Balkan Valley Project (BVP) Phase II: Survey of the Tundja Valley

This project surveys for localities in the Tundja River Valley of Southeastern Bulgaria from which to collect primary archaeological data relevant to understanding dispersals of hominins into and out of Europe during the Pleistocene. This ancient river system would likely have been part of a cultural and faunal conduit linking Europe and Asia Minor. This is the first attempt in the Balkans to collect and integrate diverse types of data from across a targeted landscape with the aim of testing hypotheses about hominin biogeography. Human origins sites can be extremely effective public education and tourism venues. Notable examples include the UNESCO World Heritage sites of [Atapuerca](http://visitasatapuerca.com) in Spain and [Sterkfontein](http: www.maropeng.co.za/index.php/sterkfontein) in South Africa. Other sites such as Tabun in Israel and Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, figure prominently in tourism literature. Thousands of tourists visit these and other sites every year. Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia Minor, Bulgaria is well positioned to preserve evidence of the first Europeans and other ancient humans. Such finds should be of broad public interest. The project involves archaeologists and curators from Bulgarian institutions, including museums, and thus is well suited to fulfill a public outreach and educational role. This project also adds substantially to the instrumentation infrastructure of Bulgarian scientific institutions, and provides professional training to Bulgarian graduate students.

Year: 
2010
Amount: 
$49,845
Project proposal Pi: 
David Strait, State University of New York, Albany, and Stefanka Ivanova, National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences