Topic ID #32178 - posted 4/8/2014 11:56 PM

The Birth of Europe: Excavations of the Neolithic Settlement Ilindentsi, Bulgaria



Location: Ilindentsi, Bulgaria

Season Dates: June 14, 2014 - July 13, 2014
Session Dates: Field school session 1: 14 - 28 June, 2014; Field school session 2: 29 June - 13 July, 2014.
Application Deadline: May 15, 2014


Affiliation: The Balkan Heritage Foundation, Blagoevgrad Regional Museum of History, New Bulgarian University, Municipality of Strumyani (Bulgaria), Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Nanterre (France)

Project Description:

In the seventh millenium BC the Balkan Peninsula was a gate through which farming, animal husbandry and generally Neolithisation spread to Europe from Anatolia and the Near East. Central parts of the Balkans were among the most important migration routes during that period. Six Early Neolithic settlements are mapped there, in the Middle Struma River Valley, on the natural road that connects the Eastern Mediterranean with the Central Europe. One of them is the prehistoric site near Ilindentsi. It is located on a high terrace at 250-253 m above sea-level in the Struma River Valley and at the foot of the Pirin Mountains – the third-highest range on the Balkans. During the previous seasons (2004-2009, 2011-2013) archaeologists unearthed there remains of various Early and Middle Neolithic settlement structures and features. Among them are several dwellings: one of them with stone foundations, another one with elaborate floor construction and under-floor drainage systems and a third one completely burnt with well preserved in situ "kitchen-space" including an oven, grain-store, quern-stone and what is more two Neolithic grave-pits: of a baby and a piglet and numerous waste pits. The geomagnetic map of the site created in 2010 shows some anomalies (so called Southern and Northern) that are found very intriguing by the the archaeologists. Excavations in 2011-2013 revealed the reasons for the Northern anomaly: a Neolithic ditch and a palisade, but the reason for the Southern anomaly is still to be revealed during the next seasons.

In 2014 the BIRTH OF EUROPE Field School Project (2011-2017) envisions further excavation of the Neolithic dwellings and their surroundings. Two field school sessions are available and each includes the following three modules: fieldwork including excavation of the Neolithic structures, maintaining a field journal on a daily basis, filling context sheets and labels, drawing an elevation plan/ a ground plan/ a cross-section, 3D positioning of finds, taking coordinates with a total station, and taking photographs at the site; lectures, workshops and field trainings in Prehistoric and Field Archaeology as well as Finds' processing and Documentation and excursions to various cultural and archaeological sites in the region including Blagoevgrad Regional Museum of History, the medieval town of Melnik, Rila Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Rozhen Monastery.

Room and Board Arrangements: In comfortable rooms with two to three beds (bathrooms with shower and WC, TV) in a local guest house, wich also provides a cheap laundry service and free Wi-Fi. Participants are not expected to bring any additional equipment, bedclothes or towels. Three meals (fresh, organic Bulgarian homemade food) per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) in the guest-house garden. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Single room is avalable upon request for an additional fee.

Cost: The regular admission fee is 1249 EUR / 2373 EUR (app. 1550 / 2900 USD) for participation in one / two project sessions. The admission fee includes educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (hotel + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project Handbook, issue of Certificate of Attendance, excursions/sightseeing tours/entrance fees and administrative costs.

New Bulgarian University grants 6 credits to students for participation in one project session and 9 credits for participation in two sessions. Transcripts are available upon request for an additional tuition fee!

Contact Information 
Ms, Anna Parmakova
Admission Office
Balkan Heritage Field School


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