The Bolgar archaeological expedition has operated since 1938, and its first supervisor was a renowned Soviet archaeologist A.P. Smirnov. In the years after the war starting with research the expedition was headed by R.F. Sharifullin. Of great significance to national archaeology is the fact that the expedition is involved in the research of a large centre of the Eastern Europe – the town of Bolgar with the period of its prosperity related to the operation of such state formations as Volga Bolgaria and the Ulus of Jochi (the Golden Horde).
These works have resulted in the publication of an outstanding number of papers and 5 collective monographs of the "Bolgar Town" series. Bolgar archaeological expedition is presently the largest expedition in Tatarstan which apart from specialists from the Institute of Archaeology of the AS RT annually comprises researchers from Russian scientific centres together with students and pupils. It functions in close cooperation with the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kazan Federal University, Bolgar Historical and Architectural Reserve.
Since 2010 works are carried out in Bolgar settlement and its neighbouring areas within the scope of a State Program "Revival of Great Bolgar and the Island Town of Sviyazhsk".
An important milestone summarizing the operation of the expedition was the publishing of "Bolgar Town" Atlas in 2013. The Atlas is an academic work which essentially represents a report by Tatarstan archaeologists and their colleagues from other regions on the research work conducted in the course of many decades related to the issues of the origination and development of the Golden Horde civilization as a part of the Turkic-Tatar world.