The integration of archaeologists as global community is one of the main opportunities of rebirth of this discipline as a branch of humanity that contributes to revealing and creating cultural values to serve the majority of society. However, the organization of archaeology has the impact of national traditional and current strategies. Although this is true especially for the excavation projects, the nationality has very strong influence on the publications and the tendencies of development of the media communication of the archaeological information. Key regions for archaeology like Bulgaria have been experiencing a deep crisis because of the absence of willing of self-critical analysis and the use of these regions of career-like oriented western archaeologists who may do not care about global humanistic values being interested perhaps in eventual own career-applied benefit only. Does this situation help or hurt additionally global archaeology?
A typical instance would be the second issue of an electronic archaeological journal published from Bulgaria. One of the articles is on prehistory published in Bulgarian by Valeri Petrov. It attempts to clarify in a studentish manner megaterminology in settlement archaeology.
View Bulgarian e-journal of archaeology at be-ja.org/wp-content/uploads/Be-JA_2_2012.pdf
Having this text in an issue with editorial advisers like Anthony Harding, Clive Bonsall, John Chapman, Denver Graninger and even Douglass Bailey, one would expect that the published text will reach at least the average world level of publications which as a tradition is dreaming for majority of Bulgarian archaeologists since this field as a rule has been entered by people with thick connections. Typical instance is the main editor of the electronic journal Maria Gyurova who attended a course of Nikola Sirakov switching from Thracian archaeology in a moment when a concurs for PhD in Russia obviously was in the program of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. A few years later the same person at once even was hired at the Archaeological Institute without nobody seeing neither a monograph nor at least the defended in Russia dissertation (the current status of this very big problem is the same), but at a moment when Henrieta Todorova needed votes for a Deputy Director position. In other words, it is logical in a corrupted context to have low quality and certain disciplines to experience a deep crisis. The experiment with Lyudmil Vagalinski (backing a Bulgarian archaeologist for publications by wider group of non-Bulgarian academic writers) was unsuccessful – the result was just a personal career of Vagalinski who as a Director of National Archaeological Institute has continued the previous corrupted policy.
The current issue of the electronic archaeological journal has even more devastating results – western scholars have been backing the worst of the traditions in Bulgarian archaeological publications, as the article by Valeri Petrov shows. Four points of what usually the readers do not like when read Bulgarian archaeological literature follow:
1. As a tradition from the communist past, the selected for corrupted reproduction young archaeologists limit their references mostly to specific Bulgarian historiography (by usually citing one or two authors who have current power exclusively). In case of Petrov it is even a parody, since the topic is poorly theoretical – the use of megaterms in settlement archaeology.
2. The goal of such publications is not a critical analysis of the previous tradition in Bulgarian archaeology and scientific comparison with the world standards but a reproduction of this tradition under the umbrella of pseudocritical analysis. In fact, to have a critical analysis, the author needs to compare writings in Bulgarian archaeology with the best written on the topic in the world archaeology. Instead, there is more playing with words and concepts and not well articulated thoughts that neither help to define a problem nor to learn at least what is the state of research. Most importantly: the goal is specific authors to be reproduced positively, while others although most important for prehistoric settlement archaeology (but not liked by Vasil Nikolov and Henrieta Todorova, for instance) not to be cited even with one work. Emblematic is the instance with Stefan Chokhadzhiev who has a complete monograph based on settlement prehistoric archaeology which even had passed inner discussion for Hab. Dr. thesis and was stopped exactly by Todorova for public defense.
3. Typically in corrupted traditions, prehistory has been using as a term for general concepts without the given author to demonstrate even average general knowledge on the different epochs as a diachronic model (this crisis of the young authors was most “expressively” demonstrated by Bisserka Gaydarska in her PhD thesis). Prehistory has become a word without even minimum content in the cognitive capital of the authors who write about prehistory. Petrov had selected a few examples that can be used eventually for initial draft of definition of the problem, but he does not demonstrate any knowledge that can be a base really for a serious theoretical hypotheses and conclusions. This has been one of the most characteristic conclusions for the communist authors like Henrieta Todorova and Ana Raduncheva.
4. All statements and thoughts have narrative character and are based on narrative or not analytically scientific data.
Backing such publications, western academic authors in fact contribute not to increasing of the level of Bulgarian archaeological publications, but to decreasing of the western level of archaeology as an academic and humanity influential discipline. This sad for science fact can be named post-communist easternization of the western culture when western authors have been leaving behind the highest western criteria of science and consciousely contribute to the corruption of science in a global context.