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Submarine Archaeological Heritage of the Western Black Sea Shelf

Funding Programme:

European Commission


Completion Year:

Contact Person(s):

Mr. Glicherie CARAIVAN

National Institute for Research and Development of Marine Geology and Geoecology (GeoEcoMar) (RO)

Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:

Romania-Bulgaria Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013, co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund


1.498 433.45 €

About the Project:

The HERAS project searches for the underwater heritage along the cross-border marine area from Constanta (RO) to Kaliakra (BG), by joint teams of highly-qualified experts, for the (future) benefit and welfare of local communities.

HERAS philosophy is aiming to foster sustainable businesses and at the same time knowledge of exisiting cultural heritage by the coastal stakeholders.

The General objective of HERAS is to develop the touristic potential of the Western Black Sea Shelf by identifying and promoting the resources of the common underwater multi-millenary cultural heritage resources. It takes into account existing advantages and disadvantages such as:

  • advantages: common multi-millenary history, existence of important underwater cultural heritage sites (both known and expected), existence of other unique attractions along the coast (starting from historical/archaeological sites, to natural protected areas, caves, mass tourism and recreational facilities).
  • disadvantages: very little existing knowledge of the common underwater cultural heritage, the absence of joint strategies for the sustainable development of the Constanta and Dobrich coastal areas.

Bringing together the expertise offered by research institutes, museums and a NGO specialised in scuba-diving, the joint scientific team offered enough skills to develop a coherent and detailed investigation plan, to help identify, define and analyse the significant existing objects of the underwater cultural heritage sites. An important result, which contributed to the development of specific businesses based on the particularities of the area, consists of a tourist management guide on the optimal usage of the underwater cultural heritage sites, in a sustainable and integrated manner along the entire Constanta-Kaliakra coastal area.

As a conclusion, by bringing together research institutes, museums and NGOs, new business opportunities can be created, by turning a current disadvantage (the lack of coherent information regarding the underwater heritage) into a specific regional attraction.


The results of HERAS project include:

  • Improved abilities and skills of at least 20 experts of the 5 partner institutions (geologists and oceanographers from GeoEcoMar and IO-BAS, archaeologists from the Museums of Constanta and Kavarna, representatives of Respiro);
  • Trained Scuba Diver instructors specialized in marine archaeology and training Scuba Divers
  • Developed maps and scientific reports of the underwater heritage sites for Constanta-Kavarna area (boroughs/ dwellings and sunken ships/shipwrecks);
  • Identified archaeological artefacts;
  • Permanent exhibition presenting the underwater cultural archaeological heritage sites on the Black Sea West Shelf. The exhibition shall also travel, on request, to other interested museums;
  • Upgradable GIS-format database with layers covering both sides of the border and which consists of underwater cultural heritage sites selected from the ones discovered, attractions of the existing cultural heritage on the coastal area, nature protection sites and spelaean sites, other recreational attractions;
  • Developed Tourism management plan for the underwater heritage sites;
  • Four scientific papers published in relevant international magazines;
  • Special book of the conference (printed and digital version), containing chapters on the methodology involved, discoveries, archaeological artefacts;
  • Brochures, posters, leaflets for a wider public – presenting the discoveries, as well the methods involved in the quest for the underwater cultural heritage sites;
  • A project-dedicated website;
  • Increased awareness about existing common underwater cultural heritage sites from Constanta to Kaliakra. Informed stakeholders, achieved project publicity, disseminated scientific information, functional website.

Access HERAS Book

Project partners

Lead Partner:

National Institute for Research and Development of Marine Geology and Geoecology (GeoEcoMar) (RO)

Blv. Mamaia, Nr. 304,

Constanta, RO-900581


Project Manager: Mr. Glicherie CARAIVAN

Telephone: +40-241-510.115

Fax: +40-241-690.366

E-mail: (glicheriecaraivan[at]yahoo[dot]com)


Partner 2

National History and Archaeology Museum of Constanta (MINAC) (RO)

Piața Ovidiu nr. 12,
Constanța, RO-900745


Tel./Fax: +4 0241 618 763

Tel.: +4 0241 614 562

+4 0341 408 739

E-mail: (minaconstanta[at]gmail[dot]com)


Partner 3

Institute of Oceanology - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BG)

40, First May Street,
Varna 9000, Bulgaria



Partner 4

Museum of Kavarna (BG)

1B, Chernomorska Steer
Kavarna 9650, Bulgaria

Tel.: +359  570 8 21 50


E-mail: (kavarna_museum[at]abv[dot]bg)


Partner 5

NGO “Respiro Underwater Research Society “Constanta (RO)

Blv. Tomis, No 29

Constanța, Romania

Tel.:+40 723 479 131; +40 723 619 308

E-mail: (info[at]respirosociety[dot]com)