AAI News

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2016

We are grateful for the opportunity to preserve and share the past, working with our colleagues, collaborators, data authors, and supporters around the world.

Happy New Year!

Posted in: News

AAI Receives NEH Grant to Bridge Data Creation and Reuse

December 14, 2015

“We need the Humanities, now more than ever, because they give us access to the most fundamental and consequential dimensions and forces of our experience.”

– William D. Adams, NEH Chairman

Today, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced $21.8 million in funding for 295 humanities projects, including a Research and Development grant for a new AAI project launching January 1, 2016. The AAI’s 3-year project involves a longitudinal study of practices of creation, management, and re- use of archaeological data drawn from three geographical areas (North Africa, Europe, and South America) to investigate data quality and modeling requirements for re-use by a larger research community. The project will improve the quality of information collected during archaeological excavations across the globe, preserve this information, and share it with the public. Outcomes include exemplary open datasets, an expansion of Open Context’s data publishing services, and online educational modules. The project team includes researchers at Stanford University, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), the University of Michigan, and the Institute for Field Research. By funding this project, the NEH is showing a strong commitment to making quality humanistic research more accessible to the public.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Posted in: Awards, Grants, News

Open Context to Receive AIA Award for Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology

December 1, 2015

On January 7, 2016, during the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) in San Francisco, the AIA will present Open Context with the 2016 Award for Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology. Open Context, the open access data publishing service developed by the Alexandria Archive Institute, is entering its tenth year online, with more than one million resources contributed by researchers worldwide.

The award recognizes “projects, groups, and individuals that deploy digital technology in innovative ways in the realms of excavation, research, teaching, publishing, or outreach” with a goal of “recognizing the value of digital scholarship and encouraging its practice.” Past recipients of the award include the Ancient World Online (2015) and Fasti Online (2014).

Posted in: Awards, Events

Open Context on the DAI Cloud

August 11, 2015

We are very pleased to announce a new collaboration between the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and Open Context.


The DAI, one of the world’s largest institutional sponsors of archaeological research, runs a vast array of scientific and cultural heritage preservation programs worldwide. To support these activities, the DAI has recently built a powerful cloud computing infrastructure. DAI will use this infrastructure to provide mirror hosting and backups for AAI’s innovative data publishing program for archaeology, Open Context.

This partnership between the DAI and Open Context represents an important milestone in bringing archaeology to the 21st century. Archaeological research creates digital data of tremendous scale and complexity, making it extremely challenging to manage. The partnership pairs DAI’s successes in digital preservation (through their IANUS project) with Open Context’s powerful model for open access publication of rich data sets, image collections, maps, and other content that until now, rarely saw public exposure. There are some functionalities in this version that present a tighter integration with Arachne (the central objects archive of the DAI and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne):

Example 1: Bucchero (Etruscan ceramic type)

Example 2: Oinochoe (vessel form)

This marks the beginning of a new phase of collaboration to make information sharing easier and more efficient. Over the next year, the DAI will pilot use of Open Context for disseminating their own data, starting with zooarchaeological collections. Additional collaboration will center on developing Open Context’s open-sourced software to support multiple languages and expand its capabilities for data visualization and analysis. At the same time, mirroring Open Context on the DAI cloud more than doubles Open Context’s capacity and performance while providing additional permanent safeguards for the irreplaceable data it publishes.

Funding to develop this partnership came from a joint fellowship program offered by Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and the German Archaeological Institute. Additional funding came from the J.M. Kaplan Fund and a U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities – Digital Humanities Implementation Grant.

Posted in: News

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Live-Streaming Workshop on Pioneering Approaches to Digital Archaeology

February 24, 2015

Later this week—Feb 27-28, 2015—a cast of leaders and innovators in digital archaeology will meet in snowy Boston to discuss the potential of mobile technologies for advancing research. The Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future workshop, supported by a Digital Humanities Start-Up grant from the NEH, aims to synthesize current practices in the “use, creation, and implementation of mobile technology in advancing digital archaeology.” This is just the kind of work that should be funded and just the way it should be done—highlighting the diversity of approaches to digital archaeology, bringing people together to learn from each other and to build collaborations, and that are broadcasting these discussions openly and widely (this workshop will be live-streamed by the Wentworth Institute of Technology).

AAI’s Eric Kansa will lead a session on “Pedagogy, Data Curation, & Reflection,” which begins at 2:15 Eastern on Feb 28. Eric will also present a paper in this session, where he will challenge the status quo and ask us to think outside the (academic) box about improving data creation through a better understanding of data reuse. He highlights that “garbage in, garbage out” applies to digital archaeology if we do not give more careful thought to the what, why, and how of our field documentation techniques. Other talks will highlight innovative work in digital archaeology from across the globe (including underwater).

Posted in: Events, Projects

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