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 International conference “Ancient Thrace”

“Researches of Ancient Thrace between Traditionality and Modernity:
Theoretical Aspects and Scientific Methodology”
11 – 13 April 2024, Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”


The studies of Antiquity in Bulgarian historical science have a long tradition since the foundation of Sofia University in 1888. Unfortunately, we have to admit that they have been largely devoid of scientific debate in terms of theoretical and methodological framework. The new millennium has added to the traditional disciplines of history, archaeology, numismatics, and epigraphy other key aspects of the interdisciplinary approach, such as archaeometric studies and digital humanities. With this background in mind, the team of the project “Measuring Ancient Thrace” (КП-06-Н50/3 from 30.11.2020) has organised an international scientific conference on the topic:

“Researches of Ancient Thrace between Traditionality and Modernity: Theoretical Aspects and Scientific Methodology”

The conference will be hosted at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Faculty of History, with invited speakers on key subjects. The conference is funded by the BNSF, Project № КП-06-МНФ/44 from 19.12.2023.

The aim of the conference is to provoke the scientific debate on traditional and new methodological approaches to the study of Antiquity and Ancient Thrace in particular. The discussion will be innovative for Bulgaria and for the research of ancient Thracian history, since after the establishment of Thracology as a historical discipline in the early 1970s such deliberate debates have not been held in Bulgarian historiography.

The conference will focus on the impact of the digital age on the understanding and interpretation of ancient Thrace. Discussions will be provoked on theory and methodology in the four key disciplines of historical knowledge – ancient history, archaeology, numismatics, epigraphy, but also in archaeometric research, and their relationship to digital technologies.

Part of the conference program and discussions is a workshop on ancient forgeries.

A separate workshop is dedicated to the results of the “Measuring ancient Thrace” Porject and the future developement of the Thracology in a digital environment.

Conference Program

11.4.2024, Thursday

9:00-9:30           REGISTRATION: Sofia University, North Wing, 2nd Floor, Conference Hall
9:30-10:00          WELCOME ADDRESSES
Moderator: Prof. Dr.Sc. Dilyana Boteva, President of the Organizing Committee

Section Ancient History

Moderator: Prof. Dr.Sc. Mirena Slavova

10:00-10:30The history of ancient Thrace between tradition and modernity
Peter Delev (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”) (plenary)
10:30-11:00Analyzing the texts of the ancient (and not only the ancient) authors: some methodological aspects
Dilyana Boteva-Boyanova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”) (plenary)
11:00-11:20The ‘early state’ and its main characteristics
Tsvetelin Stepanov (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
11:20-11:40The history of ancient Thrace, a field for methodological experimentation and epistemological reflection
Alienor Rufin Solas (Lorraine University)

11:40-12:00        DISCUSSION
12:00-13:30        Lunch break


Moderator: Prof. Dr. Peter Delev

13:30-13:50Treasuring the Ostentatious Past: Sensationalism, Historical Figures, and Identity Claims
Athanasios Sideris (Charles University, Masaryk University)
13:50-14:10Tertullian, de Anima 46 in the Context of Orphism: The Myth of the Dreaming Kronos and a Reconstruction of Aristotle’s Eudemus
Franziska van Buren (KU Leuven)
14:10-14:30The legendary beginning in the polis ideology in Thrace
Ivo Topalilov (Institute of Balkan Studies and  Center of Thracology)

14:30-15:00        DISCUSSION
15:00-15:15        Coffee break

Section Epigraphy & Linguistics

Moderator: Prof. Dr.Sc. Dilyana Boteva

15:15-15:45Measuring the Otherness: Non-Greeks among Greeks in Apollonia Pontica
Mirena Slavova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”) (plenary)
15:45-16:15Old and new approaches in epigraphy
Nicolay Sharankov (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”) (plenary)
16:15-16:35Ethne Thrakon in ancient Greek and Latin authors – What’s in a name?
Maria Gabriella Parissaki (National Hellenic Research Foundation, Institute for Historical Research)

16:35-17:00        DISCUSSION
17:00-17:15        Coffee break


Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivo Topalilov

17:15-17:35A database of Thraco-Bithynian epigraphic evidence in Bithynia
Onur Türkay, Ergün Laflı (Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi) Stefano Magnani (University of Udine)
17:35-17:55Structured metadata for the digital corpora of ancient epigraphic monuments from Bulgaria
Dimitar Iliev (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
17:55-18:15Unraveling the Threads of Thrace: A Text Mining Expedition in Pliny’s Natural History
Kristiyan Simeonov (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)

18:15-18:45          DISCUSSION
19:30                   Reception (Sofia University, Rectorate, Central Foyer)

12.4.2024, Friday

Section Archaeology

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivan Valchev

9:00-9:30The employment of digital tools in the study of ancient Thrace
Despoina Tsiafaki (Athena Research Center (Athena RC) (plenary)
9:30-10:00Semata. Unlocking strategies of visual communication in zones of cultural interaction in Thrace during the archaic and classical periods
Veronika Sossau (Basel University) (plenary)
10:00-10:20Assessing the line of sight and prominence of monuments in a regional context: quantitative methods and the thousand mounds of Yambol
Adela Sobotkova (Aarhus University)
10:20-10:40The excavation of precolonial Thasos (Limenas): a contribution to the history of Early Iron Age Thrace
Maguelon Bastide (Ecole française d’Athènes)

