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Excavations of Stobi (The Capital of Macedonia Secunda)

Location: Stobi, Gradsko, Macedonia, Macedonia

August 3, 2013 to September 1, 2013

Session dates: 
Session 1: 3 - 17 August 2013 Session 2: 18 August - 1 September 2013

Application Deadline: 
Monday, July 1, 2013

Deadline Type: 
Exact date

Discount for AIA members: 
5% off the regular admission fee.

Program Type

Field school



National Institute of Stobi (Macedonia), New Bulgarian University and the Balkan Heritage Foundation (Bulgaria)

Project Director:

Silvana Blazhevska, Director of NI Stobi

Project Description

For more than a century the remarkably well preserved city has been attracting the interest of archaeologists from all over the World. The first excavations started during World War I by German officers and the archaeologist F. Krischen. In the 20th century the site has been excavated by archaeologists from the National Museum of  Serbia, Archaeological Museum of Skopje, the Museum of Veles (Macedonia), University of Austin, Texas, Boston University (USA), and since 2008 by the National Institute Stobi (Macedonia).

Despite the excavation campaigns only 15% of the territory of Stobi, surrounded by  the city wall, has been excavated. In 2010 the National Institute Stobi, New Bulgarian University and Balkan Heritage Foundation launched a field school participating and supporting the city’s exploration. The last three field seasons the participants worked at  the Western Necropolis of Stobi (first century B.C.- fifth century A.D.), at  The Temple of Isis (second and the third century A.D.), at the Northern Residential Area ( Roman and Late Roman period).

The site offers excellent opportunities for practicing fundamental archaeological field activities: excavating of complex situations, analyzing stratigraphical sequences, creating and organizing field documentation (journals, locus sheets, graphic and photo documentation, etc).

Two field school sessions of the project are available in 2013, each including the following activities:

Participants, who join the two project sessions will have different schedule during the second session, including:

All participants will receive:

  1. excavations
  2. finds processing (drawing, sorting, analyzing, conservation, restoration, etc);
  3. lectures on Classical and Field Archaeology;
  4. excursions to historical sites: the old towns of Ohrid (UNESCO World Heritage Site),

Prilep and Bitola, the ancient city of Heraclea Lyncestis  (Refer to the Course description and Field School agenda on project website!).

  1. Workshops for: 1) Conservation and Preservation of Roman mosaics, 2) Documentation of Roman coins and 3) Conservation and Restoration of Roman pottery
  2. Field survey in the vicinity of Stobi
  3. Extra lab work related to the finds' processing and documentation
  4. Optional excursion to Pella and Vergina in Greece;

Project handbook (in PDF version by e-mail and a hard copy on arrival);

Field School Certificate specifying the fieldwork hours, educational modules, and sites visited.

Period(s) of Occupation: Late Hellenistic, Roman, Early Byzantine (Second century B.C. - Sixth century A.D.)

Stobi, the capital of the Roman province Macedonia Secunda, is among the best preserved ancient sites in the Balkans. Remains of the Archaic (sixth century BC) and Classical period (fifth-fourth century BC), discovered by the excavations, point to the earliest periods of Stobi's history. After the Roman conquest of the Southern Balkans Stobi became an important urban center due to its strategic position between the branches of the two major roads in South Eastern Europe – Via Diagonalis and Via Egnatia. The trade with salt, cereals and other goods brought long-term prosperity; in 69 AD Emperor Vespasian granted Stobi the rank of municipium and the right to mint its own coins. In the fourth century AD Stobi became an important Christian center and bishop seat. Later on in the 5th AD, it became the capital of the province Macedonia Secunda. During the Early Byzantine period the town suffered from the devastating invasions of Huns, Ostrogoths, Avars and Slavs. A severe earthquake in 518 AD marked the end of Stobi’s life. It was abandoned and gradually buried in oblivion. The excavations of the site revealed excellent examples of Roman and Early Byzantine archaeology: Forum Romanum, Theater, City’s fortification, a Synagogue (evidence for an active and wealthy Jewish community), several Early Christian basilicas, public and private buildings, streets, aqueducts, necropolises, etc. The field school emphasis is on: 1) field work (digging, keeping a field journal, filling context sheets, drawing ground plans and cross-section, 3D positioning of finds, etc). 2) finds processing (drawing, sorting, analyzing, conservation, restoration, etc); 3) lectures on Classical and Field Archaeology; 4) excursions to historic sites in the region. Academic credits available. Discounts off the admission fee available!

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 session (2 weeks)

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

Experience required: 
No, but all participants are expected to have some (at least theoretical) background in archaeological field techniques and methods.

Room and Board Arrangements

Participants will be accommodated in cabins at the site, in rooms with two to three beds (recently furnished, air-conditioned, Wi Fi). Each cabin has 4 bedrooms, 1 living room, 2 bathrooms with shower and WC. Washing machines are  available. Participants are not expected to bring bedclothes or towels. Three meals per day are covered by the admission fee. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted!

Early Bird Admission fee (valid through April 1st 2013) €1,169 (app. $1,419, check current exchange rates!) including all educational and practical activities, tools and materials, full-board accommodation (incl. meals), excursions/sightseeing tours/entrance fees, Project Handbook, Certificate of Attendance and administrative costs. Regular Admission fee (after April 1st 2013) € 1,299 (app. $1,619). Discounts off the admission fee are available in case of: 1) AIA membership 2) Participation in more than 1 BH project or project session in 2013. 3) Small Groups (two or three people, who participate in a BH project in 2013). 4) Larger Groups (four or more people, who participate in a BH project in 2013).

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria
Number of credits offered New Bulgarian University grants to students six credits for participation in one project session and nine credits for participation in two sessions. Transcript is available upon request for an additional tuition fee
€345/515 for 6/9 credits (for students outside EU). Participants who don't need academic credits, won't be expected to pay for the tuition fee.


Contact Information
Ms. Anna Parmakova - Admissions / Balkan Heritage Field School
204 Sveta Troitsa str.
Stara Zagora
+359 877 725 057, +359 888 165 402
Recommended Bibliography: 

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, Peter. The World of Late Antiquity AD 150-750 (Library of World Civilization). W. W. 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., Sam Gorin and Neil Fleming. The Archaeology Coursebook: an introduction to themes, sites, methods and skills. Routledge. 2008.

Renfrew, Colin and Paul Bahn. Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice. New York, 2006.

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