SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL available for this project by November 30, 2014 - see details below!

Project type: field school (excavations). The variety of activities and team flexibility make this project suitable for either beginners or advanced in Field Archaeology. 



Period(s) of occupation: Late Hellenistic, Roman, Late Roman (Second century BC - Sixth century AD)

The nearest air terminals: Skopje, Macedonia (80 km) and Thessaloniki, Greece (160 km) - don't forget checking the low cost  flight options!  If participants arrive by plane to these airports, a transfer to Stobi may be arranged by request. Individual or group transfers' price may vary depending on both distance and number of passengers from 30 to 110 EUR.
How to get there? Stobi is located in the center of the Republic of Macedonia. It can be easily accessed by: 1. travelling by bus or car on the highway E-75 (from Athens, Greece to Belgrade, Serbia and Central Europe  across Macedonia) - the highway exit STOBI is just in front of the site's entrance; 2. catching a bus/train from Skopje (Macedonia), Thessaloniki (Greece) - the stop is at Gradsko (5 km. away from Stobi), from there participants/visitors could get a taxi to Stobi or request a free pick-up available from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm on the arrival day (please ask for details); 3. from neighbouring towns of Negotino (15 km) and Kavadartsi (20 km) participants could get on a bus to Gradsko or on a taxi directly to Stobi.



Sessions' dates:
Field school session 1: 27 June - 11 July, 2015
Field school session 2: 11 July - 25 July, 2015
Application Deadlines:
For Session 1: 15 May 2015
For Session 2: 1 June 2015
Minimum length of stay for volunteers: 1 session (two weeks)
Minimum age: 18 (16, if the participant is accompanied by an adult family member)
Number of field school places available: Maximum 20
Language: English
Experience required: No
Special requirements: The project is not recommended for individuals with solar allergies or other special illnesses that might be exacerbated during the intensive outdoor activities. The average summer temperatures in the area are 25-35 C or higher. All participants should bring clothes and cosmetics suitable for hot and sunny weather. Bear in mind that chillier days are very rare but not uncommon. All participants are expected to get prepared for the dig by reading (at least) the BHFS handbook chapter about archaeological excavation techniques and methods (the BHFS e-handbook will be sent by e-mail to all registered students before the beginning of the project)! Participants will use the tools and equipment available at the site and are not expected to bring any additional equipment.

The Site: For more than a century the ancient city of Stobi has been attracting scientists from all over the World to reveal its secrets. The first reported excavations started during the World War I by German officers and the archaeologist F. Krischen.

Periods of excavations:

  • 1923 to 1940 - Excavations, directed by Balduin Saria and R. Eger, Kj. Truhelka, V. Petkovic, J. Petrovic, Dj. Mano-Zissi - the National Museum, Serbia;
  • 1955 to 1969 - Excavations carried out by the Archaeological Museum of Skopje and the Agency for Protection of Monuments of Culture, Macedonia;
  • 1970-1980 - Excavations, directed by Dj. Mano-Zissi and J. Wiseman - the Museum of Veles, Macedonia, University of Austin, Texas, and later Boston University - both from USA.
  • 1992 -1995 - rescue excavations by the Agency for Protection of Monuments of Culture, Macedonia;
  • Since 2008 a large-scale excavation campaign has begun aiming to complete the excavation of all the buildings that were only partly unearthed and to uncover new areas of the site.

Despite all the excavation campaigns only 15% of the territory of Stobi, that is surrounded by the city wall, has been excavated.

