The National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences covers the complete study of the culture of tribes and peoples who have occupied present day Bulgaria from the remote past until the 18th century. NAIM-BAS is a national center and coordinator of all field research in Bulgaria and exercises scholarly and methodological control on it. The Museum of Archaeology hosts the most numerous collections in Bulgaria and its exhibitions reveal it as one of the most important centers in the country for promotion of the cultural heritage of present day Bulgaria. Its academic and museum potential turns NAIM-BAS into the biggest research archaeological unit in southeast Europe. NAIM-BAS was established in 1949 as a follower and successor of the Department of Valuables – part of the Library established in Sofia in 1878-1879 and reformed into a National Museum in 1892 – and the Bulgarian Institute of Archaeology (1921), which was the first academic institute in Bulgaria.
With view to the specific features of its subject matters, NAIM-BAS consists of the following structural units: five chronological and subject departments (Department of Prehistoric Archaeology, Department of Thracian Archaeology, Department of Classic Archaeology, Department of Medieval Archaeology, Department of Numismatics and Epigraphy), a Problematic Group (Department for Interdisciplinary Research), two Branches for excavations at the Old Bulgarian capitals (in Shumen and Veliko Tarnovo) and a Museum of Archaeology. The structure of the Museum of Archaeology was changed in 2003 in order to improve its efficacy: two departments – Exhibitions and Depositories – were set up. The research, administrative, economic and financial issues at NAIM-BAS are serviced by several service units (Editorial Group, Archives, Accountant’s Office, Secretariat). Dr. Lyudmil Vagalinski, Associate Professor, is Director of the NAIM-BAS, Dr. Hristo Popov, Associate Professor, and Dr. Maria Reho, Associate Professor, are Vice-Directors, and Dr. Andrey Aladzhov, Chief Assisstant, is acting Scientific Secretary.
Currently, the academic staff of NAIM-BAS consists of 67 people: 8 Doctors of Science, 59 PhD, 7 Senior Research Associates 1st degree, 38 Senior Research Associates 2nd degree, 13 Research Associates 1st degree, 6 Research Associates 2nd degree, 2 Research Associates 3rd degree.
Various activities of NAIM-BAS are performed in close collaboration and interaction with the museums in the country, state institutions (Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education and Science, National Institute of Cultural Monuments), regional and local executive authorities and various nongovernmental organizations.
The research of scholars and specialists at NAIM-BAS in 2004 was done within a number of projects supported by national and international funds. There are 27 projects supported by national funds, 21 of them supported by BAS budget, and the rest supported by contracts with the National Science Fund (3), National Power Company (1), Roads Executive Agency (1) and Bulgarian National Railway Company (1). The international cooperation includes research projects with contracts of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (9) and the Institute of Archaeology and Museum (9).
The fieldwork of the archaeologists at NAIM-BAS in 2004 included regular, rescue and emergency archaeological excavations and field surveys at more than 100 sites dated from the early Paleolithic to the late Ottoman period.
Usually, the archaeologists at NAIM-BAS participate and contribute to 100 or 150 international, national or regional academic venues in Bulgaria and abroad.
The list of publications of the archaeologists at NAIM-BAS in 2004 consists of 415 entries: books and studies, articles and reviews published in authoritative editions in Bulgaria and abroad. NAIM-BAS publishes 14 periodicals and series and only one of them – Arheologia (Sofia) – is partially supported by BAS.
Specialists working at the NAIM-BAS provide training to young archaeologists. In 2004, 38 archaeologists from NAIM-BAS were teaching at 5 universities. Their activity included 83 lecture courses, 10 training projects and a seminar, covering over 3000 academic hours. By the end of 2004 there were five PhD students at the NAIM-BAS.
NAIM-BAS has other activities as well related to the functions of the Museum of Archaeology: taking an inventory of the finds kept in the Museum’s depositories as well as the new finds from recent excavations, preparation and opening of permanent or temporary exhibitions, restoration, conservation and photo documentation, updating the find lists and descriptions. Besides, specialists from various departments at the NAIM-BAS take part as authors, co-authors, consultants or reviewers in the creation of new exhibition concepts at museums all over the country.
Promotion and popularization activities of the NAIM-BAS team include script writing for popular science films and documentaries, participation in broadcasts for archaeology, numerous interviews for national and local newspapers and magazines as well as for electronic media.