Photogrammetry Workshop

Period: Classical Greek and Hellenistic
Code: PHG 24
Session: 18 - 24 August, 2024
Academic credits available: 3
Cost starting from: 1499 EUR/approx. 1499 USD

The Project and the Course

General Information

Project type: Photogrammetry Workshop

The field school started: 2024   

Location: Emporion Pistiros, between the small towns of Septemvri and Vetren, Southern Bulgaria.

Project venue: Villa Velis is a tourist complex including a SPA hotel and a winery. It is located in the southern part of the village of Karabunar, 8 km from the motorway exit "Trakia" on the road to Velingrad.

Period(s) of occupation: Late Classical, Hellenistic (5th - 3rd century BCE)     

Major field school topics/activities: Technical Photography for Archaeological Excavations, Project Planning, Total Station Surveying, Terrestrial Photogrammetry, Aerial Photogrammetry, Photogrammetric Data Processing

BHF partners in this project: Septemvri Archaeological Museum "Prof. Mieczyslaw Domaradzki" and New Bulgarian University (Bulgaria)

Main instructor: Kristen Jones Ph.D. Candidate in Geography, MA in Classics and Archaeology, Queen's University, Canada

Field school coordinator: Dr. Angela Pencheva (PhD in Classical Archaeology), Balkan Heritage Program Manager 

Field school sessions available:     

  • Field school one-week session: 18 - 24  August, 2024

Application deadlines: until the places are filled or 18 July, 2024

Minimum length of stay for participants: one week

Minimum age: 18 (16, if the participant is accompanied by an adult family member)

Number of field school places available: Maximum 12

Project language: English   

Academic credits available: 3 ECTS credits are available through New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria. 

Experience required: No previous experience is required.

Special requirements: Participation in the project is not recommended for individuals with solar allergies or other special illnesses that might be exacerbated during intensive outdoor activities. The average summer temperatures in the area are 25-38° C (77 - 100° F) or higher. All participants should bring clothes and toiletries suitable for hot and sunny weather but should also prepare for possible rainy, windy and chilly days. 

The participants should have medical insurance including repatriation. The participants should inform the project staff about any health issues, allergies, and food preferences.         

The Site and the Excavation Project   

The ruins of an Ancient Greek trade center (emporion) in the heart of Thrace – on the left bank of Maritsa River (ancient Hebros), between the towns of Vetren and Septemvri, were discovered by Prof. M. Domaradzki in 1988. He started regular excavations and in 1990, his team found a stone inscription (known as "Vetren inscription") that helped the scholars identify the site as the Ancient Greek emporion named Pistiros. Merchants from Greek coastal cities of Maroneia, Thassos and Apollonia lived and traded there with their Thracian neighbors under the supreme protection of the Thracian Odrysian kings (the biggest and mightiest Thracian Kingdom at that time). Up to the moment Pistiros is the only certainly identified emporion in the heart of Thrace. That is why excavation of the site are significant source of information for the political, economical and cultural history of the Odrysian kingdom and Thrace in this period.

The emporion was also a major metallurgical center and a key harbor for export of metals and metal products from Thrace to Greece in the Classical and Early Hellenistic periods (from the middle of the 5th to the beginning of the 3rd century BCE). The trade contacts of the emporion are evident through finds of numerous imports such as Attic red-figured and black-slip pottery, amphorae (mainly Thassian) and coins (e.g. several hoards of copper, silver and gold coins found during the excavations - they represent the coinage of different Odrysian kings (e.g. Amatokos I, Bergaios, Kotys I, Amatokos II, Teres II, Kersebleptes, Teres II), Greek cities (Thassos, Maroneia, Parion, Thracian Chersonese, Enos, Apollonia, Messabria etc.) and Macedonian rulers (Philip II, Alexander the Great, Kassandros, Demetrios Poliokretes, Lysimachos etc.).

Most of the ancient authors and the majority of the modern scholars consider the cult of Dionysos rooted in Thrace. Apparently, it played a very important role in the emporion's religious life. For instance the Vetren inscription informs about the oath taken in the name of Dionysos by the Odrysian king: Kotys I (383-359 BCE) and his successor from the citizens of Pistiros - this is how they guaranteed the integrity of their lives, properties and activities in their town under the sovereignty of the Thracian kings.  

