This project is included in the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans
Project type: field school & archaeological excavation. The variety of activities and the team's professionalism and flexibility make this project suitable for both beginners and advanced in either Field or Roman Archaeology. Individual program and task assignment are available to advanced students.
Site and venue: Archaeological site of Stobi is near the village of Gradsko, Republic of Macedonia. Stobi was included in the 2012 world monuments watch list among the monuments with universal significance - read more here!
Period(s) of occupation: Hellenistic, Roman, Late Roman (Second century BC - Sixth century AD)
Period in the project's focus: Roman, Late Roman (Second century - Sixth century AD)
Collaborating Universities & Institutions: Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF), Bulgaria, National Institution Stobi, Republic of Macedonia, and Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA, Queen's University, Department of Classics, Canada and New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria.
Dig director: Silvana Blazhevska (MA in Archaeology), Director of National Institution Stobi
Field School Coordinator: Angela Pencheva (Balkan Heritage archaeologist, PhD student at Humboldt University-Berlin, Germany)
Visiting professor: George A. Bevan (PhD), Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Queen's University,Canada.
Field school session 1: 27 June - 11 July, 2015
Field school session 2: 11 July - 25 July, 2015
For Session 1 and 1+2: 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
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 prepare 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.
If you are interested in an even more comprehensive experience with classical antiquity, check our project pack ANCIENT GREEK AND ROMAN PACK combining 2 different Balkan Heritage Field School Projects!
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 Emperor 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 that ran along the two rivers Axios and Erigon 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, Public Building with Arches (most probably the Stobi library), Casa Romana, the Synagogue and the water supply system. In 267 AD the city suffered from raids by Goths and Herules and after devastating earthquake at the end of the 3 AD 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. The constant threat of barbarian raids, as well as certain climatic changes lead to the gradual abandonment of the city in the second half of the 6th century AD. 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.
Periods of excavations:
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 Hald and later on Krischen.
1923 to 1940 - Excavations, directed by Balduin Saria and R. Eger, Kj. Truhelka, V. Petkovic, J. Petrovic, Dj. Mano-Zissi - the Belgarde National Museum;
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;
The National Institution Stobi was founded in December 2008 and since 2009 a large-scale excavation campaign the aim was to systematically excavate the south end of Stobi.
Despite all the excavation campaigns only 15% of the territory of Stobi that is surrounded by the city wall has been excavated.
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 when he visited Stobi in 388 AD. The excavations during the field school in 2015 are going to continue at the same spot.
Two field school sessions are available every year and each includes the following three modules:fieldwork, including excavation of Roman and Late Roman layers and structures: practicing basic excavation techniques and developing of archaeological field documentation by maintaining a field journal on a daily basis, filling context sheets and labels, drawing an elevation plan/ a ground plan/ a cross-section, 3D positioning of finds, taking coordinates with a dumpy level, as well as taking photographs at the site; lectures, workshops and field training in Roman and Field Archaeology, Finds' Processing and Documentation as well as excursions to to the old towns of Bitola, the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis as well as to Ohrid and Ohrid lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
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:
After the field school the participants could join also the optional 5-day trip to Athens and Delphi, Greece.
All participants will receive:
Instructors, Trainers and Area Supervisors:
50 astronomical hours of fieldwork per session;
25 astronomical hours ofLectures (L), Workshops (W), Guided Tours (GT) and Field Instructions & Trainings (FIT) during the first session:
Only for students in the two project sessions (1&2)
|Fieldwork - expect to
perform all types of fieldwork at the site, from digging and brushing to
mapping and sampling as well as finds processing along with lab work.
Lectures will take place at the cabins and the site.
Workshops will take place at the cabins and the site.
Field instructions and training - will take place at the site.
Arrival in Stobi by 7.00 pm. Registration and check-in. Traditional welcome dinner.
Participants, who travel by bus or by train will be picked up from Gradsko bus station or Stobi railway station.
A pick-up may be arranged from one of the nearest airports: Skopje (Macedonia) and Thessaloniki (Greece) upon request.
Arrival dates: Session 1 - 27 June, 2015; Session 2 – 11 July, 2015
Meeting time/point on arrival date: 8.00 pm at Stobi
Presentation of the Balkan Heritage Field School and collaborating universities & institutions, the project and the participants. Ice-breaking and orientation.