The historical references and archaeological excavations provide an evidence of continuous occupation of Stobi rooting to the Archaic (sixth century BC) and Classical period (fifth-fourth century BC). The first historic records that mention Stobi are by the Roman historian Titus Livy, and concern the period of the second century BC, when (in 197 BC) the Macedonian king Philip V defeated the Dardanians in the vicinity of Stobi. According to Livy, after the Roman conquests of Macedonia, Stobi became an important center for salt trading. In 69 AD Empreror Vespasian granted Stobi the rank of municipium and the right to mint its own coins. Salt trading and the strategic position between two rivers on the cross-road of the ancient road along the Vardar valley and the branches of Via Diagonalis and Via Egnatia, brought to the city long-term prosperity between the first and the third centuries AD. Several monumental buildings in Stobi are dated to this period: the Theater, the first City Wall, the Gate of Heraclea, part of the Forum Romanorum, Casa Romana, the Synagogue and the water supply system. In 267/269 AD the city suffered from raids by Goths and Herules. After their devastating attacks, Stobi was rebuilt, but following a different urban model. Most of the ruins visible today belong to buildings dated to this period. In the fourth century AD Stobi became an important Christian center and seat of mighty bishops. In the fifth and sixth century, Stobi was the capital city of the Roman province Macedonia Secunda, but suffered from the raids of Huns, Ostrogoths, Avars and Slavs. An earthquake in 518 AD marked the beginning of the end of urban life in Stobi. Some records mention a small Slav community that settled and lived here in later centuries. The last historical reference regarding Stobi is about the victory of the Byzantine troops over the military crew of Stobi in the eleventh century AD.

The Field School: In 2010 the field school project was concentrated on the Western Necropolis (in use from the first century BC to the fifth century AD) and the temple of Isis dated to the second and the third century AD. The excavations between 2011 and 2013 took place in the Northern Residential Area of Stobi, inhabited mainly in the Late Antiquity. The participants in 2014 Field School  excavated part of the most representative, residential building in Stobi the so called "Theodossian Palace", located in the center of the ancient town, between the streets of Via Principalis Inferior and Via Principalis Superior. The name of this richly decorated with mosaics building, was applied by the assumption that the emperor Theodosius I was accommodated here during his visit of Stobi in 388 AD. The excavations during the field school in 2015 are planned at the same spot.

Two field school sessions are available in 2015, each composed by the following three modules: fieldwork including excavation, maintaining a field journal on a daily basis, filling out context sheets and labels, drawing elevation plans/ ground plans/ cross cross-sections, 3D positioning of finds, taking coordinates with a level device, and taking photographs at the site; lectures, workshops and field trainings in Classical and Field Archaeology, finds' processing and documentation (including pottery drawing, cleaning, sorting, conservation and restoration of artifacts) and  excursions to the old towns of Bitola, the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis as well as to Ohrid and Ohrid lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site). (Refer to the Course Program and Agenda below!).

The participants who join the two project sessions (1&2) will be able to   develop further their skills and competences regarding the archaeological field work and finds' processing, gained during the first two-week session. They will:
  • attend a number of extra lectures and workshops for analyzing, recording, illustration and conservation of archaeological artifacts (esp.Roman pottery and glassware);
  • attend a 5-day workshop on advanced digital imaging and surveying for archaeological and architectural recording alongside the excavation (it is optional and covered by the admission fee), taught by Canadian professor Dr. George Bevan (Queens University, Canada). Students will continue to excavate in the morning session but will have the option of additional training in Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and photogrammetry of small finds such as coins or ceramics in the afternoon as well as of larger-scale features in excavated units on site. Further training will be given in the operation of a Total Station and the establishing of a survey control network on site.
  • participate in a field survey and site recording in the vicinity of Stobi;
  • take a trip during the project to Skopje (covered by the admission fee) and to the ancient Macedonian capital Pella and the royal burial complexes in Vergina (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Greece (optional, not covered by the admission fee). 

After the field school the participants could join also the optional 5-day trip to Athens and Delphi, Greece.

All participants will receive:
  • Project handbook (in PDF version by e-mail and a hard copy on arrival);
  • Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate specifying the fieldwork hours, educational modules, and sites visited. 

CREDIT HOURS: New Bulgarian University grants 6 credits to students for participation in one project session and 9 credits for participation in two sessions. Transcripts of Records (ToR) are available upon request for an additional tuition fee. For details please read the BHFS Regulations for obtaining ToR!

Collaborating Universities & Institutions: the Balkan Heritage Foundation, Bulgaria; NI Stobi, Republic of Macedonia; Queen's University, Department of Classics, Canada and New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria.