Pistiros history in brief:

  • around 500 BCE - Date of the earliest artifacts found on the territory of Pistiros.
  • 475 - 450 BCE - Date of the earliest Attic pottery found at the site - the foundation of Pistiros (like the foundation of the most Greek apoikias elsewhere) was probably preceded by various previous colonial economic and political activities. Greek economic and cultural penetration in the interior of Thrace was intensified after the Persian withdrawal from the Balkans following the battles of Marathon (490 BCE) and Salamis (480 BCE);
  • 450 - 425 BCE - Foundation of the emporion by colonists from the Aegean cities of Maronia, Thassos and Apollonia. Major structures and features of fortification and drainage system were constructed along with tracing and paving of the streets;
  • 370s BCE - Period of significant reconstructions in the emporion during the reign of the Thracian Odrysian king Kotys I;
  • 359 - 357 BCE - Citizens of Pistiros re-contracted their rights and obligations with the successor of Kotys I;
  • 350/345 BCE - The emporion suffered from the invasion of Philip II Macedon in Thrace;
  • 300 BCE - Devastation of Pistiros by the Celts;
  • 278 BCE - Massive invasion of the Celts in the Balkans: Ultimate devastation of the emporion. Afterwards the settlement lost its trading importance and turned into a metal production centre with local importance.         

So far, archaeologists have uncovered the eastern fortification wall of the emporion (having one gate, a tower, and a bastion - all built of stone blocks analogically to the Thassian fortification system), streets paved by stone plates, solid stone foundations of two buildings as well as an efficient drainage system. Buildings of different types are indicating at least two different chronological horizons of the site's existence. The investigation of their characteristic features and shapes, as well as the emporion's planning are among the major research questions concerning Pistiros.

The Field School

The Balkan Heritage Foundation has been conducting an archaeological field school since 2013. In 2024, a Photogrammetry Workshop will be opening that will introduce participants of all backgrounds to digital documentation techniques In the context of the ongoing archaeological research.

Photogrammetry is defined as the art and science of taking measurements from photographs. Over the course of five days, participants will learn how to plan projects, collect data, and process results through a combination of lectures, workshops, and field training with real materials on site and in a laboratory setting. This program will address computational photography and surveying for archaeological excavations starting from the basic optics of digital cameras and surveying instruments to combining these methods together to collect data in the field and process it for various 3D results. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to contextualize a digital documentation workflow from start to finish.   

The Field School in 2024 Includes the Following Main Topics:

  • Technical Photography for Archaeological Excavations
  • Project Planning
  • Total Station Surveying
  • Terrestrial Photogrammetry
  • Aerial Photogrammetry
  • Photogrammetric Data Processing         

Students who must prepare field reports and presentations for their universities can receive additional instruction and assistance.

All participants will receive:

  • Balkan Heritage Field School Certificate specifying the fieldwork hours educational modules, and sites visited
  • T-shirt.

The Team   

Instructors and Trainers:

  • Kristen Jones (PhD Student, Department of Geography & Planning, Queen's University, Canada)

Program learning outcomes


  • Total Station Set-Up & Operation
  • Terrestrial Photogrammetry
  • Aerial Photogrammetry with UAVs
  • Practicing Documentation Techniques


  • Photography with DSLR Cameras
  • Photogrammetric Project Planning
  • Data Processing
  • Using 3D Data for Analysis


  • Introduction to the Site of Pistiros
  • Advantages of Computational Photography & Surveying for Archaeological Excavation
  • Introduction to Technical Photography
  • Control Network & Surveying Basics
  • Principles of Photogrammetry

Guided Tours (covered by the participation fee):

  • Visit to the Ancient Town of Plovdiv         


Fieldwork with take place at the site   

Lectures will take place at Villa Terres or Septemvri Archaeological Museum   

Workshops will take place at the site, Villa Terres, or Septemvri Archaeological Museum

Field instructions and training will take place at the site

The Agenda


SUNDAY 18.08.24

Arrival & Welcome


MONDAY 19.08.24


Orientation, Presentation of the Balkan Heritage Field School and Collaborating Institutions, and Participants   

Lecture 1: Introduction to the Sites

Lecture 2: Advantages of Computational Photography & Surveying for Archaeological Excavation         



