Site Preservation, Collections, and Museum Enhancement Program (SPCME)

SPCME program is developed by the Department of Anthropology at The Field Museum (FM) in Chicago, in collaboration with the American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS) and with sponsorship from the America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF). The program promotes projects that concern archaeological sites and museum collections in Bulgaria that are suffering from long periods of neglect and are in dire need of restoration. 

2010 SPCME Awarded Projects 

Conservation and Protection of Monuments and Signatures in the Town of the Victory Nicopolis ad Istrum, Bulgaria ($42,486)

Nicopolis ad Istrum is a Roman town founded by the emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus to honor his victories over the Dacians in A.D. 101 and 106. It is located near the village of Nikyup, 20 kilometers northwest of Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria. The goals of this project include:
• ensure the physical  protection of the epigraphy and gravestone monuments in the Roman city;
• build a series of roofing structures which will help to preserve a variety of ancient features, including a well dating to the Roman period, a waste canal that passes through the central part of the forum, and a pedestal for an equestrian statue of an emperor;  publicize the above activities in English and Bulgarian and facilitate visitors to the site through signs, information boards, and model graphics.
This project is directed by Ivan Tsarov (Regional Historical Museum - Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria).

Conservation, Restoration and Socialization of Archaeological Monuments from Ancient Colony Deultum, near Debelt Village, Burgas District, Bulgaria ($47,810)

The archaeological reserve “Deultum-Develt” is a monument of historical heritage with national importance for modern Bulgaria. It holds a variety of archaeological remains that provide evidence of habitation from the Bronze Age to the 14th century A.D. The goals of this project include:
• conserve, restore, and prepare the metal findings that are currently threatened by destruction based on research at ancient Deultum;
• integrate the monuments from the archaeological reserve; promote Deultum archaeological heritage; provide a new cultural product on the tourist market; and attract tourist flow from the coast of the Western Black Sea and inland.
This project is directed by Krasimira Kostova (History Museum of Sredetz, Burgas District, Bulgaria).

2011 SPCME Awarded Projects

Preservation and Enhancement of the Antiquity Collection of the Museum of History”Iskra”, Kazanlak, Bulgaria ($45,000)

The Antiquity Department of the Museum of History Iskra houses one of the richest collections of ancient artifacts in Bulgaria. Its permanent exhibition and the seven exposed monumental Thracian tombs represent attractive destinations for tourists from all over the world. The goals of this project include:

  • improve the long-term preservation of the collection;
  • enable space for future acquisitions of artifacts;
  • recover endangered artifacts with high scientific and exhibitional value;
  • enhance the work of the museum officers and scholars wishing to study artifacts;  promote the collection and raise awareness about the need for constant care of the collection.

The director of this project is Meglena Parvin (Museum of History “Iskra”, Kazanlak, Bulgaria)

Bishop’s Residence from the Late Middle Ages – Archaeology, Education and Tourism, Rousse ($39,680)

The medieval town of Cherven was founded in the 11th century and destroyed at the end of the 16th century. Its bishop's residence, dated to the 15th-16th centuries, is the only one of its kind in Bulgaria, and it provides an opportunity to understand the material condition of the Church during the Early Ottoman period, the everyday life of the bishops, and the structure of their residences. The lack of conservation and restoration activities threatens the preservation of the site. In addition, the site remains relatively unknown to local and international tourists. The goals of this project include:

  • restore, conserve and prepare an exhibit of the Bishop's complex from the 15th-16th century;
  • conserve movable cultural valuables found on the site and in the exhibit;
  • organize an educational module for archaeology;  elaborate upon the guide through the Rousse Lom river valley and produce a 27-minute movie entitled “The Unknown Valley: Journey Along the Rousse Lom.”

The director of this project is Nikolay Nenov (Regional Historical Museum - Rousse, Bulgaria). 

