On 26 May 2021, Wednesday, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM at BAS) opened the exhibition “Stream Through Time: Rescue Archaeological Excavations along the Extension of the Gas Transmission Network of Bulgartransgaz EAD”. It presents over 400 finds from dozens of archaeological sites under the route of the gas pipeline and its accompanying structures.

The opening was attended by Mrs. Iliana Iotova, Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Assoc. Prof. Plamen Slavov, Deputy Minister of Culture, Prof. Nelly Koseva, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Prof. Julian Revalski, President of the Academy, diplomatic representatives and archaeologists. The event was hosted by Assoc. Prof. Hristo Popov, Director of NAIM-BAS.

“Stream Through Time is an exhibition of the results of several years of work of many people on the rescue excavations along the extension of the gas transmission network of Bulgartransgaz EAD. More than 470 km of linear routes, more than 120 archaeological sites recorded and investigated, more than 600 specialists involved in the investigations, invaluable new information and a huge wealth saved from the archaeological excavations, covering a historical span of more than 8000 years,” said the Director of NAIM at BAS Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hristo Popov.

“After the restrictive measures due to the pandemic, Bulgarians turned first to culture and science. This shows that Bulgarian society is made up of intelligent people who value their history, look to the future and are proud to be heirs of a country created by word and culture. I believe that we will soon restore the authority of Bulgarian culture which has been abandoned for years.” This is what the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliana Iotova said.

“This exposition is not like the other expositions you do here. It is truly unique because it shows the results not of targeted research but of what was along a route of several hundred kilometers and thus, we are enjoying artifacts that cover a huge period of Bulgarian history,” said Prof. Julian Revalski, Full Member of BAS.

The pipeline crosses Bulgaria and passes through 11 districts and 34 municipalities. More than 120 archaeological sites have been studied. Under the guidance of NAIM-BAS, specialists from more than 70 museums and universities from the country and abroad took part in the large-scale rescue excavations. The project was funded by Bulgartransgaz EAD.

The studied archaeological remains are diverse – settlements, necropolises, burial mounds, farms and production complexes, large fortifications and settlements in the hinterland of the old Bulgarian capitals – Pliska and Preslav. Finds from different eras – Prehistory, Antiquity, Middle Ages, Ottoman period and National Revival, with a chronological range of nearly 8000 years have been discovered. The information gathered brings a broad knowledge of what the people who inhabited these areas ate, where they came from, what their environment was like, what the climate was like, what crafts they practiced and how proficient they were in warfare. It makes it possible to date specific sites and events with an accuracy of up to decades.

The exhibition includes the most interesting objects from numerous studies. These include tools and household objects, pottery, weapons, jewelry, cult and religious objects from different historical periods, from the early Neolithic (6000 BC) to the National Revival (19th century). Gold and silver ornaments, cult figurines and vessels show visitors the development of various artistic styles in our lands.

“Stream Through Time: Rescue Archaeological Excavations along the Extension of the Gas Transmission Network of Bulgartransgaz EAD” is the fruit of the collaboration and partnership with 17 museums across the country: RHM Varna, RHM Veliko Tarnovo, RHM Vidin, RHM Vratsa, RHM Lovech, RHM Pleven, RHM Razgrad, RHM Ruse, RHM Shumen, Museum of Mosaics Devnya, HM Ihtiman, HM Lom, HM Panagyurishte, HM Pavlikeni, HM Polski Trambesh, HM Provadia, HM Svishtov. The exhibition has been realized with the support of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria and Arcade Consortium.

The exhibition will be open to visitors from 27 May to 19 September 2021 in the Temporary Exhibitions Hall of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum, 1, Atanas Burov Sq. It is dedicated to the centenary of the establishment of the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute.