Project Description

This is a joint project with the Balkan Heritage Foundation, Bulgaria. 

IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series AND received the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC, if eligible.

 All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices BEFORE enrolling in a program. These practices are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for North Macedonia:

US Embassy in North Macedonia


The ancient city of Stobi, which lies at the confluence of the Crna and Vardar (ancient Erigon and Axios) rivers, was the largest northern city of the Roman province of Macedonia. It later became the capital of the province Macedonia Secunda, an important urban, military, administrative, trade, and religious center of two large empires: The Roman and Early Byzantine. During the 2014-2018 field seasons, excavations were focused in an area next to one of the most representative, residential buildings in Stobi – the Theodosian Palace – located at the center of the Roman town, between the streets of Via Principalis Inferior and Via Principalis Superior. The building, which is richly decorated with mosaics, was given its name under the assumption that the emperor Theodosius I was accommodated there during his visit to Stobi in 388 CE. These excavations brought to light a late antique building situated between the Theodosian palace and an adjacent building, now called “the Jail” due to the discovery of shackled skeletons in the 1920s.

In 2023, the work will continue in the same area in an effort to investigate the temporal and architectural relationships between the three buildings. Over the course of this program, students will learn excavation skills, field documentation processing procedures such as cleaning, selecting, and arranging archaeological finds, and 3D recording techniques including digital photogrammetry, satellite positioning, and surveying using a total station. This project aims to introduce students to the range of materials and cultures of Stobi and the region as a whole in the Roman and Late Roman period.

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 24- July 22, 2023

  • Enrollment Status:  Open

  • Tuition: $4,519

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology

  • Tuition Payment Deadline: May 12, 2023

  • Instructors: Dr. Silvana Blazhevska, Dr. George A. Bevan, & Dr. Angela Pencheva

  • Online Orientation: May 21st at 9 am PDT / 12 pm EDT / 6 pm CEST
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)

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The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Dr. Silvana Blazhevska
Dr. Silvana Blazhevska
Ms. Blazhveska is an Archaeologist at National Institution Stobi, Northern Macedonia.
Dr. George A Bevan
Dr. George A Bevan
Dr. Bevan is an Associate Professor, Department of Classics, Queen’s University, Canada.
Dr. Angela Pencheva
Dr. Angela Pencheva
Dr. Pecheva is a visiting professor at the Department of Archaeology and Center for Vocational and Continuing Education, New Bulgarian University, Sofia; Balkan Heritage Program Director.


This is my first time in the Balkans, it is an amazing way to learn about ancient history, because here among the ruins in the Stobi Archaeological park you get to be in the history. It was a great experience to learn how to do Field Archaeology; the team is fantastic and welcoming and make it fun to learn and to dig. And the other students that you meet here it just makes a very international environment, it’s a great experience to learn in.

Lauren Koch, University of British Columbia

This was my first dig ever, but the field school program is just great, I’ve learned a great amount of things. The thing that I liked most about the course was that you learn each part of Archaeology -the digging, finding floor levels, technical drawings of pottery and walls, etc.. The supervisors were also extremely patient with us and very helpful. I definitely feel more qualified than when I started.

Caity Concannon, University of Kansas

Tuition Includes:

  • Costs of Instruction
  • Cost of Academic Credit units
  • Room & Board
  • All Onsite Transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

Application Fee: There is a $25 fee to submit an online application.

Deposit Payment:

  • Once you have been accepted to a program, you must place a nonrefundable $500 deposit fee to hold your seat in the program until the tuition payment deadline. The tuition payment deadline can be found in the top right of each field school’s web page under “Course Details”.
  • The $500 deposit fee is included as part of your total tuition fee and NOT in addition to it.

Tuition Fee 

  • The tuition balance is the total program tuition fee minus the $500 deposit fee.
  •  The full tuition fee must be paid by the tuition payment deadline in order to secure your seat in the program.
  • If you do not pay the full tuition fee by the deadline, your place in the program is no longer secure, and if you are unable to participate in the program for any reason, our Late Withdrawal policy below will apply.

Late Fee: A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the tuition payment deadline.

Withdrawal Policy: If you place a deposit but decide to withdraw, you must notify IFR staff in writing before the tuition payment deadline. In the event of withdrawal, the $500 nonrefundable deposit fee remains nonrefundable and will not be refunded.

Late Withdrawal: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full tuition fee regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information.

Cancellation Policy: In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


Participants stay at the recently renovated, air-conditioned cabins at the archaeological base camp next to the ancient site of Stobi.  Students will be housed in rooms with 2–3 beds each. Each cabin has 4 bedrooms, a living room, and 2 bathrooms with showers. A washing machine and Wi-Fi are available for free.  The Stobi cleaning staff will clean and disinfect the rooms & bathrooms and common spaces every day. In the beginning of the field school students will be introduced to the safety protocol for the hotel, the shuttle and the site upon arrival. 

The closest village to Stobi is Gradsko (5 km), where there are grocery stores, a pharmacy, an ATM, and medical facilities. The closest big supermarket, drug-stores, pharmacies, banks with ATM and hospitals are in the city of Negotino (13 km from Stobi).


Three meals (fresh, homemade food) per day are covered by the reimbursement fee. Meals usually take place at the field house premises, except for lunch packages during excursions. This field school can accommodate vegetarians, vegans and individuals with lactose-intolerance diets. Kosher and gluten-free diets are impossible to accommodate at this location.

Travel Info

  1. On arrival at Skopje Airport in North Macedonia, conduct a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at the airport and get self-quarantined for the period before the pickup, at the Hotel Square**. (these rules may be changed. The BHFS will provide ongoing updates on COVID-19 rules and restrictions in N. Macedonia to all enrolled students). Students are responsible for these costs—the PCR test and the hotel room—and should make a room reservation prior to travel. All students with negative PCR test results will be picked up from the hotel by a shuttle and delivered to the recently renovated air-conditioned cabins at the archaeological site of Stobi.
  2. On arrival at Thessaloniki Airport in Greece, arrange in advance a pickup with BHF logistic coordinator to the town of Kavadarci (approx. 160 km from Thessaloniki) in North Macedonia conduct a COVID-19 PCR* test (–  app. 27 USD) on arrival at the airport and get self-quarantined for the period before the pick up, at the Hotel Feni** (these rules may be changed. The BHFS will provide ongoing updates on COVID-19 rules and restrictions in N. Macedonia to all enrolled students).


Citizens of EU, EEA, USA, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand do not need a visa to visit N. 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.

Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field. If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students may contact IFR personnel directly.

Call (877-839-4374) or email ( if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.