One hundred years of archaeological studies in Sozopol

The archaeological treasures of present-day Sozopol were first documented in complex field survey along the Southern Black Sea and Strandzha, conducted by Czech scholars Konstantin Ireček and the Shkorpil brothers at the end of the 19th century.

The first excavations in the city and its surroundings were carried out in 1885 by P. Gofas – Greek consul in Burgas and Prince B. Shakhovsky – Russian consul in Burgas. The French Consul in Plovdiv – Degran researches areas in ” St. St. Kirik and Julita” Island as the results were published by G. Seure, director of the Louvre Museum.

The beginning of a thorough scientific study of the cultural heritage of ancient Apollonia is set by Bogdan Filov in 1912 – 1913 and Vasil Mikov, who in 1924 renewed the study of “St. St. Kirik and Julita” Island.

The first large-scale archaeological excavations on the territory of the city and the necropolises of Apollonia took place between 1946 and 1949 initiated by the National Archaeological Institute with Museum, led by Theophil Ivanov, Ivan Venedikov and Todor Gerasimov.

During the sixties of the 20th century, excavations in the necropolises of Apollonia were carried out by Mikhail Lazarov and Georgi Boyadzhiev. From this period is also the first large expedition for underwater archeological researches in the area between Sozopol and Cape Maslen nos, led by Ivan Galabov.

In the late seventies and eighties Mikhail Lazarov, Maria Tsaneva and Bozhidar Dimitrov made a remarkable contribution to the archeological studies of Sozopol and the costal Strandza.

The Institute of Thracology, led by Alexander Fol, conducts archaeological excavations of the Thracian fortresses along the Meden Rid, the “Skirmiani Expedition” and studies of the megalithic monuments in Strandzha, published in the “Megaliths in Thrace”.

During this period, the Center for Marine History and Underwater Archeology was established in Sozopol. The first underwater archaeological excavations at the mouth of the Ropotamo River, the Kiten Bay and the waters of the Sozopol port are also being carried out. Bozhidar Dimitrov, Ivan Karaiotov, Ventsislav Popov, Kalin Porozhanov and Hristina Angelova have made a significant contribution to the underwater exploration of Sozopol.

In the last few decades, complex and large-scale archaeological excavations have been carried out on the territory of the ancient polis with the participation of National Historical Museum – Sofia, Regional Historical Museum – Burgas and Archaeological Museum – Sozopol. More than 2,000 graves from the necropolises in the Kalfata, Kolkita, Solinariya and Sea Garden areas have been studied. Long-term excavations in different periods are carried out under the leadership of Bozhidar Dimitrov, Krastina Panayotova, Dimitar Nedev and others.

The annual rescue excavations conducted by Tsonya Drazheva and Dimitar Nedev in the ‘90s contribute to the studies of the urban environment of Apollonia and the Medieval Sozopol. Since 2003 two successful archeological missions have been completed to explore the necropolis and surrounding territory of Apollonia Pontica, in collaboration with the Department of Archeology of Aix-en-Provence and the Louvre Museum, France.