Digital documentation, field survey, communication & dissemination, heritage management, heritage presentation
Alexandrovo, South-Eastern Bulgaria
Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, Balkan Heritage Foundation – J.M. Kaplan Fund
Project started / Status:
2020 / Ongoing
The archaeological site: The Alexandrovo Tomb dating from the 4th century BCE was discovered and excavated in the period 2000 – 2003 by Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov. He conducted rescue excavations after the tomb was plundered by looters who subsequently entered it and damaged parts of it. The tomb consists of a round chamber of about 3 meters (9.8 ft) in diameter, accessible through a small antechamber and a dromos (corridor), approximately 6 meters (20 ft) long. Both the antechamber and main chamber are decorated with well-preserved wall paintings which make this monument a unique example of the burial architecture and art from the Early Hellenistic period in Thrace.
The tomb acquired the status of an archeological architectural and artistic cultural treasure of national significance in 2000. In 2004 it was included in the UNESCO Tentative List.
In September 2020 the Balkan Heritage Foundation signed a partnership agreement for a 5-year program for study, preservation and communication of the Alexandrovo tomb, which envisions to:
1) Implement various archaeological and interdisciplinary investigations (such as geophysical and geological surveys) of the site and its surrounding area in order to gather scientific data for its context
2) Document the tomb, the burial mound and its surroundings
3) Support the conservation and restoration of wall painting fragments discovered in the tomb and currently kept in the museum storage
4) Create a virtual model of the tomb’s wall paintings
5) Support the preparation and realization of a project for the protection of the tomb and the burial mound as well as the wall paintings in situ
7) Publish any research results related to the site and a monograph
8) Participate in the designing of a master conservation plan and management plan for the site
9) Support the candidacy of the tomb for UNESCO World Heritage Site
10) Organize conferences, round tables, exhibitions, information and advocacy campaigns related to the future of the site.
In 2019 the Balkan Heritage Foundation along with the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture supported the efforts of NAIM-BAS for their documentation through a series of non-destructive methods for photographic documentation. The initial phase of collaboration between the BHF and NAIM-BAS within the documentation project called “Thracian Tomb of Alexandrovo, Bulgaria – Phase 1” was followed in 2020 – 2021 by another joint project funded by the J. M. Kaplan Fund called the “Thracian Tomb of Alexandrovo, Bulgaria – Phase 2”.
During Phase 1 of the project the team documented the wall-paintings inside the Alexandrovo tomb using a range of advanced non-destructive methods. The main focus fell on establishing the painting technique used to create the wall paintings and to highlight the faded images and colors by applying a series of modern methods of photo documentation. The extensive photo archive created during the project serves as the foundation for further research and interpretation of the images.
In May 2021 as part of Phase 2 of the project, the Balkan Heritage Foundation and their partner NAIM – BAS organized an international conference titled “Alexandrovo Tomb: 20 Years Later”.
Project team: dr. Georgi Nehrisov, dr. Angela Pencheva, dr. Nayden Prahov, dr. Antonio Cosentino and dr. Kitan Kitanov
BHF project partners: National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Haskovo Regional Museum of History, Faculty of History at Sofia University