News & Upcoming Events

In Third Year, Johns Hopkins University-AIAR Undergraduate Archaeological Fellowship is Going Strong

Luc Renaux, standing at top left, at the Jezreel Valley Regional Project’s Legio excavations.


Luc Renaux, rising senior at Johns Hopkins University

Sept. 3, 2019

Generously funded by Bjorn and Beverly Lindgren of Texas, the Johns Hopkins University-AIAR Undergraduate Archaeological Fellowship gives one undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University the opportunity to travel abroad to an archaeological dig and then spend another month in residence at the Albright.

This year, Luc Renaux, a rising senior double majoring in archaeology and history with a minor in Near Eastern studies joined the Jezreel Valley Regional Project’s excavations at Legio and then settled in at the Albright for post-excavation processing, assisting with research, and archival activities.

Luc had previous excavation experience in France and Oman and was thus asked to join the Legio excavations as a staff member. “It felt great to be recognized for having experience, and I ended up as Assistant Area Supervisor for Area C.” Asked about any goals he might have had for his leadership role, Luc said “I wanted to make sure people who had never dug before had good experiences. When people said they had a great time, it made me feel really happy.”

Luc found out about the fellowship from the two previous recipients, friends and colleagues of his at Johns Hopkins, Elana Neher and Michael Tritsch. And in what seems like characteristic humility and vicarious joy, Luc said “I want to thank the Lindgrens, not only for me, but for the fact that other people also will have a chance to make use of this program.”

Read about Elana Neher, the first recipient of the fellowship, here. 

Last year’s recipient, Michael Tritsch, is set to graduate in December after which he’d like to pursue his PhD in Egyptology. “[The fellowship] provided an incredible experience which significantly advanced my training as an archaeologist. I acquired a great deal of insight into the use of 3D modeling and photogrammetry in the field,” he reflected. “I truly enjoyed every aspect, and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to Bjorn and Beverly Lindgren for their generosity in funding this fellowship.”

As for Luc, when asked about his plans: “I’d like to go to grad school in medieval archaeology. I’ve really come to enjoy this period. I have family in France and I was lucky to grow up surrounded by cathedrals and all that history,” Luc said of what steered him towards archaeology. And of the fellowship this summer: “The experience solidified that this is what I want to do.”

As part of the internship portion at the Albright, Luc had the opportunity to assist with research. Here he is pictured with Albright Director Matt Adams.

“Too Good To Be True”: Undergraduate Interns Look Back on Their Summer in the Field and at the Albright


The dig team at Legio, summer 2019. Gavin and Victoria are somewhere in there!


Victoria looking very much at home in her square

Sept 1, 2019

Each summer, the Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA) and the Biblical Archaeology Forum (BAF) sponsor students to excavate at sites in Israel. One of those sites this summer was Legio, under excavation by the Jezreel Valley Regional Project (JVRP). 

We sat down with Gavin Heady and Victoria Mardovich, both selected for this summer’s BASONOVA/BAF-funded JVRP-AIAR Summer Internship. For both Gavin, a senior at University of Wyoming, and Victoria, a senior at Southeastern University in Florida, it was their first time excavating, which meant they needed to shed many of their expectations. “I think I was misled by the media that it would be all meticulous work with a toothbrush. It was difficult…I knew I’d be moving a lot of dirt, but I haven’t physically exerted myself that much since high school sports.”

But the rush of finding things made the toughness worth it. “Once we started hitting things like walls and got a semblance of something there, it was a huge lifting of worry,” Gavin said. Victoria was helping out in Area C and found a stamped roof tile, staring at it in her hands. “Everyone was so busy…I said ‘um, guys? I think we found something,” Victoria recalled. “Everyone stopped working and came over right away!”

“Now I think I want to try to add a minor in archaeology,” Victoria said, to her BA in History. Gavin is triple majoring in Anthropology, Religious Studies, and English, and found that archaeology complemented his studies well, citing global travel and immersion in another culture, especially at the Albright, located in East Jerusalem, where the duo spent another four weeks interning after the month at the excavation.


At the Albright

“I’m in awe of this institution and how long it’s been here…I need to be at this place and be a part of it,” Victoria said, describing her impression of the Albright. Gavin said that the time at the Albright “took away the curtain” of archaeology, and laid bare what happens after an excavation: processing finds, cleaning them, photographing them, calling in experts to analyze them. “I really appreciate the build-up of knowledge that takes years and years.”


Victoria and Gavin showing us some roof tiles uncovered during the excavation.

Matthew Adams, director of the Albright and co-director of JVRP, had much praise for the two: “Between the excavation and the internship at the Albright, I spent two months with Victoria and Gavin who were fantastic additions to the excavation team. Both had no prior experience, but were pros in no time. At the Albright, they helped with all sorts of tasks, from wrapping up some of the final excavation documentation, data entry for the Levantine Ceramics Project, digitizing the institute’s archives, and updating our library journal audit. All of our interns this year have amazing work ethic and I’m really proud to have worked with them.”

Both Gavin and Victoria were skeptical that the internship could be as good as it sounded. Victoria thought it might be “too good to be true,” and Gavin agreed, saying he had thought “to be able to come here for the summer–there must be one caveat.” Both were delighted to understand that the opportunity, made possible by BASONOVA and BAF, was as good as it seemed.

BASONOVA invests in the future of biblical archaeology by funding scholarships for students to participate in overseas excavations.


The Legio excavations at sunrise, summer 2019.

More News and Events