Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology Publishes Digest of ‘Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations in 2015’

The front cover of the "Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations in 2015" digest of Bulgaria's National Institute and Museum of Archaeology. Photo: NPB

The front cover of the “Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations in 2015” digest of Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology. Photo: NPB

Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, a body of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, has released its latest publication – a nearly 1000-page digest entitled “Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations in 2015".

The book has been formally presented at Bulgaria’s 55th National Archaeological Conference which was held in the southern city of Stara Zagora on May 25-28, 2016, a forum hosted by the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology, the Stara Zagora Regional Museum of History, and Stara Zagora Municipality.

The digest of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia is an annual publication presenting the latest discoveries and research in Bulgarian archaeology every year.

The “Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations in 2015" volume features 306 articles on a total of 986 pages. A total of 35 of these are on prehistoric archaeology, 51 are on the archaeology of Ancient Thrace, 105 are on other archaeological discoveries and excavations from the Antiquity period (including Roman archaeology), 53 are on medieval archaeology, 41 are on field studies (including 8 on underwater archaeology), 13 are on geophysical surveys, and 8 are on interdisciplinary studies.

For more detailed information about Bulgaria’s “Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations in 2015" check out the digest’s full contents (PDF) which is in Bulgarian and English.

For the first time the volume also features English-language abstracts of the articles.

“The present volume of “Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations" marks the 10th anniversary since the format of the series was changed to set a new standard for making public the results from field research. Over the years, the [digest] has emerged as a book that is emblematic to the [Bulgarian] archaeological community. [Its] articles have lost the form of formal reports, and have become well illustrated first-hand publications summarizing the most important data acquired during the excavations," states in his preface Assist. Prof. Andrey Aladzhov, who is the digest’s chief editor, and the Scientific Secretary of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology.

The Editorial Board of the publication also includes Dr. Nayden Prahov, Assist. Prof. Kalin Madzharov, Assoc. Prof. Krum Bachvarov, Tatyana Stefanova, Assist. Prof. Georgi Ivanov, Assist. Prof. Margarit Damyanov, Assist. Prof. Mario Ivanov, Assist. Prof. Anastasiya Belivanova, Elena Vasileva, Assist. Prof. Evelina Todorova, Assoc. Prof. Georgi Nehrizov, Nadezhda Kecheva, and Dr. Nikola Tonkov.

In his preface, Aladzhov points out that the formal period categorization of the articles in the digest does not reflect fully the chronology of the archaeological sites because many of them contain structures from several time periods.

He adds that one noticeable trend in the articles is the increasingly wider application of interdisciplinary research, which is especially typical for the geophysical surveys.

“In addition to the conventional ground exploration methods using a magnetometer, georadar (GPR), and vertical electric sounding, more wide-spread are becoming the non-destructive underwater explorations using a side-scan sonar, single beam and multibeam echosounders, sub-bottom profilers, underwater photogrammetry, and the creation of 3D models of archaeological sites," explains the archaeologist.

Aladzhov also mentions that 2015 saw the launch of the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (which started in Bulgaria’s exclusive economic zone), an international effort designed to explore the underwater archaeology of the Black Sea which is the largest of its kind to date.

He emphasizes that the application of innovative research and exploration techniques reflected by the articles in the 2015 “Archaeological Discoveries and Excavations" volume turns the digest into a sort of a reference book on the “modern methods" which are utilized in a “traditional science" such as archaeology.

“This year’s edition has also seen a very important novelty – the inclusion of English-language abstracts, which we hope is going to expand the circle of readers beyond the Bulgarian [archaeological] community," Aladzhov concludes.

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