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Bulgarian Development-Led Archaeology in the Public Eye. Reception, Reactions, Possible Solutions

Lyudmil Vagalinski and Milena Raycheva

Cite this as: Vagalinski, L. and Raycheva, M. 2021 Bulgarian Development-Led Archaeology in the Public Eye. Reception, Reactions, Possible Solutions, Internet Archaeology 57.


Tourists visiting the excavations at <em>Heraclea Sintica
Tourists visiting the excavations at Heraclea Sintica

Can the public see the benefit of archaeology without an awareness of what archaeology does? The authors consider this question while exploring the evolution of Bulgarian society's view on development-led archaeological excavations over the past 30 years, by drawing on specific examples.

Media coverage of rescue archaeological work in Bulgaria is usually done in a dull, non-systematic manner. Local archaeologists are neither trained for nor seem to fully grasp the necessity of active two-way communication with the public, particularly in the course of fieldwork. Moreover, project investors often impose restrictions on publicity, not realising that their business is losing out from such a secretive media policy. Nevertheless, some successful media projects have been carried out by a number of Bulgarian archaeologists in recent years and have significantly contributed towards society's increased knowledge and appreciation of archaeological work. The authors propose particular steps in order to accelerate and enhance this positive trend to keep the public informed and aware of the potential benefits of archaeology.

Author: Lyudmil VagalinskiORCID logo
Associate Prof, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Author: Milena RaychevaORCID logo
Senior Assistant Prof, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Full text

Figure 1: Villa rustica at Arnautito site destroyed by Trakia Highway infrastructure. Photos: L. Vagalinski

Figure 2: Tourists visiting the excavations at Heraclea Sintica in summer 2019. Photo: L. Vagalinski

Figure 3: Site distribution of regular vs development-led excavations in Bulgaria, 2006-2019. Statistics source: NAIM-BAS

Figure 4: Income (in EUR) for NAIM-BAS by types of developers, 2013-2019. Statistics source: NAIM-BAS

Figure 5: 'Archaeologists vs Treasure-Hunters' board game. Photo:

Vagalinski, L. 2018 'Making choices in archaeological heritage management. The case of Bulgaria' in A. Degraeve (ed) Proceedings of the International Conference, Athens, Greece, 9-11 March, 2017, EAC Occasional Paper 13. Namur/Belgium, 33-36.

Vagalinski, L. 2019 'A decade of development-led archaeology in Bulgaria', Internet Archaeology 51

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