The expedition has operated since 1964 and headed for 50 years by E. P. Kazakov. The Early Bolgar Expedition is involved in the studies of trade and craft settlements located at the confluence of large river arteries in Eastern Europe. These activities have resulted in the publication of several monographs by E. P. Kazakov.
The studies cover the territories which represented one of the key areas on the “Great Volga Route” in the Middle Ages and are presently subjected to an aggressive influence of Kuibyshev reservoir.
The monuments located in the mouth of the Kama river, despite the many years of their studying, continue to represent an important source of information about the events which have occurred in the territory of the Volga-Kama region. This is accounted for by an uneven exploration, as well as a large volume of archaeological sites, the only knowledge of which is their actual location.
In general, several dozens of archaeological sites are presently classified as early Bolgar monuments, in particular these are necropolises (ground and barrow), settlements (towns and individual communities).
The primary studies by E. P. Kazakov were concentrated in the area of Izmeri village in the Spassky District of the Republic of Tatarstan, which is most representative in terms of both the number and diversity of archaeological sites, and most exposed to the influence of the reservoir.
Dozens of new monuments have been partially or significantly excavated and uncovered during the operation of the expedition. The obtained findings contributed to the collection of the Museum of Archeology of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Bolgar Museum-Reserve, enriching our knowledge about the arrangement of the Volga-Kama territory, typology, chronology, history, culture and ethnic composition of the local population, economic relations with other territories, etc.
The Early Bolgar Archaeological Expedition is currently extending the scope of its activities with the involvement of new specialists, including natural scientists. Based on the specific features of the region’s location, the activities of the expedition are more of a salvage and rescue nature.