Call for volunteers for excavations of a medieval church in Balsha village

Archaeological volunteers wanted for the period September 27 –  October 12, 2021!

The Regional History Museum Sofia  in collaboration with the  Balkan Heritage Foundation will begin excavations of the medieval church “St. Petka” in the village of Balsha, located 25 km north of Sofia, Bulgaria. The church is a cultural monument of national importance.

In the period 2009 – 2017 as an initiative of the Balkan Heritage Foundation non-destructive research was conducted of the church’s architecture, wall paintings, graffiti and the preserved burial crosses around it. Aside from conventional architecture scale-drawing and digital photography, other interdisciplinary methods were used such as photogrammetry, Reflectance Transformation Imaging and color decorrelation, thus creating a contemporary documentation database. Observations and in-depth analysis suggested a revision of some common facts about the monument. You can find more detailed information about the site and previous projects here.

The construction and decoration of the church can be dated to the late 16th c.; originally it had ceramic tile flooring and lead roofing, the wall paintings were most probably a product of a Sofia workshop influenced by Cretan-Athonite icon-painting style. The site was part of the Balkan Heritage Field School ”Fresco-Hunting” Photo Research Expedition to Medieval Balkan Churches.

The upcoming excavations aim to place the church in a wider context, starting with its immediate surrounding area and possible location of a cemetery. Another research question we are hoping to answer concerns the remains of an earlier building located beneath the church, possibly dating from Late Antiquity or the early Middle Ages.

For the current project we are looking for 4 volunteers with or without experience for excavation and finds processing work. All volunteers will be instructed about standard archaeological techniques and procedures at the site.  Free transport will be provided from Sofia to Balsha and back for each day of fieldwork.

Volunteers are expected to cover their own expenses for transportation to Sofia, Bulgaria, food and accommodation during their stay. No other fees. Volunteers are not obligated to stay for the entire period of the excavations, the minimum required time is 1 work week (starting Monday).

For more information please contact   Add “Balsha Volunteers” as a subject of the email.