Balkan Heritage Foundation

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The Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF) is a Bulgarian public, non-profit, non-governmental organization. It was established in 2008 by a team of a cross-institutional program implementing archaeological field schools since 2003. Its head office is located in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. The BHF has a representative office located in Sofia and four branches located in Varna, Mezek, Dragoman and Emona, Bulgaria.[1]

The Balkan Heritage Foundation’s mission is to support the protection, conservation, management and promotion of cultural and historical (both tangible and intangible) heritage of South-eastern Europe as necessary preconditions for sustainable development of the region.[2]

The foundation collaborates on both the local and global level with universities, museums, research institutes, media, business companies, governmental and non-governmental organizations. It raises funds and consequently funds projects implemented by research institutes and scientific teams, museums, municipalities and local communities. Since it was established, the foundation has been implementing and financially supporting the following programs, projects and activities:

Balkan Heritage Field School

The Balkan Heritage Field School (or BHFS, operating since 2003 and fully incorporated by the Balkan Heritage Foundation in 2008) is one of the foundation's major programs running an archaeological field school that provides a number of courses in Archeology, Anthropology and History of South-Eastern Europe, Documentation, Conservation and Restoration of Historic Artifacts and Monuments, taught in English. Field school courses take place in Bulgaria and Republic of Macedonia. The school admits both students and non-students. The BHFS courses are affiliated with ongoing excavation (Neolithic settlement in Ilindentsi, Tell Yunatsite, emporion Pistiros, Stobi, Apollonia Pontica and the early medieval necropolis at Topola) conservation and documentation projects contributing to the study and preservation of the Balkan cultural heritage and are usually supplemented by trips to attractive historical sites and cities in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Serbia and Turkey. The school concept envisions that every course combines 3 basic educational modules: theoretical (lectures, presentations and field trainings), practical (either excavation field work and lab work or conservation of historic artefacts and monuments) and excursions plus behind-the-scene visits. The BHFS courses are listed among the academic courses of New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria enabling their participants to obtain credit hours upon request. Since 2003 the BHFS has organized 52 courses in Field Archaeology, Documentation of medieval frescoes and Conservation of Ancient Greek and Roman pottery, mural paintings and mosaics attended by more than 900 students coming from 48 countries. Its website is at: www.bhfieldschool.org

Excavation projects funded:

  1. Excavation of Tell Yunatsite, Bulgaria (since 2013).
  2. Excavation of the Ancient Greek Emporion Pistiros, Bulgaria (since 2013).
  3. Apollonia Pontica Excavation Project, Bulgaria (since 2011) - еxcavation of the multi-period (Archaic and Classical, Hellenistic and Late Antique) site on the island of St. Kirik, Sozopol.
  4. Excavation of the Neolithic settlement Ilindentsi, Bulgaria (since 2011).
  5. Stobi Excavation Project, Republic of Macedonia (since 2010).
  6. Heraclea Lyncestis Excavation Project, Republic of Macedonia (2008 - 2012)
  7. Djanavara Excavation Project, Bulgaria (2009 - 2011) - excavation of the monumental Early Byzantine church and monastery on Djanavara hill in Varna.
  8. Augusta TraianaBeroia – Borui Rescue Excavation Project in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria (2008-2009).

Documentation, conservation and restoration projects funded:

  1. Photo Research Expedition to Medieval Balkan Churches, Bulgaria (since 2008).
  2. Workshop for Documentation, Conservation and Restoration of Ancient Greek and Hellenistic Pottery in Emona, Bulgaria (since 2009).
  3. Workshop for Documentation, Conservation and Restoration of Roman and Late Roman Pottery, Glassware, Mural Paintings and Mosaics at Stobi, Macedonia (since 2010).

Volunteer and advocacy actions:

In 2008-2009 four volunteer work camps supporting preservation of cultural heritage took place in Bitola (Macedonia), Stara Zagora, Dragoman and Mezek (Bulgaria) in cooperation with Stara Zagora Regional Museum of History, municipalities of Dragoman and Svilengrad (Bulgaria) and Youth Cultural Center Bitola (Macedonia).

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