Stobi (the capital city of Macedonia Secunda) Excavations 2020 (Balkan Heritage/ Institute for Field Research)

COVID-19 NOTICE: Please be sure to reach out to the project contact to find out the status of their upcoming season. Many projects have cancelled fieldwork for 2020 and the information below may not reflect that.

This listing expired on December 31, 2020. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: A1, North Macedonia

Season: June 27, 2020 to July 25, 2020

Session Dates: 27 June - 25 July 2020

Application Deadline: May 15, 2020

Deadline Type: Rolling


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, Canada

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.


The excavations in the last five years brought to light a late antique building situated between the Theodosian Palace and an adjacent building, called “the Jail” due to the discovery of shackled skeletons in the 1920s. In 2020, the work will continue in the same area in an effort to investigate the chronological and architectural relation between the three buildings.

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 for the lunch packages during the excursions) at the base's premises. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted.

Academic Credit:
Students who study in Europe (EU, EEA, CH, Russian Federation and countries from the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus): New Bulgarian University grants 9 ECTS credits for attending the field school. Transcripts of Records (ToR) are available upon request for an additional tuition fee. For details: Regulations for obtaining Transcripts of Records. Students who study outside Europe wishing to obtain academic credits for attending the four-week session of this field school project must apply to the BHF-IFR Program for the Balkans and enroll through the Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA. They will be awarded 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units) through Connecticut College and will receive a letter grade. The tuition fee is included in the IFR admission fee. 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.

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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