Department of History and Archaeology
The foundations of historical education and science at the University of Plovdiv were laid in 1993 by introducing the course in ‘Bulgarian Language and History' and the establishment of the Department of History in 1995. Their development and successful implementation are due to the efforts of the first Head of Department – Assoc. Prof. Iv. Djambov, as well the members of the Department who joined him later on – Assoc. Prof. V. Petrova, Assoc. Prof. V. Petrusenko, Assist. prof. R. Komsalova, Assist. prof. D. Mitrev and Assist. prof. T. Radev, including professionals in related fields of the humanities and managers at various levels of the university structure, among whom the names of Prof. Iv. Kutsarov, Prof. N. Balabanov, Prof. O. Saparev, Prof. A . Kartalov, Assoc. Prof. I. Chobanov, Prof. D. Petkov should be mentioned.
The degree course in ‘Bulgarian Language and History' is available both as a full-time and a part-time mode of study. Initially, the training lasted for five years and graduates of the programme received the degree of ‘Master', but after changes in the then-operating regulations concerning Higher education, the training in the discipline was reduced to four years and successful graduates receive the degree of ‘Bachelor'. Our curricula are in compliance with the state standards and include training in all basic and fundamental historical disciplines. In this respect this relatively young major is supported by the Faculty of History at the University of Sofia and the University of Veliko Turnovo.
The successful development of the degree stimulated the Department to initiate another major project – the establishment of a BA degree in ‘History'. To this aim, in 2002 the Academic Council at the University of Plovdiv launched the procedure for an initial assessment of the prospect of opening the new degree before the NEAA. The Accreditation Council at the NEAA gave a positive assessment of the project submitted and as a result the degree received its initial accreditation. Thus, Plovdiv, which is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and Europe, got the opportunity to develop a degree entirely dedicated to history. Parallel to this, the Department of History became the initiator for the establishment of another programme – ‘Balkan Studies'. The popularity and prestige of the historical trend is evidenced not only by the large number of graduates, but also by those who have already realised their potential in society. A rather significant number of our graduates have made careers in research as assistants and PhD candidates, not only at the University of Plovdiv but also in the most prestigious research units of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Alongside the establishment of history education the Department has also been recruiting a growing body of staff members specializing in all the necessary fields of different historical disciplines. Within the first ten years of its existence the Department of History has been transformed from a minor unit into an important university structure which already comprises: one professor, five associate professors, three chief assistant professors (including one ‘doctor of historical sciences' and 7 who have obtained their PhDs). A. Kuzmanova L. Spassov and K. Markov have joined the Department. In order to enrich the learning process, several of the leading specialists in Bulgarian history have been contracted as visiting staff, among whom: Professor. DSc P. Angelov, Prof. DSc D. Bakalov, Prof. DSc J. Nikolov, Prof. DSc C. Tapkova-Zaimova, Prof. DSc St. Petkova, Prof. DSc G. Stoyanov, Prof. R. Kusheva, PhD, Assoc. Prof. Pl. Pavlov and many others. It should be especially noted that the maintenance of academic records, the overcoming of technical difficulties and successful communication within the Department are due largely to the secretaries of the unit – Vladislava Georgieva (1995-1998) and Sen. Exp. historian Valentina Stefanova (from 1998 onwards). The Department of History is actively involved in training graduate students in various fields of historical science. In the period since its establishment the Department has supervised the work of four regular and two part-time PhD students, in addition to three PhD candidates on self-study basis, of whom five have successfully defended and obtained their PhDs – D. Borisov, M. Marinova T. Bistrashki, R. Pendzhekova and D. Arnaoudov. The prestige of the unit and its teaching potential are a good basis for successfully raising the qualification profile of its members. Four habilitat studies have been carried out (followed by promotions to 3 associate professors and 1 professor), two procedures for obtaining the degree of ‘Doctor of Historical Sciences' and another two for obtaining PhDs.
The Department of History has also developed a wide in scope research programme. The Department has been the initiator and participant in national workshops with international participation, organized with the support of ‘Open Society' Sofia and the Institute ‘Open Society' – Budapest. It has also been the co-organizer of the international conference in Byzantine Studies held in 2001 in Plovdiv, the Jubilee Conference in Karlovo (2003), among others. Its members actively participate in various international academic meetings in Greece, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Austria. In 2005, in connection to the tenth anniversary since the establishment of the Department, a Jubilee international scientific symposium was held, which welcomed more than 90 participants from leading research centres in the country, as well as scientists from Italy, Greece, Turkey, Russia, among other countries.
The Faculty of Philosophy and History was set up in 2004, with the Department of History and its teaching staff playing a significant role in its establishment. The new structure administrative arrangement, in which the Department of History is an integral part, allows for more specialized training and extensive opportunities for the development of education and research in history. The historical-archaeological field in the faculty begins to assert itself as a highly respected and sought after educational centre for the training of good specialists. In order to strengthen the positions of the Department, since 2004 two new associate professors (Il. Petkova and B. Belegov) and four senior assistant professors (Pl. Slavov, S. Katzarov T. Bistrashki, St. Popov) have been employed.
In order to ensure the quality of training and the development of scholarly potential in the direction of ‘history and archaeology', in 2008 two new departments were formed – ‘General History and Archeology' (led by Assoc. Prof. Ivan Djambov) and ‘History of Bulgaria' (headed by Assoc. Prof. Vesselina Petrova-Tchompalova).
Archaeological field training has occupied an important place at the University of Plovdiv for a number of years. Ever since the foundation of the major in ‘Bulgarian Language and History', archaeological excavations have been conducted led by Assoc. Prof. Djambov and always with the active participation of students. Several archaeological excavation sites can be shown as an example – the objects in Anevo Fortress and Hisarlaka near the town of Sopot; the fortress in Borovitsa near the dam of Kardzhali, the excavations near the village of Iskra, Purvomai municipality and many more. An integral part of this activity is the organization of annual exhibitions under the heading ‘Archaeological summer.' The interest in archaeology has prompted the members of the Department to set up a new course in ‘Archaeology'. Another major reason is the archaeological and cultural-historical wealth of Thrace and its main centre – Plovdiv. Thus in 2008, the first class of students in Archaeology was accepted. The establishment of this major was the first challenge for the new Department of General History and Archaeology, which is an important step towards the affirmation of the historical and archaeological orientation of University of Plovdiv.
Since May 2012 the two departments ‘General History and Archaeology' and ‘History of Bulgaria' have been united in a common Department of History and Archaeology whose faculty consists of 18 full-time lecturers.
The Bachelor programmes administered by the Department are ‘Archaeology' (full-time) ‘History' (full-time and part-time), ‘Bulgarian Language and History' (full-time and part-time) and Master's programmes in ‘History and Civilization of the Old and New World', ‘Diplomacy and International Relations', ‘Archive Studies and Documentaries: Informational Security', ‘Bulgarian History in Balkan and European Contexts' and ‘Institutions and State Traditions'.
From 2015 begins reception of candidates for the Master`s program "Archaeology and archaeological heritage" - for specialists and for non-specialists.