Lecture 3: Introduction to Technical Photography   

Workshop 1: Photography with DSLR Cameras

TUESDAY 20.08.24


Lecture 4: Control Network & Surveying Basics

Field Training 1: Total Station Set-Up & Operation   



Lecture 5: Principles of Photogrammetry

Workshop 2: Photogrammetric Project Planning

WEDNESDAY 21.08.24


Field Training 2 &3: Terrestrial Photogrammetry & Aerial Photogrammetry   



Workshop 3: Photogrammetric Data Processing

THURSDAY 22.08.24


Field Training 4: Practicing Documentation Techniques         



Lecture 5: Principles of Photogrammetry    

Workshop 4: Using 3D Data for Analysis

FRIDAY 23.08.2024


Presentation of Results   



Excursion: Visit to the Ancient Town of Plovdiv

SATURDAY 24.08.24

Departure day.    

Check-out by 12.30 pm.


   Reading Background


Albertz, J. 2007. A Look Back: 140 Years of ‘Photogrammetry’: Some Remarks on the History of Photogrammetry. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 504-506.          


Dallas, R.W.A. 1996. Architectural and Archaeological Photogrammetry. In Close Range Photogrammetry and Machine Vision ed. K.B. Atkinson. Wittles Publishing: Caithness. 283-302.         

Grussenmeyer, P., Hanke, K., & Steilein, A. 2002. Architectural Photogrammetry. In Digital Photogrammetry ed. M. Kasser & Y. Egels. Taylor & Francis, 300-339.


Jones, K., & Bevan, G. 2019. A Photogrammteric Workflow for Rapid Site Documentation at Stobi, Republic of North Macedonia. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Sciences XLII-2/W11, 631-658.

McGlone, J. & Lee, G., 2013. Manual of Photogrammetry Sixth Edition. ASPRS: Maryland.

Raykovska, M., Jones, K., Vasilev, I. 2023. A Photographic Documentation Workflow for Digitization of Cultural Heritage: the 14th Century Church of Sv. Nikola in Kalotina, Bulgaria. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Sciences XLVIII-M-2, 1287-1293.

Remondino, F. and Fraser, C., 2006. Digital Camera Calibration Methods: Considerations and Comparisons. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences 36(5), 266-272.

Wolf, P.R., Dewitt, B.A. and Wilkinson, B.E., 2014. Elements of Photogrammetry with Applications in GIS. McGraw-Hill Education.

Waldhaeusl, P., Ogleby, C., 1994. 3x3-Rules for Simple Photogrammetric Documentation of Architecture. International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing XXX(5), 426-429.    


See the reading list on the history of Pistiros here: Ancient Greeks in the Land of Dionysos - Excavation of Emporion Pistiros



Travel & Accommodation & Practicalities


Project venue: Villa Terres is located in the village of Karabunar, 84 km/52 mi away from the Bulgarian capital Sofia and just 8 km/5 mi away from "Trakia" motorway exit to Velingrad. The distance from the villa to the site is approx. 15 km/9,5 mi, approx. 15/20 min drive. Daily BHFS shuttle service is arranged for the participants to bring them to the site and back. The site has running water, electricity and a squat toilet.

The nearest air terminals: Sofia (Bulgaria, 84 km/ 52 mi) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria, 50 km/ 34 mi). If participants arrive at one of these airports, a transfer to Villa Terres in Karabunar may be arranged by request. Individual or group transfer prices may vary, depending on the number of passengers, from 25 to 100 EUR. Ask for details!

How to get there?: Participants who individually arrange their travel will be expected to arrive at Villa Terres on the arrival day by 7.00 pm. It may be reached by bus from Sofia (app. 1 ½ hrs). A detailed travel info sheet will be provided to enrolled students.  

Visa requirements: Citizens of EU, EEA, USA, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to visit Bulgaria for up to 90 days or any of Bulgaria’s neighboring countries, except Turkey. However, the Turkish government facilitates tourism by providing the option for obtaining an e-visa at www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. Citizens of all other countries may need a visa.The Balkan Heritage Foundation can send an official invitation letter that should be used at the relevant embassy to secure a visa to the program. For further details please visit our Visa information page.


Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation*: Villa Terres, Karabunar, Bulgaria - in comfortable rooms with two to three beds (bathrooms with shower and WC), equipped with a/c and TV in a local newly built hotel. The hotel has a small swimming pool and SPA, free of charge for the participants in the field school. There are cheap laundry services and free Wi-Fi is provided.  Extra night - 60 EUR (per night per person),  Single room - 750 EUR (for four-week period).   