Dig Director: Silvana Blazhevska (Director of NI Stobi, archaeologist)
Project Coordinator: Angela Pencheva (Balkan Heritage archaeologist, PhD student at Humboldt University-Berlin, Germany)

Visiting Professor: Dr. George A. Bevan (Ass. Prof., Department of Classics, Queen's University, Canada);  

Instructors, Trainers and Area Supervisors:
  • Jovan Radnyanski (archaeologists, NI Stobi);
  • Goce Pavlovski (archaeologists, NI Stobi);
  • Zlatko Kovantsaliev (archaeologists, NI Stobi);
  • Bilyana Jankulovska (conservator, NI Stobi).



Lectures (L), Workshops (W), Field Instructions & Trainings (FIT) and Guided Tours (GT):
  • History of Ancient Macedonia (Hellenistic, Roman and Late Roman period) (L);
  • History of Ancient City of Stobi and Excavations in Stobi (L);
  • Roman and Late Roman Architecture (L);
  • Roman Mosaic Art in Macedonia (L);
  • Typology of Roman Pottery with Examples from Stobi (L)
  • Early Christianity in Stobi (L);
  • Basic Field Methods and Practices for Excavation and Documentation (FIT);
  • Introduction to the Field Journal; Contextual Sheets, Log Book and Other Forms (FIT);
  • Use of Tools and Working Techniques (FIT);
  • Three Dimensional Positioning of Finds, Features and Structures (L);
  • How to Use a Dumpy Level? (FIT);
  • Stratigraphy: Horizontal, Vertical and Chronological (L);
  • Field Graphic and Photographic Documentation:
    • Scale-drawing of: Ground-plan/Elevetion-plan/Cross-section  (FIT);
    • Photography for Archaeologists (FIT);
  • Excavations Preparation. Preliminary Indoor Research (L);
  • Field Reconnaissance Survey. Geophysical (Electrical and Magnetic) Methods in Archaeological Reconnaissance Survey (L);
  • Excavation Completion. Post Excavation Work and Analyses. Excavation and Reconnaissance Survey Report (L)
  • From the Field to the Storage: Review of Basic Methods for Uncovering, "First Aid", Consolidation in Situ, Cleaning, Sorting, Labeling, Documenting and Storing Ceramic Artifacts (L);
  • Basic Principles of Finds Processing (W);
  • Artefact Recording and Illustration in Archaeology: Pottery shards (W);
  • Bitola and Heraclea Lyncestis (GT).

Only for students in the two project sessions (1&2)

  • Basic Methods for Uncovering, "First aid", Consolidation in situ, Cleaning, Sorting out and Storing of Numismatic Artefacts (W);
  • Introduction to the Basic Methods and Techniques of Ancient Pottery Restoration and Conservation (W);
  • Production of Roman Glass - Basic Techniques and Forms (L);
  • Field survey and site recording in the vicinity of Stobi (FIT + fieldwork);
  • Technical photography (L);
  • RTI capture and processing (L, FIT);
  • Photogrammetry capture and processing (L, FIT);
  • Practical total station operation (L, FIT);
  • Tour of Skopje (GT).
  • Pella and Vergina (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Greece - optional (GT).
  • Tour of Athens and Delphi, Greece optional (GT).



First day

Arrival in Stobi by 7.00 pm. Registration and check-in. Traditional welcome dinner.

Participants, who travel by bus/train will be picked up from Gradsko bus/railway station. Pick-up transfer from one of the nearest airports: Skopje (Macedonia) and Thessaloniki (Greece) is available upon request!

Second day

Presentation of the Balkan Heritage Foundation and Field School, National Institute of Stobi, the project and participants. Ice-breaking game.

Sightseeing of the archaeological site of Stobi, LECTURE and orientation walk in Gradsko and the town(s) nearby.


Working days

6.00am - 6.40 am - Breakfast

6.40am - 1.00 pm - Fieldwork with 30-min break*.

