Stobi (the capital city of Macedonia Secunda) Excavations 2019 (Balkan Heritage/ Institute for Field Research)

Location: Stobi, MK

Season: June 22, 2019 to July 20, 2019

Session Dates: 22 June - 20 July 2019

Application Deadline: May 15, 2019

Deadline Type: Exact date


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

Program Type:
Field school, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF), Bulgaria, National Institution Stobi, Republic of North Macedonia, and Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA, Queen's University, Department of Classics, Canada and New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria.

Project Director:
Silvana Blazhevska (Phd in Classical Archaeology), Archaeologist at National Institution Stobi Field school coordinators: Angela Pencheva (Balkan Heritage Foundation & Field School Program Director, PhD in Classical Archaeology); Goce Pavlovski (archaeologist, NI Stobi, MA in Archaeology); Visiting professor: George A. Bevan (PhD), Associate Professor, Department of Geography & Planning, Queen's University, Ca

Project Description:

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. 

For more than a century the ancient city of Stobi has been attracting scientists from all over the World to reveal its secrets. 


Since 2014, the students in the field school have been participating in the excavation of the most representative, residential building in Stobi, the so called “Theodosian Palace” and the area southwest of it, located in the center of the ancient town, between the streets of Via Principalis Inferior and Via Principalis Superior. The name of this richly mosaic decorated building, was given under the assumption that the emperor Theodosius I was accommodated here when he visited Stobi in 388 CE. The excavations during the field school in 2019 are going to continue at the same spot.

There are three application/enrollment paths for this field school:

1. Participants who don’t need academic credits have to apply/enroll through the Balkan Heritage Field School. Click here to apply.

2. Students who study in Europe wishing to obtain ECTS academic credit units have to apply/enroll through the Balkan Heritage Field School. Click here to apply.

   3. All other students seeking academic credit units have to apply/enroll through the Institute for Field Research, USA Click here to apply.


Period(s) of Occupation: Hellenistic, Roman, Late Roman (2nd century BCE - 6th century CE)

Major field school topics/activities: The archaeological field school takes place at the spectacular ancient city of Stobi and offers opportunities for excellent training in field techniques and methods for excavation and documentation, regarding the specifics of excavation at Roman and Late Roman urban site; The agenda includes an intensive course on Photogrammetry, 3-D Archaeological Recording and Modelling in collaboration with Queen’s University, Canada, as well as guided tours of significant historical and archaeological sites in Bitola and Ohrid (R. of North Macedonia) and the ancient Macedonian capitals Pella and Aigai/Vergina (Greece). Academic credits are available for students through NBU, Bulgaria; Connecticut College, USA and Queen’s University, Canada.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Four weeks

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No experience required. However, the project is not recommended for individuals with solar allergies or other special illnesses that might be exacerbated during the intensive outdoor activities.

Room and Board Arrangements:
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. Cost: 1) For students at universities/colleges outside Europe seeking for 12 quarter credit units through Connecticut College, USA the admission + tuition fee is 4510 USD; 2) Participants who do not seek credit units, the admission fees for the four-week sessions start from 2199 EUR.

Academic Credit:
6/12 ECTS credits through New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria for students who study in Europe and attend the two/four-week project session; 12 quarter (equivalent to 8 semester) credit units through IFR academic partner Connecticut College, USA for all other students. Credit units are available upon request and are not mandatory for all field school participants. NB! Queen's University students: 6.0 credits is available through Queen's University at the Undergraduate level (CLST 412 and 413) and at the Graduate level (CLAS 810). Please contact George Bevan ( for details. credits offered by Connecticut College, USA and New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria.. Tuition is 450 EUR for nine ECTS credits or included in the IFR admission fee..

Contact Information:

Balkan Heritage Foundation / Institute for Field Research

7 Tulovo St., Floor 5, Apt.7 / 2999 Overland Ave. #103

Sofia / Los Angeles

Sofia / CA - California

1504 / 90064

Bulgaria / United States

Phone: + 359 877 725 052 (BHF); US Toll free number +1 (877) 839-4374 (IFR)

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