2013 Exavation Season

For the second summer ARCS Heraclea Sintica Field School continued at the Hellenistic and Roman town of Heraclea Sintica near the village of Rupite, Petrich in SW Bulgaria. The program targets exclusively undergraduate and graduate students based in the US universities. The students (10 in 2012 and 12 in 2013), who participated in the program, spent three days in Sofia, eight days across Bulgaria and three weeks digging at Heraclea. While the program is heavily focused on instruction in fieldwork methodology, the Field School also offers a series of lectures on scientific and non-destructive methods in archaeology and thematic sections about Bulgarian archaeology, supplemented with three field trips in Republic of Macedonia (Stobi, Strumica), Greece (Thessaloniki or Philipi and Amphipolis) and SW Bulgaria (Melnik, Sandanski, Blagoevgrad). All students produce final reports summarizing the excavation results. We are very fortunate to have Prof. Hallie Franks from New York University in the team, who has taken part in both seasons, as a field archaeologists and a lecturer. This year saw the introduction of academic credits for the program through a course (Archaeology and Field Practices – excavation and theory) offered by Prof. Mark Stefanovich through American University in Bulgaria. 

The Roman terracotta workshop in the craftsmen quarter with exposed architecture, AD 250-450, view from south (photo: E. Nankov)

The 2013 ARCS excavations concentrated again on the area adjacent to a late Roman terracotta workshop (see photo above), hoping to clarify phases of occupation, urban layout, and the use of urban space. The excavations focused on the northwest corner of a stone building of uncertain function, and forwarded our research goals through the exposure of two occupation layers, deposited in rapid succession, over a major destruction layer. This sequence promises to add nuance to the current understanding of the occupation sequence, which has been previously divided according to to four major periods.  Finds have confirmed the prominence of local terracotta production and have revealed, for the first time, the presence of high-quality interior decoration, including mosaics, painted plaster, and marble ornament.

Digging Heraclea: Work continues even when national TV arrives on site (photo: E. Nankov).

The Heraclea crew on the last day of excavations, June 27, 2013. Top row, from left to right: Jessica Heupel (Willamette University), Cole Sprouse (New York University), Hallie Franks (New York University), Sabina Ion (University of Cincinnati), Daniel Graves (Rice University), Rebecca Ficarro (Virgina Tech University), Caroline Wisler (University of Illinois), Molly Greenhouse (University of Maryland), Paul Cochran (University of Texas), David Eichert (University of Cincinnati), Sirma Alexandrova (National Archaeology Museum, Sofia), Amanda Salinas (Columbia University); bottom row, left to right: Ivo Cholakov (National Institute of Archaeology, Sofia), Chloe Lovelace (University of Tennessee), Sarah Iler (Virgina Tech University), Emil Nankov (American Research Center in Sofia), Lyudmil Vagalinski (National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Sofia).


Press releases and news coverage of ARCS Heraclea Sintica Field School, June 10-30 2013 (in Bulgarian), with the special appearence of Cole Sprouse.