Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture Calls for Funding Proposals for 2016 Archaeological Excavations

A file photo from the archaeological excavations of the Ancient Roman colony Deultum near today's town of Debelt, Burgas District, in Southeast Bulgaria. Photo: Ministry of Culture

A file photo from the archaeological excavations of the Ancient Roman colony Deultum near today’s town of Debelt, Burgas District, in Southeast Bulgaria, from the Debelt-Deultum Archaeological Preserve. Photo: Ministry of Culture

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture has issued a call for the annual submission of funding applications for the 2016 archaeological excavations.

It has announced that all applications for 2016 archaeological excavation funding are supposed to be submitted between March 15 and April 11, 2016.

The eligible beneficiaries may be “cultural, scientific, or university institutions whose activity is connected with the seeking, studying, and preservation of the archaeological cultural heritage."

The Ministry of Culture has urged all applicants to become familiar with the recent amendments to the rules for the allocation of funding for archaeological excavations (published in Bulgarian here).

One of the amendments stipulates that a single lead archaeologist is entitled to government funding for the exploration of no more than two archaeological sites.

It has recently been estimated that over 200 archaeological projects are expected to compete for the meager excavation and conservation budget slated by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture for 2016.

The sum that the Ministry of Culture is going to apportion among several dozen projects that will be approved for funding in 2016 will range between BGN 500,000 (EUR 250,000) and BGN 600,000 (EUR 300,000), which is roughly the same amount as in 2015.

Luckily, the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture with its meager budget is not the only source of funding for archaeological research in the country.

The Bulgarian Cabinet itself occasionally allocates substantial sums of money for certain archaeological projects such as the 9th century AD Great Basilica in Pliska, the ancient and medieval rock city Perperikon (Perperik), and the St. John the Forerunner Monastery near Kardzhali, even though there are no clear-cut criteria for this type of funding.

Some private foundations and other types of NGOs also contribute certain sums of money. EU funding and funding from the Norway Grants / EEA Grants are also options but those sponsor primarily archaeological restoration projects (which may involve excavations as well).

However, the Bulgarian local authorities are emerging as a major funding source as more and more municipalities have started giving money for excavations and restoration works, now that they have become aware of the potential of cultural tourism.