Republic of Macedonia

Workshop for Surveying and 3D Archaeological Documentation

Period: Roman and Late Roman
Code: S3D.WRK.19
Session: 18 May - 1 June
Academic credits available: up to 6
Admission fee starting from: 1299 EUR (approx. 1519 USD)

The Project and the Course

General Information

Project type: Field School for digital archaeological documentation

Field school project started: 2019

Periods in the project's focus: 

Venue: Archaeological site of Stobi, Republic of Macedonia. The Hellenistic, Roman and Late Roman city was a significant urban center in Antiquity and capital of the Roman province Macedonia Secunda in the Late Antiquity. Stobi was included in the 2012 World Monuments Fund Watch list among the monuments with universal significance - Read more here!     

Major workshop activities:    

Documentation of active archaeological excavations using advanced surveying techniques, including RTK GPS, the Total Station, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), Photogrammetry and CAD. 

BHF partners in this project:  NI Stobi, Republic of Macedonia,  Queen's University, Canada 

Workshop director: Dr George Bevan, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University

Field school coordinators: Dr Angela Pencheva (Balkan Heritage Foundation & Field School Program Manager) and Dimitar Nikolovski, NI Stobi 

Chief Instructors:

Kristen Jones, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography and Planning, Queen’s University    

Dimitar Nikolovski, Archaeologist, NI Stobi 

Jovan Radnjanski, Archaeologist, NI Stobi   

Field school sessions available: 18 May - 1 June 2019

Application Deadlines: until the places are filled or 1 May 2019

Minimum length of stay: Two weeks

Minimum age: 18 

Number of field school places available: Maximum 9

Language: English   

Experience required: Yes (at least one season of archaeological excavation)


  • The admission fee does not cover insurance. It is necessary to arrange your own insurance before your trip to the Republic of Macedonia. All EU citizens can use Macedonian medical services as long as they can provide evidence of their home-country health insurance with a card, certificate, etc.
  • Participants are expected to bring a laptop, a mouse, a portable hard-drive with at least 500 gigabytes of space. Operation system recommended: Windows XP or newer, Mac OSX or newer.
  • Participants should bring clothes and toiletries suitable for warm and sunny weather (26 -36 C), but should also prepare for rainy, windy and chilly days.
  • Participants are also expected to prepare for the field school by reading the materials that will be sent by e-mail before the beginning of the project.
  • Participants will use the tools and equipment available and are not required to bring any additional equipment.

Special considerations: Note: Citizens of the EU, EEA, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand do not need an entry visa for the Republic of Macedonia. Citizens of countries not mentioned above should check in advance whether they will need entry visas for the country. The cost of any visas is not included in the price of the field school! For further details, please visit the website of MFA of Republic of Macedonia.


The Workshop

In 2019, the field school project will be hosted for the first time by the National Institution Stobi, Macedonia at the Roman city of Stobi (today an archaeological park). It provides a unique opportunity for students and volunteers to gain comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience in Surveying and 3D Archaeological Documentation.   

3D techniques have been rapidly adopted by archaeologists to document excavations and to visualize finds. This two-week field-school will equip students with the skills to go from photography and field surveying to final, publication-ready line-drawings (sections and elevations) in CAD. Photogrammetry, the art and science of measuring from photographs, will play a central role as this technique, with the advent of high-resolution digital cameras and inexpensive yet powerful personal computers, has emerged as the best solution in archaeology for generating 3D data. Students will learn how best to take images to document archaeological excavations using a combination of hand-held, pole and UAV (drone) photography. In particular, best-practices for safe UAV operation and automated capture of photogrammetry data will be given emphasis. In addition, the course will emphasize surveying techniques using GNSS (GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations), and the total station, to place this 3D data precisely within the coordinate system of the site using Ground Control Points.

In itself though, the 3D data generated by photogrammetry is insufficient for rigorous archaeological documentation. Conventional line drawings for sections and elevations, traditionally done by hand and required by most jurisdictions in any archaeological reports, are active steps in the interpretation of archaeological situations that should not, and often cannot be avoided. Students will learn how to create digital drawings from the 3D models using stereo-plotting (drawing in three-dimensions using 3D glasses and 3D-enabled monitors) and AutoCAD Map 3D. It is for this reason that all participants are expected to have at least one season of previous excavation experience as they should have some understanding of excavation practice.


By the end of the workshop the participants will:

  •   capture photographs suitable for photogrammetric processing
  •   create 3D models in photogrammetry software
  •   operate a UAV safely
  •   plan and perform automated mapping missions with a UAV
  •   create finished archaeological drawings using stereoplotting and AutoCAD Map 3D using photogrammetry data 

All participants will receive:

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


New Bulgarian University grants 6 academic credits to students for participation in the project. Transcripts are available upon request for an additional tuition fee. Contact the Admissions Office for details.


