The site

Located near the small town Valandovo in the southeastern part of the Republic of North Macedonia lies the archaeological site known as Stakina Cheshma named after a nearby located fountain. The first knowledge about the existence of the Roman villa at the site was obtained through protective archaeological excavations conducted from 1972 to 1974 which revealed the existence of a possible Roman Villa beneath. Subsequent archaeological research continued in 1987 and lasted, with several interruptions, until 2005 and resumed again from 2015 to 2020. Through these excavations, the remnants of a large Roman villa were unveiled, boasting a minimum of ten rooms, of which only seven have been so far fully explored.

Positioned at the heart of the structure lies the atrium, around which day, and night quarters, including dining areas and bedrooms, are thoughtfully arranged. Among the notable discoveries are mosaic floors adorning seven rooms, executed in opus tesselatum, opus sectile, and opus segmentatum techniques. Тhe archaeological excavations revealed a large number of ceramic fragments that are characteristic for the period from late 3rd to early 4th centuries. Along with coins from the eras of Emperors Constantine I (306 – 337) and Constantius II (317 – 361) and analyses of the archaeological material, they further enrich the archaeological narrative and indicate that the villa was probably erected at the end of the 3rd or the beginning of the 4th century, and in the same period the mosaic floors were laid in all the rooms.

While rooms No. 1 to No. 4 have not seen any conservation interventions, rooms No. 5 to No. 7 underwent immediately after the excavation preventive measures suitable for those times, including the application of cement mortar to fill lacunae and protect the mosaics’ edges. However, these protective interventions lack documentation and necessitate the preparation of a formal report for future reference and conservation efforts.


The training course

The training course will focus on assisting the ongoing work for the conservation and protection of the Roman mosaics in the archaeological site of Stakina Cheshma. The course aims to offer the participants the opportunity to learn hands-on conservation and restoration techniques while gaining insight into the rich history of the region.

Throughout the course, the participants will work directly with original mosaics dating back to the 3rd and 4th century. Using specialised tools such as spatulas, syringes, dental tools, and scalpels, they will be able to learn non-destructive methods and to apply materials essential for the long-term preservation of these ancient treasures.

The practical component of the course will allow ample time to explore the intricate processes involved in mosaic conservation and restoration. Educational sessions will complement the practical work, offering insights into the history of the site, previous excavations, and conservation methodology.

The works will be guided by a conservator-restorer, one of the most renowned experts in mosaic conservation in North Macedonia.

As part of the educational programme, the participants will take part in lectures, discussions, and guided tours to explore other archaeological sites in the region such as fortresses, churches, and Roman baths. These visits will provide them with a firsthand glimpse into the region's captivating history and cultural heritage dating to the Roman period.


The training course will take place from September 15th to September 26th, 2024, and is organised by European Heritage Volunteers in cooperation with the National Institute for Protection of Culture Monuments and Museum – Strumica.

European Heritage Volunteers