Project Description

This is a joint project with the Balkan Heritage Foundation, Bulgaria. 

IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series AND received the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC, if eligible.

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices BEFORE enrolling in a program. These practices are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for Bulgaria:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/travel-and-covid/bulgaria/index_en.htm

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/covid-4/coronavirus-bulgaria

US Embassy in Bulgaria

Overview

The ruins of an ancient site in the heart of Thrace – on the left bank of Maritsa River (ancient Hebros) – were discovered in 1988. In 1990, a stone inscription was found which helped scholars identify the site as the Ancient Greek trade center (emporion) named Pistiros. Between the 5th and 3rd century BCE, merchants from the Greek coastal cities of Maroneia, Thassos and Apollonia lived and traded here with their Thracian neighbors under the supreme protection of the Thracian Odrysian kings.

To date, field school students have worked in a sector next to the fortification wall where two chronologically different building horizons were identified. In the earlier one, the area was covered with simple, half dug in houses, presumably dated to the very first period of the site’s existence – the end of the 5th century BCE. The architectural remains from the second horizon, belonging to buildings made of wooden beams and wattle & daub, existed in the period between the second half of 4th and beginning of the 3rd century BCE.  A huge amount of local and imported Greek vessels, cult figurines, Greek and Thracian coins, and weapons were among the discovered artifacts. Training in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) of small finds will supplement the excavation program.

Syllabus coming soon!

Course Details

  • Course Dates: July 24- August 20, 2023

  • Enrollment Status: Open

  • Tuition: $5,040

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology, Classical, Hellenistic

  • Tuition Payment Deadline: June 12, 2023

  • Instructors:  Dr. Angela Pencheva

  • Online Orientation: TBD
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)

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Instructors

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. Angela Pencheva
Dr. Angela Pencheva
Dr. Pencheva is a visiting professor at the Department of Archaeology and Center for Vocational and Continuing Education, New Bulgarian University, Sofia. She is also a Balkan Heritage Program Director
Dr. Dr. Alexey Gotsev
Dr. Dr. Alexey Gotsev
Dr. Gotsev has a Ph.D. in Archaeology and is an Associate Professor at the Department of Thracian Archaeology at the National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Testimonials

This was my first field school and I absolutely loved it! It totally confirmed that I wanted to study Archaeology and that this is what I want to do professionally. Pistiros itself is a great site to work at, really interesting and I learned a lot that I didn’t know previously. We also got to work in an amazing pit – we found lots of pottery, bones, etc. Bulgaria is a very beautiful country with very hospitable people. It was an awesome experience which I wouldn’t be able to do if it weren’t for Balkan Heritage Field School, so thank you!

Dessa Meehan, Western Washington University

Emporion Pistiros –amazing site, amazing venue – the site itself has got to be one of the most interesting sites in Bulgaria and the sheer amount of artefacts we found and how varied and interesting they were– it was phenomenal! Altars, figurines, everything you could hope for, you can find in Pistiros. The hands-on experience that you get – everyday you’re learning a little bit more and you get better and precise with your own tool work. The supervisors did such a good job at teaching us and integrating us into the real work – at what you’ll have to do as an archaeologist. I can tell how much I’ve grown looking back in my journal in the 4 weeks of the project. It’s so much more that you can ever learn in a classroom.

Shaun Walter Winters, University of California, Santa Cruz

Tuition Includes:

$5,040
  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit Units
  • Room & Board
  • All Onsite Transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

Application Fee: There is a $25 fee to submit an online application.

Deposit Payment:

  • Once you have been accepted to a program, you must place a nonrefundable $500 deposit fee to hold your seat in the program until the tuition payment deadline. The tuition payment deadline can be found in the top right of each field school’s web page under “Course Details”.
  • The $500 deposit fee is included as part of your total tuition fee and NOT in addition to it.

Tuition Fee 

  • The tuition balance is the total program tuition fee minus the $500 deposit fee.
  •  The full tuition fee must be paid by the tuition payment deadline in order to secure your seat in the program.
  • If you do not pay the full tuition fee by the deadline, your place in the program is no longer secure, and if you are unable to participate in the program for any reason, our Late Withdrawal policy below will apply.

Late Fee: A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the tuition payment deadline.

Withdrawal Policy: If you place a deposit but decide to withdraw, you must notify IFR staff in writing before the tuition payment deadline. In the event of withdrawal, the $500 nonrefundable deposit fee remains nonrefundable and will not be refunded.

Late Withdrawal: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition fee regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information.

Cancellation Policy: In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.

Accommodations

Accommodation will be in the Villa Terres Hotel at Karabunar, in comfortable rooms with 2-3 beds, bathrooms with a shower, air-conditioning,and TV. The hotel has a small swimming pool and SPA, free of charge for the participants in the field school. Cheap laundry service and free Wi-Fi are provided.

Karabunar is a small village: there are a couple of food & beverage shops, bars & taverns, a winery, and a Christian Orthodox church, St. John the Baptist. The closest supermarket, pharmacy, bank with ATM, and medical office are in the municipal town of Septemvri, 8km away from Karabunar.

The distance from the hotel to the site is app. 15 km/9.5 mi, and it takes an app. 15/20 min drive. Daily BHF shuttle service is arranged for the participants to bring them to the site and back. The site has  electricity, there are portable toilets and running water.

Meals

Three meals (fresh, organic Bulgarian homemade food) per day are covered by the reimbursement  payment. Meals usually take place in the hotel’s restaurant, except lunch packages during excursions. This field school can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, and individuals with lactose-intolerance. Kosher and gluten-free diets are impossible to accommodate in this location.

Pistiros, Bulgaria
Pistiros, Bulgaria

Travel Info

Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5-6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.

Once students arrive at Sofia International Airport, they will need to take a PCR test at the airport labs (approx. cost 48-56 USD) and then self-quarantine at a recommended airport hotel overnight. The BHF recommends the Best Western Premier Sofia Airport Hotel** for the one night quarantine after arrival. Students are responsible for these costs—the PCR test and the hotel room—and should make a room reservation prior to travel. All students with negative PCR test results will be picked up from the hotel by a shuttle (30 EUR) and delivered to the project hotel Villa Velis in the village of Karabunar the next day. Once at the project venue students and project staff will travel to and from the excavation site daily by shuttle (short 15 minute ride in each direction) that affords reasonable spacing of occupants.

VISA REQUIREMENTS 

Citizens of EU, EEA, USA, 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 http://www.bhfieldschool.org/information/visa-help and the links provided there.

Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

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

Call (877-839-4374) or email (info@ifrglobal.org) if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.