Bulgaria to Adopt Funding Standards for Underwater Archaeology Explorations

Artifacts found through underwater archaeology explorations are displayed in Bulgaria’s only Museum of Underwater Archaeology in the southern Black Sea town of Kiten. Photos by Todor Hristov from the Facebook group “Bulgarians” dedicated to promotion of Bulgaria’s historical and archaeological heritage. He may be contacted at paragraf22@gmail.com.

Artifacts found through underwater archaeology explorations are displayed in Bulgaria’s only Museum of Underwater Archaeology in the southern Black Sea town of Kiten. Photos by Todor Hristov from the Facebook group “Bulgarians” dedicated to promotion of Bulgaria’s historical and archaeological heritage. He may be contacted at paragraf22@gmail.com.

Bulgaria’s Cabinet is planning legislative amendments to the Culture Protection and Development Act which will affect the field of underwater archaeology explorations in the country.

According to the press service of the Bulgarian government, the amendments will introduce “unified funding rules through standards for state, regional, and municipal cultural institutions with respect to museums, underwater archaeology explorations, and libraries”.

The precise nature of the planned legislative amendments has not been revealed but the changes are expected to facilitate the development of underwater archaeology which is a relatively new and underdeveloped field in Bulgaria despite the potential of the Black Sea and some of the country’s inland bodies of water.

Just last week, Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers granted a formal permission to Greek research vessel “Aegaeo” of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR) to carry out an underwater archaeology expedition in the Bulgarian territorial waters and exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea.

The Greek vessel “Aegaeo” is going to conduct underwater archaeology research in the southwestern section of the Black Sea which is under Bulgarian jurisdiction between September 10 and October 14, 2015.

The underwater archaeology expedition of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research in the Black Sea is fully funded by the Center for Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton and the Education Foundation, a UK think tank.

In May 2015, the Sozopol-based Center for Underwater Archaeology at the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and the Center for Maritime Archaeology of the University of Southampton started a large-scale Bulgarian-British project for exploring the underwater archaeology of Bulgaria’s exclusive zone in the Black Sea.

The archaeological exploration of the Black Sea could reveal a lot of exciting finds. Some scholars even think that it could provide answers about the story of the Biblical Deluge and Noah’s Arc as the Black Sea is believed to have been a fresh water lake until several thousand years ago.

A major rise in sea levels (some describe it as a one time flooding which led to the Deluge stories not just in the Bible but also in different ancient mythologies) which connected it with the Mediterranean over the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles is believed to have destroyed a high prehistoric civilization living along its west and northwest coast.

What is more, the Black Sea is unique because below 200 meters (60 meters in some parts) it has no oxygen but only hydrogen sulfide, therefore any underwater archaeology sites or sunken ships at greater depths are supposed to have been perfectly preserved.

Check out some of our other stories about underwater archaeology in Bulgaria’s Black Sea section as well as other parts of the Black Sea:

Bulgarian MPs Move to Protect Sunken Black Sea Ships as Underwater Archaeology Sites

Underwater Archaeology Harbors Great Tourism Potential for Bulgaria, Expert Says

Bulgarian, Romanian Archaeologists Find Sunken Wooden Ships, Soviet U-Boats in Underwater Explorations

Large Sunken Byzantine Ship Discovered in Black Sea off the Coast of Sevastopol on Crimean Peninsula