Dr Rasho Rashev
Rasho Rashev is one of the most prominent contemporary Bulgarian archaeologists-scholars. He became a victim of a
deadly fire in train just before midnight on February 28 and was buried on March 4 in Shumen, Northeast Bulgaria.
Rasho Rashev was born in Ticha, Kotlen, on 12.11.1943. After graduating from the Veliko Turnovo University (1969) he
worked as a guide in the Archaeological base-museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Science in Preslav (1969-1972). In
1772-1775 was a head of the Archaeology Department in the Museum of History in Silistra.
Rasho Rashev entered the field of the archaeological science as a researcher of the Protobulgarians and gradually
became a leading specialist in this field as one of the most prominent Bulgarian scholars. In 1975 he was hired as a full-
time researcher at the Archaeological Institute and Museum, Shumen Branch where he worked till June 2007 as a senior
researcher. He was a head of this branch in 1992-1993.
Rasho Rashev received his PhD in 1978 and DrHab in 2001. Dr Rasho Rashev taught History and archaeology of the First
Bulgarian Kingdom in the Shumen University “Episkop Konstantin Preslavski”, in Varna Free University and in Veliko
Turnovo University “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”. He is one of the few Bulgarian archaeologists about whom we may say that
created his own archaeological school.
In June 2007 Dr Rasho Rashev became a Director of the National Archaeological Institute and Museum, Sofia. He began
to work in direction of increasing of the respectful image of this important institute from the first day of his new position. His
administration activities were characterized by extraordinary propriety and professionalism. His main project was to
organize the publication of three volume Archaeology of Bulgaria, to initiate a special fond for rescue excavations and
excavations with extraordinary importance, and to enrich the collection of the National Archaeological Museum. He initiated
the organization of annual archaeological exhibitions of the most important newly discovered archaeological finds ,
excavated not only by the archaeologists of his institute, but in collaboration with the archaeologists from the regional
museums in Bulgaria. He was trying to do his best for the financial independence of the archaeological scientific research.
According to Dr Rasho Rashev, the private collections were stimulating the treasure-hunters in the devastation of the
Bulgarian archaeological heritage, which had been flourishing in Bulgarian in the last few decades.
His main archaeological excavations were at Pliska – the Palace Complex (since 1972), the Inner and Outer town of the
First Bulgarian capital and its neighborhood (since 1974). He discovered the first remains of the earliest, Pre-palatial period
of the Bulgarian capital. Until his last days he remained the coordinator of the national program of the archaeological
excavations of Pliska by the numerous team. He also studied earth defensive systems and fortress, cult places and
cemeteries from the First Bulgarian Kingdom in NE Bulgaria, in the districts of Silistra, Razgrad, Varna and Shumen.
He is one of the authors of the new exhibition of the museum on-site in Pliska. He was a member of the Union of the
Bulgarian scientists. This year the National Archaeological conference will be in Shumen and all participants will visit Pliska
and its modern museum, to remember his contribution to the museum’s activity.
Dr Rasho Rashev published several monographs and more than 150 articles in the field of archaeology and history of
Protobulgarians till the 7th century, on Archaeology and History of the First Bulgarian Kingdom in the pre-Christian period.
Just several days before he left us came out his capital work “The Bulgarian Pagan Culture in VІІ – ІХ c.” List of his main
publications is published at:
Rasho Rashev was a wise man, a dreamer to create a friendly atmosphere for creative work in the institute and in the
The unexpected death of Dr Rasho Rashev came in time when he had hopefully already made invertible the process of
improvement of the Bulgarian archaeology, and his name will be placed at the beginning of a new stage of its development
after a long period of crisis and deterioration.
He will be greatly missed to all colleagues and his friends all over the world.
Diana Gergova, PhD
National Archaeological Institute and Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria
Lolita Nikolova, PhD
International Institute of Anthropology, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
|National Institute and
Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria
(submitted by Dr Diana
The deadly train, 28 FEb 2008, near
Cherven Bryag, North Central Bulgaria)
The Icon of the