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Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA)

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Unearth the Secrets of the Past

When You Join the Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia

Theatre, Biblical Archaeology in Fairfax, VA

BASONOVA is a non-sectarian society open to anyone who has an interest in biblical-era archaeology or the history, art, religion, and texts of ancient times in the Near East and Mediterranean. Our members are drawn from all walks of life and live predominantly in Northern Virginia, Montgomery County, and the District of Columbia. We call ourselves a society because there is an important social aspect to our organization, which recently began its third decade.

Before the pandemic, we met eight times a year, usually on Sunday afternoons at a restaurant in Northern Virginia, to sample ethnic food, enjoy engaging table talk, and listen to well-informed scholars and field archaeologists. Many of these lecturers have international reputations and educate us for an hour with richly illustrated images of their work.

Since the pandemic, we have temporarily joined with our sister group in Maryland, BAF, to host a long season of twice-monthly virtual Zoom lectures.

BASONOVA began in 1994 as an unofficial offshoot of Hershel Shanks' Biblical Archaeology Society and has grown to become a popular destination to meet a wide range of warm and thoughtful people interested in the biblical history and archaeology of ancient times.

Temple, Biblical Archaeology in Fairfax, VA


Yearly Events

Once a year, we hold a special "Big Event" with BAF (our sister group in Rockville, MD) and B'nai Israel Congregation. This season's Big Event was headlined by Professor Joan Branham of Providence College, who took us on a tour of Herod's Temple.

Last year's Big Event featured Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, who guided us through the late Second temple Times and the Rise of Rabbinic Judaism. The prior year Professor Robert Cargill of the University of Iowa and the Editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, who took us on a tour of Cities of the Bible. An earlier Big Event featured Jodie Magness of the University of North Carolina, who described her sensational mosaic findings at the synagogue at Huqoq, Israel. Some 300 people attended this lecture!

Formerly, Big Events have featured: Sidnie White Crawford of the University of Nebraska presenting an illustrated lecture on What the Dead Sea Scrolls Teach Us About the Bible; Professor Andrea Berlin of Boston University speaking about, Revolt! Why the Jews Took On Rome; George Washington University archaeology professor Eric Cline, talking about the topic of his Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, 1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed. A year earlier, our Big Event sponsored the husband and wife team of Mark Smith and Elizabeth Bloch-Smith (biblical scholar and archaeologist, respectively), tracing the origins of biblical monotheism. Our inaugural Big Event was a reception and lecture at the Egyptian Embassy that featured superstar Egyptologist Betsy Bryan of Johns Hopkins University.

Funding for the Future

BASONOVA uses its $35 annual dues and per lecture fees for two purposes: to pay our lecturers and to invest in the future of biblical archaeology. We provide annual grants to archaeology students to help defray the cost of their participation in an overseas dig.

In the most recent excavation season we provided scholarship funds for students to dig at Tel Megiddo under the auspices of the W.F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, at the Precinct of Mut in Luxor, Egypt under the auspices of Johns Hopkins University, at the synagogue at Huqoq, Israel and at Tel Akko in Israel.

To become a BASONOVA member, please click on the Membership Form tab on this website.


Email us or call us today for information regarding BASONOVA or to learn about upcoming events.

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