Project Description


Ancient Apollonia Pontica (present-day Sozopol, Bulgria) is one of the earliest towns on the Western Black Sea coast. The city was founded by Milesian colonists at the end of the 7th century BCE. As a result of intensive trade with the surrounding Thracian tribes and the Greek poleis Apollonia became one of the richest and most prosperous Greek colonies in the Black Sea region in Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic period. It was famous in the Ancient World for the colossal bronze statue of Apollo – the patron deity of the town, erected in front of the god’s temple. The excavation team lead by Dr. Krastina Panayotova conducts excavation on the small St. Kirik island (connected with the mainland with a breakwater way), where the earliest settlement of Apollonia arose and where later the sacred precinct (temenos) of the town was built. In the 2017 season students will address important questions concerning the continuity of religious activity at the site. We will continue exploring the evolution of the island from its early settlement to a later Christian religious center. The team plans to trace monumental wall foundations excavated in 2014-2016 and to search for remains of a propylaeum that most probably was situated in the currently excavated area. The excavations will take place in the periphery of the temenos and will search for remains of cult practices that probably were conducted there. The program include trips to significant heritage sites along the Western Black Sea Coast.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: Jun 24-Jul 22, 2017
  • Enrollment Status: CLOSED
  • Total Cost: $4,850
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: Apr 21, 2017
  • Instructors: Dr. Krastina Panayotova, Dr. Teodora Bogdanova
  • Orientation:  April 23, 9:30am Los Angeles Time
Program Closed


The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Krastina Panayotova
Dr. Krastina Panayotova
Dr. Panayotova is an Associate Professor at the Department of Classical Archaeology, National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. She is also a Balkan Heritage Foundation affiliate
Dr. Teodora Bogdanova
Dr. Teodora Bogdanova
Dr. Bogdanova is a Curator for Archaeology at the Museum of Archaeology in Sozopol and a Visiting Professor at the Center for Vocational and Continuing Education, New Bulgarian University in Sofia. She is also a Balkan Heritage Foundation affiliate.


This is my second year at Apollonia Pontica – Bulgaria, I came back because I really enjoyed it last year – it was an incredible opportunity to come back and have this experience again. It was really nice to come for a second time and already being familiar with the site and how things work, to improve all the skills I learned last year, and all the lectures, excursions and instructions, I just had the chance to build on what we’ve found previously. Meeting all the people of the team again – it feels like a big family, and I wanna come back again!
Abigail Sanderson, University of Ottawa (2015)
I first heard about this field school through a few friends of mine who’ve recommended the course and the project. The experience here in Apollonia Pontica has been absolutely wonderful, completely brilliant. I would recommend it a thousand times to everyone. It’s very much hard work, but at the end of the day – the fascinating amount of artifacts you have found, the hands-on experience that you actually get on this site and the amount of things I’ve learned, I couldn’t ask for a better course!
Sean Crawford, Royal Holloway University of London (2015)

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credits
  • Room & board
  • All local transportation
  • Health Insurance

Student Fees

A nonrefundable deposit of $500 is required to secure a seat in this program.  This program requires an application (no application fee is requested). Only accepted students should pay the deposit fee. Deposit fee is part of the program Tuition. The remaining tuition, minus the $500 deposit, must be paid prior to the tuition deadline (see above under “Course Details”).

Important Note: If you were accepted to this program but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition regardless of attendance in this program. Please read the IFR Cancellation Policy for further clarification.

  • A 2.5% Processing Fee is automatically assessed for all credit/debit card payments
  • A $100 Late Fee will be assessed if full tuition payment is not completed by the deadline.
  • Look at the field school syllabus above for room & board details.


Accommodation is either at Dom Mladenovi guest house or at the VKM Military Club, both of which have comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, air-conditioners, refrigerators, and TV. Free Wi-Fi is available on the ground floors. Both hotels are located close to the town beaches, the Old Town Quarter, the Archaeological Museum, and within 15 min walking distance from the archaeological site.

MEALS: Three meals per day are covered by tuition. All meals except the lunch during the excursions take place in local taverns. This field school can accommodate vegetarians, vegans and individuals with lactose-intolerance. Kosher, gluten-free restrictions or other specialized diets are impossible to accommodate in this location.

Students must pay on their own for extra days and/or for single room accommodation.

Bulgaria, Apollonia

Travel Info

Students will be met at the Sofia International Airport on June 24 at 1:30pm at Terminal 2 Arrival area. Look for a person carrying the “Balkan Heritage Program” sign.  Students will be transferred from the meeting point to the field house by taxi. Students are responsible for transportation back to the airport – or onward travel – at the end of the field school.

If you missed your connection or your flight was delayed/canceled, call, text or email the project staff. Local contact information will be provided to enrolled students.

VISA REQUIREMENTS: Citizens of the US, EU, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand do not need visa to visit Bulgaria for up to 90 days. Citizens of all other countries may need a visa. The Balkan Heritage Foundation can send an official invitation letter that should be used at the relevant embassy to secure a visa to the program. For more information visit the US State Department Travel Advice page or Balkan Heritage Foundation visa help web page.

HEALTH ISSUES: For specific information regarding travel health issues pertinent to travel in Bulgaria, consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Students are able to get general information, essential travel basics and tips concerning the project location and the country at (for Bulgaria) and (for the project). All students will receive a travel info-sheet with specific travel details prior to departure.

Student Safety

Student safety is paramount for the IFR. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.

All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field (click here for a shortcut). If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly.

Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible. Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of particular programs.