the CromlehCall for volunteers

International workcamp

Archaeological excavations – Cromlech Old Zhelezare 2016

by CVS – Bulgaria 

Hisarya, Bulgaria 15 June  25 June 8 July

 We are currently looking for volunteers for a summer workcamp at the Cromlech at Old Zhelezare, also called the Bulgarian Stonehendge organized by a small civic organization in Bulgaria called Foundation “Save the Cromlech in Old Zhelezare”.


We appeal to people from home and abroad interested in the preservation of historical monuments for future generations who wish to volunteer for saving from destruction of megalithic monument cromlech – Thracian Observatory in ” Cholakova mound ” near Old Zhelezare.Small civic organization from Bulgaria, overcoming many administrative and financial difficulties over the past two years, was able to organize and finance by raising broad public donation fund the archaeological excavations for further research of an ancient 26th century old megalithic monument cromlech 24 stone stelae, called the Bulgarian Stonehenge. This happens more than 10 years after the initial discovery of the archaeological monument, during which it was abandoned by cultural institutions and wich led to come down to desolation and stay forgotten.


The excavations will continue from 15th of June till 8th of July. Two groups of 10 volunteers each, can join to the team of experts during this period. First group from 14 June till 25 June. Second group from 26 June till 9 July. Participation of a volunteer in both groups for the whole duration of the project is allowed.



Cromlech (from Welsh) is a term describing prehistoric and ancient megalithic structures. In English, it usually stands for dolmens, prehistoric single-chamber stone tombs. However, in some other European languages, including Bulgarian, French, Spanish, or Italian, cromlech stands for prehistoric megalithic structures known more commonly known in Enlgish as stone circles.

The Ancient Thracian Cromlech (Stone Circle) in the town of Staro Zhelezare – also known in the media as “the Bulgarian Stonehenge” – is a an Ancient Thracian megalithic observatory located 12 km away from the southern Bulgarian town of Hisarya, and 10 km southeast of the Thracian cult temple at Starosel. The Ancient Thracian cromlech in the town of Staro Zhelezare consists of 24 erect megalithic slabs (of which 2 are missing) of various sizes arranged in a proper circle. They are believed to have been used by the Odrysians (Odrysae), the most powerful Thracian tribe which created the Odrysian Kingdom. The stone circle was covered buried under a man-made moundknown today as Cholakova Mogila by the Thracians after they stopped using it. The mound itself is 45 meters in diameter, and the stone circle measures 6 meters in diameter.

Eligible partners

All partner and member organizations of SCI network.

Detailed description

Foundation “Save the Cromlech in Old Zhelezare” is a civil organization, which aims to save from destruction and reconstruction a unique ancient facility with the religious and astronomical function of age more than 26 centuries. This is cromlech (stone circle) with a diameter of 7 meters and 24 stone slabs arranged in a circle. Some of them have a ten-foot height. Almost like at Stonehenge. The Cromlech is one of the three found in Bulgaria and the only one in the world, buried under a mound, probably during the campaign of the Persian King Darius in Thrace in the VI century BC. According to research, the complex was built by the Thracian tribe Odryssae.

The volunteers will get acquainted with folk traditions, cultural and folk customs of the local community in the House of traditions in the village of Staro Zhelezare. Volunteers can see customs connected with Midsummer day of the Sun, displayed by local amateurs, Bulgarian folk customs and could visit the exhibition of folk costumes or paintings of local artists in the ethnographic museum in the village.

The initiative is published so far in more than 200 electronic and print media, among which and 3 television channels, who supported the project to restore the megalithic monument cromlech – Thracian Observatory in ” Cholakova mound “. The project of socializing Cholakova mound , prepared by the Foundation “Save Cromlech in Old Zhelezare” expressed interest and will of the local community. The project has received the full cooperation and support of the local municipality and the mayor of Old Zhelezare.

Future of the project

This is the first time in our country when a civic organization managed to overcome  all the bureaucratic obstacles and is willing and after completion of these excavations in 2016, the Foundation will continue next year with developing a project for its salvation, reconstruction and turning it into an object of international cultural tourism.


The Foundation will provide volunteers with working tools – shovels, buckets, brushes, sieves, spatulas, wheelbarrows. Instructions on how to use the tools will be given by the head of the archaeological team and the tasks for each day will be given to all.

The work will be on weekdays. It will start every day at 9:00 a.m. and will not exceed 7 hours including one hour lunch break. It will be possible to help on Saturdays. Volunteers will also be given raincoats and or sun hats depending on the weather conditions.

Profile of the volunteers

Young people willing to engage in field work to support the archaeological team for excavations. The field work will be associated with intense bending, squatting and alertness during the cleaning and removal of artifacts from the ground. People interested in ancient history, archaeology, local customs.

Camp coordinators

A person is appointed by the Foundation to be joining both groups who will take care for organizing the volunteers and ensure the delivery of products of their list for weekly food supplies, water and sanitation materials for the apartment in which the volunteers will be placed and the archaeological site, and implementation of applications for a hot meal in the evening, if any.

Also, a camp coordinator will be appointed by CVS – Bulgaria, who will take care of the communication between the Foundation and the volunteers, to support the volunteers in their daily needs, to organize the free time and to translate if needed.

Financial conditions


  • All travel costs are at the expense of the volunteers. SCI and CVS support eco-friendly traveling methods.
  • SCI insurance is included for all volunteers for the duration of the workcamp.
  • Three meals a day are covered by the hosting organization. Alcohol drinks are excluded by the menu and will be on the expenses of the volunteer.
  • Accommodation is provided by the hosting organization in a house, on the first floor, in 4 rooms and one bathroom/toilet.


How to apply

Send your application after a quick registration on and the link of the workcamp is:

Additional materials:

Short video:




Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question on the following e-mail address:





 Posted by Victoria at 12:30 Volunteer activities

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