News & Upcoming Events
In Third Year, Johns Hopkins University-AIAR Undergraduate Archaeological Fellowship is Going Strong
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.”
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.”
“Too Good To Be True”: Undergraduate Interns Look Back on Their Summer in the Field and at the Albright
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.
“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.”
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 W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (AIAR)
The W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research-AIAR-was founded in 1900, as the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. Its current mission is to develop and disseminate scholarly knowledge of the literature, history, and culture of the Near East, as well as the study of civilization from pre-history to the early Islamic period.
Located in an historic 1920’s-period building, now a Jerusalem landmark, the Albright maintains residential and research facilities including a 35,000 volume library, publication offices, and archaeological workshops. Annually, 65 fellows from diverse national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, and including Israeli and Palestinians participate in AIAR’s international fellowship program. It offers a unique opportunity for interaction and the exchange of information and ideas, and promotes intellectual integrity and respect in a friendly and convivial atmosphere. This environment is not duplicated in any other similar institution in the region.
The Institute provides support for North American archaeological excavations and surveys; it also promotes working relationships with other local and foreign institutions in Israel and fosters friendly interaction with the neighboring community.
The Albright Institute provides up to $325,000 in fellowships and special awards each year for senior, post-doctoral, doctoral, and independent scholars. These include the prestigious Seymour Gitin Distinguished Professorship, Ernest S. Frerichs Annual Professorship, National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, Educational and Cultural Affairs Fellowships, Marcia and Oded Borowski Research Fellowship, Lydie T. Shufro Summer Research Fellowship, Noble Group Fellowships for Chinese Scholars, Glassman Holland Research Fellowship for European Scholars, George A. Barton Fellowship, Carol and Eric Meyers Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and Associate Fellowships.
The Ernest S. Frerichs Program for Albright Fellows
For the past 35 years the Albright Institute has developed and expanded a unique international Fellowship program opened to scholars involved in Near Eastern studies, from prehistory to the early Islamic period. Currently 64 Fellows participate in this program annually. They come from diverse cultural, ethnic, religious and political backgrounds from all over the world, including Israel and the Palestinian Authority. All work together, exchanging information and ideas in a convivial and friendly atmosphere that promotes intellectual integrity and respect, and is not duplicated in any other institution in the region.