Sightseeing of the archaeological site of Stobi, LECTURE and orientation walk in Gradsko and the town(s) nearby.
Field survey for the participants who are attending the two project sessions.
6.00 am - 6.40 am - Breakfast
6.40am - 1.00 pm - Fieldwork with 30-min break*.
1.00 pm - 5.00 pm - Lunch and siesta break.
5.00 pm - 5.45 pm - Lectures/ Workshops
6.00 pm - 7.30/8.00 pm - Finds' processing. Workshops.
8.00 pm - 9.00 pm - Dinner.
* In rare cases of rain, the project program envisions substitute activities including finds processing workshops and film projections.
** Lectures and workshops in the area of Roman and Field Archaeology.
The BHFS team could organize/assist organization of various leisure activities for participants during their free time such as hiking, wine-tasting, movies etc.
Visit to Ohrid and Ohrid lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Departure after breakfast.
A drop-off may be arranged to the airports in Skopje (Macedonia) and Thessaloniki (Greece)upon request.
Departure dates: Session 1 - 11 July, 2015; Session 2 - 25 July, 2015
Anderson-Stojanovic, V.R. Stobi, The Hellenistic and Roman Pottery, 1992, Princeton University Press.
Boardman, J., et al. (ed.) The Oxford History of the Classical World. Oxford & New York,1986.
Brown, P. The World of Late Antiquity AD 150-750 (Library of World Civilization). Norton & Company, 1989.
Errington, R. M. A History of the Hellenistic World: 323-30 BC. Wiley-Blackwell 2008.
Errington, R. M. A History of Macedonia. Barnes Noble, 1994.
Grant J., Gorin S. and Fleming N.. The Archaeology Course Book: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. Routledge. 2008.
Renfrew, C. and Paul B.. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. New York, 2006.
Wiseman, J.R. and Mano-Zissi D.Stobi: A City of Ancient Macedonia, Journal of Field Archaeology, 3(3): 269-302, 1976.
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 neighboring towns of Negotino(15 km) and Kavadartsi (20 km) participants could get on a bus to Gradsko or on a taxi directly to Stobi.
Accommodation: 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.
Meals: 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.
Participants must pay on their own for extra meals, beverages, services and products! There is no option for single room accommodation at Stobi!
Free time: Films, sport games and visits to the neighboring 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:
Please follow the links above for excursion details and information on how to join!
Insurance: The admission fee does not cover health insurance. It is necessary to arrange your own insurance before your trip to Macedonia! There are hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in all the larger towns. The service is good and prices are moderate. Foreign tourists must pay for health services,but might receive a refund if their native country has signed the Health Insurance Convention with Macedonia (you should check this information with your Ministry of Health).
Weather: Moderate continental climate dominates in Stobi. Summers there are usually hot (up to 40-45 C; 100 – 110 F). Rainy and chilly days in this season are rare but not excluded.
What to bring?
The Admission fee includes: educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (hotel + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project Handbook, issue of Certificate of Attendance, excursions/sightseeing tours/entrance fees and administrative costs.
The price in USD is for orientation. Please check current exchange rates!
Super Early Bird Admission fee for one project session is 1104 EUR / app.1239 USD - SAVE 195 EUR / 220 USD
Super Early Bird Admission fee for for two project sessions is 2208 EUR / app.2479 USD. - SAVE 260 EUR / 300 USD
Early Bird Admission fee for one project session is 1169 EUR / app.1309 USD - SAVE 130 EUR / 150 USD
Early Bird Admission fee for two project sessions is 2338 EUR / app.2629 USD - SAVE 130 EUR / 150 USD
The regular admission fee for one session is 1299 EUR / app.1449 USD
The regular admission fee for two project sessions is 2468 EUR / app. 2779 USD (including 5% discount for participation in 2 project sessions!).
Admission Fee Transfer Options:
- Bank transfer
- On-line transfers via the Balkan Heritage virtual POS Terminal VISA, MASTERCARD & MAESTRO cards are accepted.
For further information contact Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org!
* 5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:
* 10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:
* 12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available in case of:
* 15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee is available in case of:
Note, 5% of every admission fee for this project directly supports the Balkan Heritage Protection Fund's activities!
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 Regulations for obtaining Transcripts of Records!
Tuition fee: starting from 282 EUR for six ECTS credits / 423 EUR for nine ECTS credits