Academician Vassil Nikolov
He has spent his whole professional archaeological career at the National Archaeological Institute and Museum of The Bulgarian Academy of Science (NAIM-BAS) (1984-present). He became a Doctor of Philosophy in 1998; full professor in 1999; a department chair in prehistory from 1989 to 1999; an assistant director from 1999-2003; and the director of NAIM from 2003 to 2007. From 2003 to 2015 he was the Chairman of the Scientific Council of NAIM. During 1991 he was a part-time Director of the Directorate "Museum and Art Galleries" in the Ministry of Culture. He is a member of the General Assembly of BAS (2001-2008, as well as from 2017 to present) and is a member of the Administrative Board of BAS (2013- present). From January 2017 to January 2021, he is the Vice President of BAS.
He was born in 31.12.1951 in Byala Slatina. He has earned his B.A. degree from the University of Sofia "Kliment Ohridsky" in 1976 in history with a focus on archaeology. IN 1982 he defended his first doctoral dissertation, earning him the title Candidate for the Historical Sciences. During 1991-1993 he was awarded a stipend from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Institute of Pre and Early History and Near Eastern archeology at Saarland University, Germany. There, he earns his second doctoral degree in 1998, earning him the title of Doctor of the Historical Sciences.
He has very solid field experience which has allowed him to develop new methods in the research of prehistoric settlements and mounds. In addition, he has recognized and studied a new type of prehistoric site- the neolithic and chalcolithic pit sanctuaries. With his team, he has also found and excavated the oldest salt producing center in Europe, Provadiya-Solnitsata, and has studied the associated earliest fortification systems on our continent. His multiple-year excavations of settlement mounds result in significant contributions to the sciences, such as Karanovo (Bulgarian-Austrian teams), Kapitan Dimitrievo and Krun, the Neolithic settlements of Saparena banya, Kovachevo (Bulgarian-French teams), Eleshtnitsa and Mursalevo (as a co-director). Of special importance are his findings from the early Neolithic settlement Slatina, Sofia.
His period of interest span the Neolithic- Early Bronze Age (VI-III millennium BC) in the Bulgarian lands, northwest Anatolia, and southeastern Europe. He is the author of 11 independent and collaborative monographs, and of more than 300 articles and reports. His work has over 2500 know citations, with half of these by international authors. His scientific contributions concern different aspects of late prehistory: the origins of neolithic cultures in the central and eastern Balkans, neolithic ceramics, prehistoric architecture, specialized production technologies (including salt production), social complexity during the chalcolithic, the religious-mythological systems of ancient farmers, prehistoric pit sanctuaries, the earliest fortification systems in Europe, and more. He finds support for the hypothesis that the first European civilization developed on the lands of modern day Bulgaria. He presents the results of his findings to over 40 scientific international congresses and symposia of international both in Bulgaria and abroad.
His museum experience spans many years and is still active. As the director or NAIM, he puts much effort into the bettering of the condition of National Archeological Museum, as well as the renewal of its expositions. He has taken a role in the creation of eight scientific-museum galleries, successfully presented abroad. He has a rich experience in the organization of national and international scientific forums.
He is the main editor of the scientific journals Археология (a NAIM publication-BAS) and Старини - списание за балканска археология (1999 - 2005), the series Studia praehistorica (2004 - 2017, a NAIM publication-BAS), and Papers of BAS (since 2017, a multidisciplinary publication of BAS). He is part of the editorial staff at История (a publication of the Ministry of Education and Science), the annual Старинар ( a publication of the Archaeological Institute of Belgrade), and of the series КСИА-РАН (a publication of the Archeological Institute of Moscow). He is also the editor and co-editor of 20 anthologies with articles in Bulgaria and Germany, as well as the series Тел Караново in Austria.
He is also active in teaching. He was a visiting professor of classical archaeology for the Salzburg University. He has been giving lectures for more than 20 yrs in prehistory of the Bulgarian lands, southeastern Europe, and Anatolia in various universities in Bulgaria. He has given lectures in many foreign universities and institutes. He is one of the most active popularizes of the achievements of Bulgarian prehistory during the past years.
He is a member of a few Bulgarian and foreign institutions and organizations. He is a correspondent member of the Austrain Archaeological Institue- Viena, of the Center of Archaeology and History of the Cultures of the Black Sea Region (Hale, Germany). He is a honorable member of the Humboldt Association in Bulgaria, and was previously a chairman. He is an honorable member of the Institute of Archeomythology- Sebastopol, USA.
He has received the price for sciences of Municipality of Gorna Oryahovitsa, and is a ribbon winner of the Award of Achievement for the Federation of the Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz), 2008. During 2010 and 2013, he was named the "archaeologist of the year" by the Ministry of Culture. In September 2016 he was named an honorable citizen of Provadiya. He has received the honorary title "Golden Era" on a lavaliere by the Ministry of Culture on May 2017. In September 2017 he was named an honorary citizen of Sofia.