Archaeological and Historical Context

Why Stobi?    

The first historic records to mention Stobi are by the Roman historian Titus Livy (ca. 197 BCE). According to Livy, Stobi became an important center for salt trading after the Roman conquests of Macedonia and the establishment of Pax Romana. In 69 CE, Emperor Vespasian granted Stobi the rank of municipium and the right to mint its own coins. Stobi was not only an important salt trading center, but also strategically located at the crossing of the ancient roads that ran along the two rivers Axios and Erigon. The first road connected the North and the South of the Balkans as it does today, while the second to the southwest connected Stobi with Via Egnatia near Heraclea Lyncestis and to the northeast it continued to Serdica.

This commercial and strategic position brought Stobi long-term prosperity, especially in the period between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE. Several monumental buildings in the city are dated to this period: the Theater, the first City Wall, Porta Heraclea, Public Building with Arches (most probably the Stobi library), Casa Romana, the Synagogue, as well as the water supply system. In 267 CE, the city suffered Goth and Herule raids. At the end of the 3rd century Stobi was devastated by an earthquake. It was later rebuilt, but following a different urban plan. Most of the ruins visible today belong to buildings dated to this period.

During the 4th century CE, Stobi became an important Christian center and the seat of powerful bishops. In the 5th and 6th centuries CE, 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 CE. Some records mention a small Slav community that settled and lived there in later centuries. The last historical reference regarding Stobi describes the victory of the Byzantine troops over Stobi’s local militia during the 11th century CE.

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 began during 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 Belgrade 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 to 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 to 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 aimed to systematically excavate the south end of Stobi.

Despite all the excavation campaigns, only 15% of the territory within the city walls of Stobi has been excavated.

The Program


The two-week workshop session will provide a minimum of 80 astronomical hours of practical work, workshops/lab work, lectures/instructions and guided tours as follows:    

 Workshops and practical work 

  • Technical Photography
  • Terrestrial Photogrammetry Capture (camera settings, camera networks and calibration)
  • Total Station set-up and basic operation (tripod set-up, sighting, back-sight, resection)
  • Stakeout
  • GNSS set-up and operation
  • UAV safety and manual flight training
  • UAV flight planning and programmed missions
  • Site-scale photogrammetry and mapping
  • Building-scale photogrammetry and mapping
  • Excavation unit photogrammetry and mapping
  • Facade/Section photogrammetry and mapping   
  • Photogrammetric processing in 3DM Analyst, Agisoft Photoscan and Capturing Reality   
  • Stereo-plotting in 3DM Analyst   
  • Drawing and editing in AutoCAD Map 3D


  • History of Macedonia in Antiquity
  • History of Stobi
  • Basic Field Methods and Practices for Archaeological Documentation at Stobi (the locus system, hand-drawing, squares and sectors, finds-processing)
  • Principles of Total-Station Surveying (basic concepts and sources of error)
  • Principles of Satellite Positioning (basic concepts and sources of error; coordinate systems and datums)
  • Digital Photography Basics (Focus, Exposure, Colour)
  • Principles of Photogrammetry (Interior, Exterior and Absolute Orientation; Dense Stereo Matching)
  • UAV principles and operation
  • Aerial Photogrammetry 

Guided tours      

The Agenda


18 May

Arrival at the archaeological site of Stobi by 7.00 pm, check-in and registration.    

Welcome dinner

19 May

Presentation of the Balkan Heritage Field School, Queen's University, National Institute Stobi, the Project -  and visit to the Ancient Site of Stobi:     


  • History of Macedonia in Antiquity and of Stobi   
  • Architecture at Stobi

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Dr Angela Pencheva, Dimitar Nikolovski, Kristen Jones

20 May

Lecture: Digital Photography Basics (anatomy of the DSLR camera, the digital sensor, depth of field, diffraction, spatial resolution, field of view, Ground Sample Distance)

Workshop: Practical Photography in the Field

Lecture: Basic Field Methods and Practices for Archaeological Documentation at Stobi (the locus system, hand-drawing, squares and sectors, finds-processing)

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones, Dimitar Nikolovski

21 May


  • Drawing in CAD (basic principles)   
  • Tripod-setup in the field      

Lecture: Principles of Total-Station Surveying

Lecturers: Dr Geroge Bevan, Kristen Jones

22 May


  • Total-Station Set-up and Measurement   
  • Drawing in CAD (building-scale)

Lecture: Principles of Satellite Positioning

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

23 May


  • GNSS Operation and Additional Total Station Practice   
  • Drawing in CAD (excavation units; stone-by-stone)

