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Some Notes on Maintaining Authenticity in the Presentation of Archaeological Sites in Bulgaria

Milena Kamenova and Lyudmil Vagalinski

Cite this as: Kamenova, M. and Vagalinski, L. 2020 Some Notes on Maintaining Authenticity in the Presentation of Archaeological Sites in Bulgaria, Internet Archaeology 54. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.54.1

Summary

We present the challenges facing Bulgarian experts in finding the balance between preserving the authenticity of archaeological structures and their context, and turning them into a comprehensible and attractive visitor site. Thanks to European funding over the past ten years, a number of projects have been implemented in Bulgaria for conservation, restoration, exhibition and public presentation of archaeological heritage, where the main aim is to achieve a complete visitor product. The economic and social effect, on the one hand, has a positive impact as an inspiration for archaeological research and the popularisation of this type of cultural heritage, but has led to a compromise of the scientific value at some sites. We note some examples to illustrate the combined role of experts, participants and stakeholders in their 'reading' and 'translating' the archaeology – seeking to generate interest, clarify and convey the experience of 'genius loci'. The role of the state in the management of archaeological heritage is examined through its different governmental levels and interaction. The requirements imposed by legislation and practice are also observed.

Contemporary reconstructions  the medieval fortress of Krakra (by the city of Pernik) and the Roman city of Abritus (now Razgrad). Image: Authors
Contemporary reconstructions – the medieval fortress of Krakra (by the city of Pernik) and the Roman city of Abritus (now Razgrad). Image: Authors

First, the development of the archaeological heritage conservation system in Bulgaria will be briefly reviewed, its current state of the processes, its actors and the interactions between them, the positive and the negative aspects, and, in more detail, the problems we face in preserving authenticity while turning the archaeological site into an attractive one. Then we focus on our main topic; the authenticity and the attractiveness of archaeological sites in Bulgaria.

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  • Keywords: archaeology, archaeological sites, conservation, restoration, socialisation, Bulgaria
  • Accepted: 1 November 2019. Published: 28 February 2020
  • Funding: The publication of this article is funded by the European Archaeological Council.

Corresponding author: Milena Kamenova
archika@mail.bg
Architect in Conservation and Restoration/Urban Planning, Archika

Co-author: Lyudmil VagalinskiORCIG logo
National Archaeological Institute with Museum

Full text

Figure 1: The Law for Search of Antiquities and for Supporting Scholarly Institutions and Libraries. Image: Georgi Ivanov

Figure 2: Participants in the protection of archaeological heritage in Bulgaria, current stage. Image: Authors

Figure 3: Documenting archaeological heritage in different levels – LiDAR, photogrammetry, 3D scanning in the ancient city of Heraclea Sintica, near the present-day city of Petrich. See also http://www.archaeologia-bulgarica.com. Image: Authors

Figure 4: Roman villa in Cabyle (near the city of Yambol) – ruins and virtual reconstruction. Image: Milena Kamenova

Figure 5: Contemporary reconstructions – the medieval fortress of Krakra (by the city of Pernik) and the Roman city of Abritus (now Razgrad). Image: Authors

Figure 6: The reconstructions and the context – the Lower Danube Roman legion's camp and late antiquity city of Novae (left; near the city of Svishtov) and the late antiquity fortress of Roman Pautalia (now the city of Kyustendil). Image: Milena Kamenova

Figure 7: Archaeological heritage and creative industries, art and re-enactment at the city of Veliko Tarnovo (left) and in the city of Belogradchik. Image: Milena Kamenova

Table 1: Key periods and their characteristics in the development of the archaeological heritage conservation system in Bulgaria

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