Balkan Heritage Field School

Introduction
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The Balkan Heritage Field SchoolBalkan Heritage Field School (BHFS, started in 2003) is a program of the Balkan Heritage Foundation (Bulgarian public, non-profit, non-governmental organization) for practical education in the field of archeology, history and art history of South-Eastern Europe, as well as documentation, conservation and restoration of historic artifacts and monuments, taught in English, currently in three Balkan countries: Bulgaria, Montenegro and Republic of Macedonia. The Program has involved a number of academic and research institutions, museums and heritage specialists from Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, USA, Canada, Germany and Japan.

Three universities award academic credits to students who participate in the BHFS projects: New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria; Queen's University, Canada and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension, through Institute for Field Research, USA. Participants who are not interested in academic credits are not expected neither to pay any tuition fee nor to take part in any activities related to academic curriculum (exams, academic reports etc.).

Since 2003 the BHFS has implemented 85 field school projects/courses (with durations ranging from 1 to 8 weeks) attended by more than 1500 students from 55 countries.

Our Mission

The BHFS is not only a school but also a platform for social solidarity in benefit of cultural heritage. Based on this, our students, heritage specialists, institutions and local communities interact and help each other to achieve positive outcomes for all involved and for the cultural heritage of South Eastern Europe.

What are the benefits for everyone?

  • BHFS students – Education & Experience & Opportunity to work with professionals in a real ongoing cultural heritage project & New friends and contacts.
  • Heritage specialists (archaeologists, conservators etc.) and institutions (museums, institutes) involved with the BHFS – Additional Funding & Support for their work to study and preserve cultural heritage sites/monuments/artifacts.
  • Local communities, where the BHFS projects/courses take place – New incomes & New jobs & New perspective and view over the local heritage & Increased promotion of the local tourist potential & Intercultural experience for locals.

Considering this, we are always happy to inform each participant in any of our projects that joining the BHFS s/he becomes not only a student, but also:

  • a Volunteer in either a scientific research or a conservation-restoration project;
  • a Sponsor of the local economic growth;
  • a Benefactor to the local cultural heritage.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

View Summer courses »

Programs

This school also offers:

Summer courses

Summer Archaeology Course in Bulgaria

Campus Full time 2 - 4 weeks October 2017 Bulgaria Sofia

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 September temperatures in the area are 25-30⁰ C or higher. All participants should bring clothes and cosmetics suitable for hot and sunny weathervbut should also prepare for possible rainy, windy and chilly days. [+]

Via Diagonalis (Via Militaris) became the most important road through the Balkan Peninsula in Roman times when it connected the city of Singidunum (today’s Belgrade, Serbia) on the Danube River with Byzantium (Istanbul) – the city which would later become the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The road is ca. 1000 km (600 miles) long and passes through large important Roman cities like Naissus, Serdica, Philippopolis and Hadrianopolis. It is the fundamental connection between the western part of the Empire and the East. It was also the official route for armies moving throughout the provinces. Mansio Lissae, later renamed Bona Mansio (Lat. Good Station) is one of the few archaeologically identified Roman road stations on the route of Via Diagonalis. The initial name of the site derives from the nearby Thracian settlement of Lissa. Mansio Lissae was a fortified structure, one of many, intended to safeguard the main road. It is situated in the Thracian Valley, between the Roman cities of Serdica (modern Sofia) and Philippopolis (modern Plovdiv). The station is in the form of an irregular tetragon, surrounded by thick walls with corner towers. The ruins of the fortification are still visible high above ground. During the Ottoman period it was reused and renamed “Assar”- which in Turkish means “Fortress”. The very first investiagtions of the site were limited sounding trenches dug in 2002 within a Bulgarian-French archaeological campaign which sought to research the ancient legacy of the region. The trenches have revealed a thick cultural layer of... [-]

Summer Expedition to Communist Monuments of Bulgaria

Campus Full time 2 weeks June 2017 Bulgaria Sofia

The end of Second World War (1939-1945) marks a turning point in the history of East Europe. The Iron curtain and the Cold War divides Europe in two parts. The new socialist, pro-Soviet regimes to the East put the region in isolation from political and economic consensus of Western Europe – the so called Eastern Bloc is created. [+]

The end of Second World War (1939-1945) marks a turning point in the history of East Europe. The Iron curtain and the Cold War divides Europe in two parts. The new socialist, pro-Soviet regimes to the East put the region in isolation from political and economic consensus of Western Europe – the so called Eastern Bloc is created. The ideology of communism is imposed in all spheres of public life and it lasts almost half a century. As in all any other eras, culture and art are a mirror of social processes and for 45 years in East Europe they remain highly subordinate to the communist ideology and controlled by the ruling Communist parties. Today the most visible and intriguing evidences of this period are the giant monuments and monumental complexes built to last along with the Communist states. After the collapse of the socialist regimes in East Europe many of these monuments lost their meaning but still deserve attention for their monumental aesthetics and artistic value. Being abandoned and left with no or poor maintenance they slightly crumble down and disappear from the public memory while the ongoing debate about their destiny in East European countries has not finished yet. During the Cold War Bulgarian art culture exists on the curious border of overlapping multiple centres. Between East and West, local and global, Bulgarian art and architecture create their most successful projects in the period as domestic interpretations of the global trends at the time. As a result one... [-]

Summer Underwater Archaeology in the Black Sea

Campus Full time 1 month May 2017 Bulgaria Sofia

The main goal of our project is to provide education and training in underwater archaeology through participation in ongoing research projects. The first of these will focus on shipbuilding in the Ottoman Era and seafaring in the area of the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. Our research aims to fill in the gaps in our scientific knowledge in this field. [+]

The main goal of our project is to provide education and training in underwater archaeology through participation in ongoing research projects. The first of these will focus on shipbuilding in the Ottoman Era and seafaring in the area of the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. Our research aims to fill in the gaps in our scientific knowledge in this field. The main tools of the research will be excavation as well as the accurate recording of an actual shipwreck. There is a high number of Ottoman shipwrecks discovered along the Western coast of the Black Sea but only one of them has been excavated so far. The research will cover several important scientific areas such as: technology and tradition of Ottoman shipbuilding, shipbuilding centers, trading routes etc. Our second research project is aimed at the study of terrestrial and marine interactions of humans living in the region in prehistory. Its goals will be achieved through a variety of instruments, including a geophysical survey, mapping and 3D reconstruction of submerged ancient landscapes; in prehistory the entire seafloor of the Black Sea was dry land that was submerged during the Holocene. More than twenty submerged prehistoric settlements have been identified in Bulgarian waters until this day; some are associated with the highly complex Varna Copper Age culture. The main focus of this line of research will be the ancient coastal landscapes and the changes that took place there; an attempt at their reconstruction will be made. Our goal is to broaden... [-]

Videos

BHFS STUDENT TESTIMONIALS: Workshop for Conservation of Ancient Greek Pottery, 2016

BHFS STUDENT TESTIMONIALS: Workshop for Conservation of Ancient Greek Pottery, 2016

BHFS STUDENT TESTIMONIALS: Apollonia Pontica Excavation Project, 2016

BHFS STUDENT TESTIMONIALS: Photo Research Expedition to Medieval Balkan Churches, 2016