Workshop for Conservation of Roman Mosaics 2019 (Balkan Heritage / Institute for Field Research)

Location: Stobi, Gradsko, MK

Season: June 1, 2019 to June 21, 2019

Session Dates: Session 1: June 1 - 15, 2019; Session 2: June 1 - 21, 2019

Application Deadline: May 1, 2019

Deadline Type: Exact date


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

Program Type:
Field school, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

National Institution, R. of North Macedonia; Balkan Heritage Foundation and New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria;

Project Director:
Chief conservator: Dr Krassimira Frangova (Assoc. Prof. at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation); Field School coordinator: Dr Angela Pencheva (Balkan Heritage Foundation & Field School Program Manager)

Project Description:

In 2019, the field school project will again be hosted by the National Institution Stobi, Republic of North Macedonia at the Roman city of Stobi (today an archaeological park). It provides an unique opportunity for students and volunteers to gain comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience in Roman (esp. Late Roman) Mosaic Art and Conservation.

During the workshop participants will be guided through the consequent stages of study, conservation and documentation as well as the history and technology of Roman and Late Roman mosaics.They will work with authentic Late Roman mosaic sections found in the ancient city of Stobi.


The project includes three modules: practical work in documentation and conservation of Roman mosaics; lectures on their history and conservation as well as excursions to the town of Bitola, the archaeological site of Heraclea Lyncestis, Ohrid and Ohrid lake (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Ancient Macedonian capitals in Pella and Vergina (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Greece. 


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 crossroad 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 likely the Stobi library), Casa Romana, the Synagogue, as well as the water supply system. In 267 CE the city suffered Goths and Herules raids. At the end of the 3rd century Stobi was devastated by an earthquake, later rebuilt, but following a different urban plan. Most of the ruins visible today belong to buildings dated to this period.

In the 4th century CE, Stobi became an important Christian center and the seat of powerful bishops. In the 5th– 6th centuries, 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. 


Approximately 1560 square meters of the excavated territory of the ancient city of Stobi are covered with entirely or partly preserved mosaics, dated mostly between the second and sixth century CE. 

Thanks to the hardworking conservation team of NI Stobi and all project participants as well as the Balkan Heritage funding in 2012 and 2013, two of the floor mosaics in the Theodosian Palace of Stobi were successfully conserved. In 2014 and 2015, the students participated in the conservation and restoration project of the mosaics from the narthex of the Episcopal basilica which is considered to be the oldest and most important Early Christian monument in the Republic of North Macedonia. A project for conservation of the baptisterium of the Episcopal Basilica funded by The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Heritage Preservation was successfully finalized in 2018. 

The focus of the course in 2016 and 2017, were the floor mosaics from the late antique palace (so called “Casino”) and plus the mosaics from the narthex in the Episcopal basilica. In 2018 the conservation team and the students worked on in situ preserved mosaic from the Theodosian palace. The same mosaic will be in the focus of the workshop in 2019, as well as some previously lifted fragments from the Episcopal basilica. 

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

1. All students at universities/colleges outside Europe seeking academic credit units must apply through the Institute for Field Research (IFR), USA. Click here to apply.

2. All students at universities/colleges in Europe seeking ECTS academic credit units must apply through the Balkan Heritage Field School. Click here to apply.

3.  Participants who don’t need academic credits can apply through the Balkan Heritage Field School. Click here to apply.


Period(s) of Occupation: Roman, Late Roman/Early Byzantine (2nd century BCE - 6th century CE).

Major field school topics/activities: The workshop will enable participants to gain comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience in both Roman and Late Roman mosaic conservation. The participants are going to be involved in ongoing conservation project and will work with authentic mosaics from the ancient city of Stobi. Lectures on history and technology of Roman and Late Roman mosaics, as well as special tours of significant sites with ancient mosaics: 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.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Two weeks

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No. The variety of activities and team flexibility make this project suitable for both beginners and advanced (either volunteers or students) in conservation.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation: in recently renovated air-conditioned cabins at the archaeological site next to the ancient ruins of Stobi, in rooms with two to three beds. Each cabin has 4 bedrooms + living room, 2 bathrooms with showers and WC. Washing machine and Wi-Fi are available for free. There are outdoor and indoor dining and social spaces. Meals: Three meals per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) at the site's dining room or outdoors next to it. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, gluten-free etc.) are difficult to maintain in this location. Participants must pay on their own for extra meals, beverages, services and products!       Cost: 1) For students at universities/colleges outside Europe seeking for 6 quarter credit units through Connecticut College, USA, the admission + tuition fee is 3360 USD; 2) Participants who do not seek credit units, the admission fees for two/ three-week sessions start from 1399/1799 EUR.

Academic Credit:
1) 6 quarter (equivalent to 4 semester) credit units through Connecticut College, USA for students attending the three-week session only; 2) New Bulgarian University grants 6 ECTS credits to students for attending the two-week session and 9 ECTS credits for attending the three-week session. credits offered by New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria & Connecticut College, USA.. Tuition is NBU tuition fees for six / nine academic credits are as follows: for EU students – 300/ 450 EUR; for all other international students – 450/ 675 EUR Participants who are not interested in academic credits don't need to pay the tuition fee..

Contact Information:

Balkan Heritage Field School / Institute for Field Research

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

Sofia / Los Angeles

1504 / 90064

Bulgaria / United States

Phone: + 359 877 725 052

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.

Post a Fieldwork Opportunity