2012 SPCME Awarded Projects

Pistiros Exposition Hall – Presentation and Socialization of Cultural Artifacts ($45,000)

Finds such as Greek imported pottery, graffiti, and inscriptions are evidence of trade relationships and a cultural influence between Greeks and Thracians. Over 10,000 cultural artifacts are kept in the museum at Septemvri, and most of them could become part of the exposition in the museum. However, owing to financial difficulties, the Septemvri municipality cannot provide independent funding for facilities for an exposition hall. The goals of this project include:

  • make repairs to the hall;
  • design a layout for the museum exposition; 
  • publish a catalogue of the exposition;
  • exhibit unique cultural artifacts from the museum for the public;
  • promote the development of cultural tourism in the Septemvri Municipality;
  • contribute to the work of the museum through schools of the municipality and universities where there is a specialty in archeology;
  • improve the managerial capacity of the museum staff;  popularize and advertise the archeological site of Emporion Pistiros.

The director of this project is Svedalina Popova (Archaeological Museum—Septemvri, Bulgaria).

Museum for Small and Grown-up ($49,137)

The Varna Educational Museum was established in 1986, and it is the first Bulgarian museum with its own specialized exhibit for children. The museum is accommodated in the ground floor chambers of the Archaeological Museum in Varna. The goal of the archaeologists at the museum was to assemble an appealing and accessible exhibit for children that would increase the schoolchildren's interest in history and archaeology. Their aspirations resulted in the creation of unique space where both older and younger visitors could have direct and immediate access to the museum components. The goals of this project include:

  • expand and elaborate upon the existing museum programs and establish new programs, including “Archaeology – A History World under the Ground,” “The Children of Roman Odessos,” and “The Antique Mosaic Works of Odessos;”
  • diversify the topical subject matters, forms, methods, and educational functions of the museum;
  • optimize the accessibility and functionality of the museum exhibit; convert the Educational Museum into an attractive place for meetings, creative intercourse and artistic manifestations of schoolchildren and students, and inform both young and grown-up visitors about the importance of acquiring historical and archaeological knowledge.

The director of this project is Valentin Gueorgiev Pletnyov (Regional Historical Museum – Varna, Bulgaria).

Conservation, Restoration and Exhibition of Stone Architectural Elements and Pieces of Inventory of the Temple of the Pontic Mother of Gods in the Greek Colony Dionysopolis ($44,948)

This is the only temple from the pre-Roman period in Bulgaria that has a completely preserved ground plan. Twenty-seven Greek and Latin inscriptions discovered in the temple, allow the temple to be identified securely. The temple offers new opportunities to study ancient religion, architecture, and art, but also the social and economic life of the region throughout seven centuries. The goals of this project include:

  • preserve, restore and exhibit architectural elements and pieces of temple inventory – 38 artifacts in total – that will be displayed in a separate hall in the Balchik History Museum;
  • repaint the walls and ceilings of the hall, and install new lighting and air conditioning systems in the exhibition halls where the artifacts will be displayed;
  • design a new permanent exhibition for the Museum, with an emphasis on the temple of the Pontic Mother of Gods; photograph and describe the artifacts, which have been conserved and restored, and publish them in a popular book.

The director of this project is Igor Lazarekno (Regional Historical Museum – Varna, Bulgaria).

Revivification of the Ancient Durostorum in the Archaeological Мuseum – Silistra ($38,750)

The goals of this project include:

  • create a 1:150 scale model of the Late Antiquity fortress at Durostorum, including all the revealed stationary monuments (e.g., temples, residencies, baths, and churches);
  • exhibit the model in a special hall in the Archaeological Museum – Silistra, which needs selected repairs;
  • construct a video wall and projection installation in the hall for the presentation of films and digital reconstructions of daily life in Durostorum and the monuments of the city and region; compile a small album or guide-book in Bulgarian and English about the history of the fortress, in order to popularize the site.

The director of this project is Georgi Atanasov (Regional Historical Museum – Silistra, Bulgaria).