Project Description


Tell Yunatsite is located in Southern Bulgaria. It is among the biggest tells in Europe and similar to those in the Near East. Its diameter is approximately 110 m/360 ft and its height is 12 m/39 ft above the modern surface. To date, approximately one third of the tell has been excavated. There is a medieval cemetery at the top of the tell, followed by a Roman period level, two Iron Age levels, another dated to the Early Bronze Age, and finally a Chalcolithic (Copper age) layer. Despite work at the site since 1939, sterile soils have not yet been reached.

Excavations of the Copper Age layers proved that Tell Yunatsite is the acropolis of one of the earliest proto urban sites established in Europe dated to the 5th millennium BCE. The site includes evidence of the apogee and collapse of the earliest prehistoric civilization and some of the earliest metalurgy found in Europe. A small gold bead found at the site by a field school student in 2016 and another gold plastine found in 2017 are believed to be the oldest bits of processed gold ever discovered in Europe, and among the oldest ones in the world.

Tell Yunatsite is a textbook case study of long and clear stratigraphy. During the 2018 season, students will work at the burned Copper Age buildings. Research will focus on the terminal phase of the Copper Age (4200-4100 BCE) occupation and the reasons for the site rapid collapse and abandonment. Students will be introduced to archaeological field techniques and methods for excavation and documentation, and take part in processing of finds and samples as well as excursions to significant heritage sites in Bulgaria.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: July 7-August 4, 2018
  • Enrollment Status: OPEN
  • Total Cost: $3,800
  • Course Type: Field Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline: April 20, 2018
  • Instructors: Asst. Prof. Kamen Boyadzhiev, Assoc. Prof. Yavor Boyadzhiev
  • Online Orientation: June 2, 2018, 1:00 PM PST
Apply Now
View All Videos


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. Kamen Boyadzhiev
Dr. Kamen Boyadzhiev
Dr. Boyadzhiev is an archaeologist and Head of the Exhibitions’ Department at the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Dig Co-director; Balkan Heritage Foundation affiliate.
Dr. Yavor Boyadzhiev
Dr. Yavor Boyadzhiev
Dr. Boyadzhiev is an archaeologist and Associated Professor at the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; Dig Co-director; Balkan Heritage Foundation affiliate.


Testimonials coming soon!

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.


In Primavera Hotel in the district town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria – in comfortable rooms with 2-3 beds per room, bathrooms with shower and WC, TV, air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Cheap laundry service available at the archaeological site. Participants are not expected to bring any additional equipment, sleeping bags or towels. The hotel is located next to the main pedestrian area of the Downtown Pazardzhik. There are lots of shops, pharmacies, banks, ATMs, a hospital, taverns, bars, cafes, post office and tourist attractions around in the hotel area. Pazardzhik is a mid-size Bulgarian town (50 000 inhabitants). The town and its surroundings offer a variety of opportunities for good entertainment, sightseeing, sports, wine-tasting and shopping.

The excavation site, Tell Yunatsite is situated about 10 km away (15 min ride) from Pazardzhik and the hotel. Transport on work days will be arranged and covered by the Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF). Next to the site is the archaeological base with running water, electricity, a field latrine, dining and lab facilities as well as a tool storage available to the students.

Meals: Three meals (Balkan cuisine) per day are covered by tuition fee. This field school can accommodate vegetarians, vegans and individuals with gluten- and lactose-intolerance. Kosher-restrictions are impossible to accommodate in this location.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner meals will take place at the site during the work days. Other meals will take place at the hotel’s restaurant. Brown-bag-lunches will be provided during excursions and days-off.

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

Bulgaria - Tell Yunatsite

Travel Info

Students should arrive on July 7 to the Hotel Primavera 2 (in Pazardzhik) by 7:00pm. Students may organize their trip individually or request a transfer for an additional fee. Enrolled students will receive a travel info-sheet with specific travel details prior to departure.

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


Citizens of the US, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand do not need a 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 Balkan Heritage Foundation web site at and the links provided there.

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.