10:40-11:10        DISCUSSION
11:10-11:20        Coffee break


Moderator: Assist. Prof. Dr. Juliy Emilov

11:20-11:40A Newly Found Inscribed Block from Emporion Pistiros: A Boundary Marker or a Tombstone?
Emil Nankov (NAIM-BAS)
11:40-12:00From base to roof.
Towards an (im)possible reconstruction of the monumental building of the Basileia at Seuthopolis
Daniela Stoyanova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
12:00-12:20Surface survey for settlement pattern analysis: the case study of Velingrad in the light of the data on the sanctuary of Dionysus
Dimitar Bayrakov (History Museum-Velingrad)
12:20-12:40The functionalism in Bulgarian Archaeology
Stefan Alexandrov (NAIM-BAS)

12:40-13:00        DISCUSSION
13:00-14:00        Lunch break


Moderator: Prof. Dr. Habil Vladimir Stolba

14:00-14:20From Deultum to DigiDeultum
Lyudmil Vagalinski (NAIM-BAS)
14:20-14:40The Digital Early Iron Age Thrace: The Gluhite kamani research project
Georgi Nekhrizov, Nadezhda Kecheva et al. (NAIM-BAS)
14:40-15:00Between traditionality and Modernity. The IDig app and the web-MTAP app in Molyvoti, Thrace, Archaeological Project
Marina Tasaklaki (Ionian University) Nathan Arrington (Princeton University)

15:00-15:30        DISCUSSION
15:30-15:45        Coffee break

Section Numismatics

Moderator: Dr. Ulrike Peter

15:45-16:15Thracian numismatics in the light of the SILVER website (die-studies and overstrikes)
François de Callataÿ (Université Libre de Bruxelles) (plenary)
16:15-16:35Numismatic databases: history of Bulgarian interdisciplinary studies
Valentina Grigorova-Gencheva (Fibank, VUZF)
16:35-16:55Numismatics in the perspectives of the Geographic Information systems: GIS for die study
Ilya Prokopov (South-West University “Neofit Rilski”), w. contrib. Julia Tzvetkova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
16:55-17:15Grasping the Invisible. An Approach to Frontier Dynamics between Thrace and Macedonia
through Digital Numismatics and Archaeology
Hristina Ivanova-Anaplioti (University of Zurich)
17:15-17:35“Measuring the chronology”. Moesian countermarks from the 1st century AD and their archaeological context
Vladislav Zhivkov (NAIM-BAS)

17:35-18:00        DISCUSSION

13.4.2024, Saturday

Section Archaeometry

Moderator: Acad. Prof. Dr. François de Callataÿ

9:00-9:30Technical study and preservation of a group of ancient coinage from the Getty Villa Museum
Almoatzbellah Elshahawi (Egyptian Museum, Conservation Department) (plenary)
9:30-10:00Archaeоmetrical investigation of the ancient coins by p-XRF: an example from Ada Tepe (South Bulgaria)
Boyka Zlateva (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”) (plenary)
Deyan Lesigyarski (National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography – BAS)
Julia Tzvetkova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
10:00-10:20Silver coins from ancient cities of Aegean Thrace through XRF analysis
Marina Tasaklaki (Ionian University)
Nerantzis Nerantzis (Université libre de Bruxelles)
10:20-10:40Studies on ancient metalworking techniques
Svenja Simon (Saarland University)

10:40-11:00        DISCUSSION
11:00-11:15        Coffee break


Moderator: Prof. Dr. Lyudmil Vagalinski

11:15-11:35Magnetic and spectroscopic assessment of the provenance and technology of a set of Iron Age tiles from south Bulgaria
Deyan Lesigyarski*, Neli Jordanova*, Daniela Stoyanova**, Meglena Parvin***, Julia Tzvetkova**, Boyka Zlateva**
* (National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography-BAS)
**(Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)
*** (“Iskra” History Museum-Kazanlak)
11:35-11:55Ceramics – from the archaeological site to the scientific publication, the repository, the exhibition
Maya Nikolova (Septemvri Archaeological Museum “Prof. Mieczysław Domaradzki”)

11:55-12:30        DISCUSSION
12:30-13:30        Lunch break

Workshop 1: Ancient coin counterfeits

Moderator: Prof. Dr.Sc. Dilyana Boteva / Assist. Prof. Dr. Lily Grozdanova

13:30-14:00Scientific Methods for Detecting Counterfeit Coinage
Almoatzbellah Elshahawi (Egyptian Museum, Conservation Department)
14.30-15.00Restoration problems in plated coins from the archaeological site Emporion Pistiros
Emilia Koleva (RHM-Sofia)

15:00-16:00        DISCUSSION
16:00-16:30        Coffee break

Workshop 2: Measuring Ancient Thrace (MAT) Project

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Julia Tzvetkova

16:30-18:30From MAT to DigiThrace. Research on ancient Thrace in a digital environment
The MAT Team and friends

18:30        CLOSING
19:00        Reception (Sofia University, Rectorate, Central Foyer)

The conference is funded by the BNSF, Project № КП-06-МНФ/44 от 19.12.2023.

Funding Grants

Bulgarian National Scientifitc Fund, Project no. КП-06-МНФ/44 from 19.12.2023

“Measuring Ancient Thrace” Project no. КП-06-Н50/3 from 30.11.2020, financed by BNSF.

Ancient Coins Counterfeits Scientific Network


Sofia Universtity, Rectorate, 1504 Sofia, 15 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd.

North Wing, 2nd Floor, Conference Hall

Publication Guidelines

Submission deadline: 30 June 2024

The proceedings will be published within the series “Heritage BG”: https://www.nasledstvo.bg/en/research-announcements/about-periodical/.

Here you can find the adapted instructions and guidelines.