipwrecks (in review).  Professor Batchvarov is the AIA’s McCann/Taggart Lecturer for 2019/2020.


Since 2015 The Black Sea MAP, one of the largest maritime archaeological projects ever staged, has been investigating the changes in the ancient environment of the Black Sea region including the impact of sea level change during the last glacial cycle and interconnectivity through the millennia.

In the course of the Black Sea MAP’s surveys, more than sixty wrecks have been discovered and recorded with the latest robotic laser scanning, acoustic and photogrammetric techniques. The earliest wreck found so far is from the Classical period from around the 5th – 4th century BC. However, ships have also been found from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods spanning two and a half millennia.

They represent an unbroken pattern of trade and exchange, warfare and communication that reaches back into deep antiquity, and because of the anoxic conditions of the Black Sea, some of the wrecks survive in incredible condition. Ships lie hundreds or thousands of metres deep with their masts still standing, rudders in place, cargoes of amphorae and ship’s fittings lying on deck, with carvings and tool marks as distinct as the day they were made by the shipwrights. Many of the ships show structural features, fittings and equipment that are only known from iconography or written description but never seen until now.

This assemblage must comprise one of the finest underwater museums of ships and seafaring in the world.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

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