 *Subject to change. May be substituted with similar level accommodation.

Meals: Three meals (fresh, organic Bulgarian homemade food) per day are covered by the reimbursement payment and usually take place in the hotel’s restaurant. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Brown-bag lunches during the excursions and days off.

Participants must pay on their own for extra days and for single room accommodation as well as for extra meals, beverages, services and products!


Free Time & Trips

Free time:  Possible leisure activities during the siesta and days off in and around Karabunar are: swimming / sunbathing at the hotel pool, hiking in the Rhodopi Mountains, wine-tasting at one of many local wineries, visiting local tourist sites, traveling by the narrow gauge train to Velingrad (popular and larger spa and wellness town) or shopping and sightseeing in the neighboring cities of Pazardzhik and Plovdiv.   


Technicalities & Practicalities

Insurance: The reimbursement payment does not cover insurance. It is mandatory to arrange your own health insurance before your trip to Bulgaria. The insurance must cover as a minimum the following risks: medical treatment in case of an accident or disease, as well as costs related to evacuation and repatriation. All EU citizens can use Bulgarian medical services, as long as they can provide evidence of their home-country health insurance with a card/certificate, etc.


Weather: South-European climate dominates in the field school area, making summers hot (30-40° C, 86-104° F). Rainy and chilly days in this season are rare but not excluded.


What to bring?

  • Camera: The program will have cameras available but participants are encouraged to bring their own cameras if possible. Suitable cameras include those that can be operated in a fully manual mode such as DSLR cameras or some mirrorless cameras. Cell phone cameras will not be suitable.
  • Computer: The program will have a demonstration computer available but it is strongly encouraged for participants to bring their own computer for the first hand experience with processing their data from the field. An external mouse and SD card reader is also strongly encouraged.
  • Software: The program will be utilizing software that is available for trial during the workshop. No software purchases will be necessary.


The Cost    


All field schools are conducted as non-profit projects by the Balkan Heritage Foundation, Bulgaria. Their costs, including students' costs related to participation in the field school are covered by the reimbursement payments made by field school students.

BHFS project reimbursement payment covers: Educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (hotel + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project handbook or readings, issue of Certificate of Attendance, administrative costs, travel related to the fieldwork and the excursions included in the field school program plus relevant entrance fees.

BHFS project reimbursement payment does not include: travel costs to and from the project venue or related to activities not included in the field school program; medical products and services and any expenses related to medical quarantine (food delivery, accommodation, etc.).


The costs in USD are approximate. Please check the current exchange rates!


Early Bird Cost -  until February 29, 2024:


Early Bird Cost for a four-week project session is  1499 EUR/ approx. 1499 USD


Regular Cost - after February 29, 2024:


The Regular Cost for a four-week project session is  1599 EUR/ approx. 1599 USD


All students registered for BHFS season 2020 should contact BHFS Admissions office at b[email protected] for further information about the conditions of their participation in season 2024. 

Reimbursement Transfer Options:

- Bank transfer
- Online transfers via the Balkan Heritage virtual POS Terminal. VISA, MASTERCARD & MAESTRO cards are accepted.      
Wise money transfer

For further information contact Admissions Office at: [email protected]!

 Discounts off the regular cost:

* 5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost available for:

  1. Participation in more than one BHFS project in 2024 (discount applies to the second, third, etc. project).
  2. Membership in the Archaeological Institute of America.

* 10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost available for:

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

* 12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost available for:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people who participate together in one BHFS project in 2024). The discount is valid for each participant.

* 15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular cost is available for:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people, who participate in more than one BHFS project in 2024 (the discount is valid for each participant).
  2. BHFS alumni, who participate in more than one BHFS project in 2024. (discount applies to the second, third, etc. project).
  3. BHFS alumni who attended a full project in the past and return to the same project.


For more information about scholarships, low-cost flights, hotels, etc. please feel free to contact us or look at our recommended links.

Academic Credits   


New Bulgarian University grants 3 ECTS credits to students for attending the one-week session. Transcripts of Records (ToR) are available upon request for an additional tuition fee of 200 EUR for EU students and 300 EUR for Non-EU students.

For details: Regulations for obtaining Transcripts of Records.

Participants in the field school who do not need academic credit units are not expected to pay for them.




Photogrammetry Workshop

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