1.00 pm - 5.00 pm - Lunch and siesta break.

5.00pm - 5.45 pm - Lectures/ Workshops

6.00pm - 7.30/8.00 pm - Finds' processing. Workshops.

8.00pm - 9.00 pm - Dinner.

* In case of rain, the project envisions indoors activities such as finds processing and documentation workshops as well as films.

Everyday fieldwork starts with short (up to 30-40-min.) training/instructions, that  cover different aspects of field methods and practices.

Afternoon lectures and workshops are in the area of Roman and Late Roman History and Archaeology, finds processing and archaeological documentation, including advanced digital imaging and surveying for archaeological and architectural recording.



Visit to Bitola and the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis. 

Optional excursion to Pella and Vergina, Greece on 11 July, 2015 and Tour of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia on 18 July, 2015.



Visit to Ohrid and Ohrid lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site).


Last day

Departure after breakfast.

Drop-off lifts to: Skopje (Macedonia) and Thessaloniki (Greece) are available upon request!

The archaeological base at Stobi


Accommodation and Food: Participants will be accommodated in the recently renovated air-conditioned cabins at the archaeological base next to the ancient ruins of Stobi, in rooms with two to three beds. Every cabin has 4 bedrooms + living room, 2 bathrooms with showers and WC. A washing machine and Wi-Fi are available for free. Three meals (fresh, homemade food) per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) at the base's premises. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. 
Free time: Films, sport games and visits to the neighbouring towns/villages are the options for the free time in the evenings. Guided visits to the town of Bitola, the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, Ohrid and Ohrid lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site) will be organized for all field school participants. Tour of Skopje is available only for participants in the two project sessions. All are covered by the admission fee.
Extra trips and excursions:
1-day excursion (not covered by the admission fee) to Pella and Vergina (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Greece on the 11th of July 2015 for an extra fee of 80 EUR. 

5-day excursion to Athens and Delphi, Greece25 - 29 July, 2015, organized by GoBalkans Ltd. (Bulgarian travel agency).



The Admission fee includes educational and fieldwork activities, tools, materials, Project Handbook, issue of Certificate of Attendance, full-board accommodation (including three meals per day), excursions/sightseeing tours/entrance fees and administrative costs.

SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL by November 30, 2014 (includes 15% discount off the admission fees)!

Super Early Bird Admission fee for one project session is 1104 EUR / app.1419 USD*.  SAVE 195 EUR / 260 USD* 

Super Early Bird Admission fee for for two project sessions is 2208 EUR / app.2849 USD*.   SAVE 260 EUR / 340 USD*

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL December 1, 2014 - January 31, 2015 (includes 10% discount off the admission fees)!

Early Bird Admission fee for one project session is 1169 EUR / app.1479 USD*.   SAVE 130 EUR / 169 USD*

Early Bird Admission fee for for two project sessions is 2338 EUR / app.2969 USD*.   SAVE 130 EUR / 169 USD*

REGULAR Admission Fee after January 31, 2015:

The regular admission fee for one session is 1299 EUR / app.1688 USD*

The regular admission fee for two project sessions is 2468 EUR / app. 3208 USD* (including 5% discount for participation in 2 project sessions!).

*(please check current exchange rates!)

Admission fee transfer options (for further information contact Admissions Office at

  - Bank transfer
On-line transfers  



5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:

  1. Participation in more than 1 BHFS project or project session in 2015. (5% discount is valid for all projects/sessions to be attended).
  2. Membership in the Archaeological Institute of America.

10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:

  1. Participation in any BHFS project/s in the past.

12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people, who participate together in one project session in 2015 (the discount is valid for each participant)

15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee is available in case of:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people, who participate together in more than one BHFS project or project session in 2015 (the discount is valid for each participant for all projects/ sessions to be attended).
  2. BHFS alumni, who participate in more than one BHFS project or project session in 2015. (15% discount is valid only for the second, third etc. project/session to be attended).
  3. BHFS alumni, who participated successfully in at least two sessions of this project in the past.


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