The 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 funds 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.
2014 SPCME Projects
Lapidarium and Kids' Zone at the Museum of History Iskra ($41,172.00)
This is the second proposal of Museum of History Iskra, Kazanluk, funded by the ABF archaeological program The new project, directed by Meglena Parvin (Museum of History Iskra, Kazanluk), will allow for another valuable part of the museum’s stone artifacts to be saved for future generations, with benefits for both the general public and the scientific community. The applicants aim at extending access to the collections by targeting groups which are usually at a disadvantage, but can gain much from their access to the museum: disabled people and young visitors. The Kids’ Zone will offer children an opportunity to engage in learning about the past in an interactive and playful way.
Construction and Equipment of a Storage Facility for Preservation of Icons, Weapons, Fabrics and Incunabula Collections / Delicate Materials ($30,402.53)
The objective of the project is to stop the deterioration and preserve the most delicate of the museum’s collections. It aims at constructing and equipping a new storage facility following all the requirements of the modern museology. This would lead to enhancement of the conditions for preservation of the artifacts and to the conservation of important part of Bulgarian cultural heritage. The director of the project is Daniel Rumenov (Regional Museum of History, Shumen).
Restoration and Presentation of the Urns and the Gifts from the Greatest Thracian Necropolis ($35,000.00)
This is the second proposal of the Museum of History, Pernik, funded by ABF. The current project, directed by Philip Mihaylov (Regional Museum of History, Pernik), aims at restoration of urns, metalwork and other artifacts from the greatest Thracian Necropolis ever known, the Delyan Thracian necropolis near Pernik. This is a historically significant and extensive endeavor. The museum has developed long-term protection plan about the preservation and socialization of the collection.
St. Theodore Stratelate ($15,991.87)
The icon “St. Theodore Stratelate” has a special place in the Bulgarian history and is emblematic for Bulgarian Christianity. Saint Theodore Stratelate was a patron saint of the First Bulgarian capital city – Veliki Preslav. The icon dates back to the 9th-10th centuries and is a masterpiece of the Preslav Ceramic School. At the present moment, a new restoration treatment of the icon is imperative. It aims at removing all conservation materials introduced during previous interventions; a scientific investigation of the icon, including determination of the chemical profile of the ceramic tiles, as well as identification of decorative techniques; consolidation and stabilization of highly fragile original materials; and reinstating of the icon’s aesthetical value. The director of the project is Daniela Cherneva (National Museum of History).
The Procession of Dionysus, a Masterpiece of the Antique Mosaic Art ($46,588.06)
The mosaic “Procession of Dionysus” is one of the most remarkable examples of Roman mosaic art found in Bulgaria. The stored, lifted mosaic is still at serious risk of deterioration and loss. This is a historically and artistically significant and highly endangered artifact. The project’s goals, as envisioned by its director, Svetla Dimitrova (Museum of History, Stara Zagora), include: restoration, installation, display and presentation of the mosaic.
2013 SPCME Projects
The Danube Limes in Northeastern Bulgaria ($30 850)
This is the second ABF funded proposal by the Regional Historical Museum – Ruse. Its focus is on increasing the significance of the Danube Limes archaeological sites as tourist destinations and as cultural sites, and benefitting local communities. The project is directed by Dr. Nikolay Nenov (Regional Historical Museum - Ruse, Bulgaria). Goals of the project: implement exhibition activities for socialization on sites of the Danube Limes; conserve artifacts from the Antiquity necropolis of Tegra (the town of Marten, Municipality of Rousse); implement an education module as part of the program for museum education; publish a guide.
Conservation, Restoration and Amelioration of the Conditions of Display of Stone Monuments from the Collection of the National Archaeology Museum ($18 684)
The project focuses on the conservation of pieces of stone inscriptions that are located outside the main building of The National Archaeology Museum, Sofia. The director of this project is Maria Reho (BAS National Institute of Archaeology and Museum). Goals of the project: reorganize the museum’s collection; provide information that contextualizes and describes the objects via didactic panels and computer stations; create a web-based database of the museum’s collection; publish guidebooks.
Preservation, Restoration and Socialization of the Ancient Ceramic Center near Pavlikeni ($44,047.99)
The project’s goal is the preservation and restoration of a very important ceramic center near the town of Pavlikeni.The Ancient Ceramic Center is one of the most significant cultural sites and monuments in the region. The project is directed by Nelly Atanasova (History Museum - Pavlikeni). Goals of the project: restore and enhance the archeological collection at the local museum; promote the project to the local community; include the Ancient Ceramic Center in the tourist routes in the Veliko Tarnovo region.
Socialization of Martyrium: The Newly Revealed Part of an Episcopal Basilica ($44,580)
This project aims to preserve a valuable, early Christian site through restoration and conservation. It promises to restore and enhance a very important archaeological site, and it is expected to have a significant impact at the local and regional level. The director of the project is Vladimir Petkov (Archaeological Museum – Sandanski, Bulgaria). Goals of the project: preserve the unique murals through conservation and restoration; restore and install the marble top of the altar table; construct and install a temporary protective structure in order to preserve the remains of the frescoes; re-socialize the Ayazmo (holy spring).
Armament and Accoutrements from the Funds of the Regional Historical Museum / RHM / Pernik – Preservation, Conservation, Exhibition ($30,000)
This project aims to restore and repair 100 artifacts from the collection “Antique and Medieval Armament and Accoutrements from Mid-West Bulgaria,” including arrowheads, spearheads, swords, shield bosses, axes, knives, and medieval plate armor. The project will manage their conservation and preservation following the earthquake in May 2012. The director of the project is Emiliya Velinova Nikolova (Redional Historical Museum - Pernik, Bulgaria). Goals of the project: conserve and restore artifacts from the collection; improve storage conditions and the repositories; periodically monitor the physical condition of the collection and install protective interventions; present the collection exposition to the public through a modern permanent exhibition environment; upgrade the existing museum restoration laboratory.
2012 SPCME 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 project is directed by Svedalina Popova (Archaeological Museum—Septemvri, Bulgaria). The goals of the project are: 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.
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 project is directed by Valentin Gueorgiev Pletnyov (Regional Historical Museum – Varna, Bulgaria), and its goals are: 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; inform both young and grown-up visitors about the importance of acquiring historical and archaeological knowledge.
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 that were discovered in the temple allow it 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 project is directed by Igor Lazarekno (Regional Historical Museum – Varna, Bulgaria), and its goals аre: 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.
Revivification of the Ancient Durostorum in the Archaeological Мuseum – Silistra ($38,750)
The project is directed by Georgi Atanasov (Regional Historical Museum – Silistra, Bulgaria), and its goals are: 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.
2011 SPCME 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 director of this project is Meglena Parvin (Museum of History "Iskra," Kazanlak, Bulgaria), and its goals are: 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.
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 project is directed by Nikolay Nenov (Regional Historical Museum - Rousse, Bulgaria), and its goals are: 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."
2010 SPCME 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. This project is directed by Ivan Tsarov (Regional Historical Museum - Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria), and its goals are: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.
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 and 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 project is directed by Krasimira Kostova (History Museum of Sredetz, Burgas District, Bulgaria), and its goals are: 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; attract tourist flow from the coast of the Western Black Sea and inland.