Lecture: Principles of Photogrammetry

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

24 May


Guided tour to Pella and Vergina

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan

25 May


  • Terrestrial Photogrammetry (hand-held and pole)
  • Photogrammetry Processing

Lecture: UAV principles and operation 

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan

26 May

Excursion to Ohrid

27 May


  • UAV safety and manual flight training   
  • Stereo-plotting

Lecture: Aerial Photogrammetry

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

28 May


  • UAV automated flight   
  • Processing Aerial Photogrammetry

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

29 May


  • Photogrammetry of Facades/Sections   
  • Processing and Drawing Facades/Sections in CAD

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

30 May


  • UAV Practice   
  • Photogrammetric Processing   
  • Preparing Final Drawings

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

31 May


  • UAV Practice
  • Photogrammetric Processing
  • Preparing Final Drawings      

Final Presentations and Farewell Party

Lecturers: Dr George Bevan, Kristen Jones

1 June

Breakfast & Departure 

Reading Background


Agisoft Photoscan Professional Manual, Version 1.4: http:/ /

Blazhevska, S. and Radnjanksi, J. The Temple of Isis at Stobi. In Romanising Oriental Gods?, International Symposium Skopje, 18–21 September 2013, Aleksandra Nikoloska and Sander Müskens (eds.), Skopje, 2015, 215-256.

Matthews, N., Noble, T.. Aerial and Close-range Photogrammetric Technology: Providing Resource Documentation, Interpretation and Preservation. Bureau of Land Management. Technical Note 428, 2008.

Wiseman, J.R. and Mano-Zissi D. Stobi: A City of Ancient Macedonia, Journal of Field Archaeology, 3(3): 269-302, 1976.  

Travel & Accommodation & Practicalities   


The nearest airports: Skopje, Macedonia (80 km/49 mi) and Thessaloniki, Greece (160 km/100 mi.) Transfers to Stobi from these airports may be arranged by request.  Individual or group transfer prices may vary, depending on the 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 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) or Thessaloniki (Greece) - the stop is at Gradsko (5 km. away from Stobi), from there participants/visitors can 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 (13 km) and Kavadartsi (20 km) participants can take a bus to Gradsko or a taxi directly to Stobi.      

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 Republic of Macedonia for up to 90 days. 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: 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 and living room, 2 bathrooms with showers and WC. A washing machine and Wi-Fi are available for free at the site. 

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 & Trips


Free time: Films, sports games and visits to the neighbouring towns/villages are the options for the free time in the evenings.  


Technicalities & Practicalities


Insurance: The admission fee does not cover insurance. It is mandatory to arrange your own health insurance before your trip to Macedonia. There are hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in all the larger towns. Foreigners must pay for health services but might receive a refund if their home 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?   

  • A pair of working shoes (sneakers, running shoes) and a pair of comfortable shoes for walking/hiking;
  • Clothing suitable for an outdoor working environment: sun-hat and light clothes with long sleeves and legs (protecting from the sun and insects), including a light raincoat (consider weather conditions - hot and sunny, but rain may fall as well);   
  • Wide brim hat;   
  • Small backpack (for your water bottle, snacks, camera, etc.)
  • Medication - only prescription medicines you may need since you can buy all basic non-prescription drugs in Macedonia.
  • A converter to EU type electricity wall-plug if needed.
  • A good attitude for work, fun, study and discoveries



The Admission fee   


BHFS admission fee includes: Educational and fieldwork activities, full-board accommodation (boarding + 3 meals per day), tools, materials, project handbook and issue of Certificate of Attendance, administrative costs and excursions included in the field school program plus relevant entrance fees.

The price in USD is approximate.Please check current exchange rates! 



Early Bird - By January 31, 2019:


Early Bird admission fee is 1299 EUR (approx.1519 USD).  


Registration after January 31, 2019:


Regular admission fee is 1429 EUR (approx.1671 USD).    


Admission Fee Transfer Options:

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

For further information contact Admissions Office at [email protected]


Discounts off the regular admission fee:


* 5% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available for:

  1. Participation in more than one BHFS project in 2019 (discount applies to the second, third, etc. project).   
  2. Membership in the Archaeological Institute of America.

* 10% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available for:

  1. Participation in any BHFS project in the past.

* 12% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee available for:

  1. Group participation (three or more people, who participate together in one BHFS project in 2019). The discount is valid for each participant.

* 15% DISCOUNT OFF the regular admission fee is available for:

  1. Group Participation (three or more people, who participate in more than one BHFS project in 2019 (the discount is valid for each participant).   
  2. BHFS alumni, who participate in more than one BHFS project in 2019. (discount applies to the second, third, etc. project)

Note, 5% of every admission fee for this project directly supports the Balkan Heritage Protection Fund's activities!


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 6 ECTS credits to students for attending the two-week field school session. Transcripts of Records (ToR) are available upon request for an additional tuition fee. For details: Regulations for obtaining Transcripts of Records.



Republic of Macedonia

Workshop for Surveying and 3D Archaeological Documentation

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