Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Executive Director

As Executive Director of the AAI, Sarah collaborates on projects that advance data publishing and data literacy in various archaeological and cultural heritage communities. She has a Ph.D. in archaeology (University of Edinburgh) and has spent more than 20 years conducting zooarchaeological research at sites in the Near East and Europe. She manages on behalf of the International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ), where she stands on the Executive and International Committees. She served as Vice President of ICAZ from 2014-2018, and has been elected President for the 2018-2022 term. Sarah is currently a member of the Publications Committee of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and the Digital Technology Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). She is also the series co-editor for Archaeobiology (Lockwood Press) and Executive Editor of Open Context.

Eric Kansa, Technology Director & Open Context Program Director

Eric Kansa (PhD, Harvard University) oversees development of Open Context (, the AAI’s open access data publishing service. His research explores Web architecture, service design, and how these issues relate to the social and professional context of the digital humanities. Eric also researches policy issues relating to intellectual property, including text-mining and cultural property concerns. He has participated in a number of Open Science, Open Government, cyberinfrastructure, text-mining, and scholarly user needs initiatives, and has taught project management and information service design in the UC Berkeley School of Information’s Clinic program. He has been a principal investigator and co-investigator on projects funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, NEH, IMLS, Hewlett-Packard, Sunlight Foundation, Google, NSF, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Phoebe France, Usability Specialist & Web Designer

Phoebe France consults on usability and web design for the Alexandria Archive Institute and the Open Context project. She received her MA from the University of Chicago, where she specialized in anthropological archaeology. Her collaboration with AAI and Open Context is part of a series of projects that she has worked on since 2007 that explore the boundaries between archaeological methods and theory, new media, and information management. In addition to her work in digital media, she is currently working towards finishing her PhD in archaeology. Her research interests include Southeast Asia and Cambodia, societal collapse and sustainability, botanical analysis, long term landscape histories, and the role of archaeological ruins and interpretations of the past in nationalism, heritage politics, identity, and imagination.

Hannah Lau, Social Media Strategist


Hannah Lau researches and writes posts for the Alexandria Archive Institute blog and social media accounts. She became interested in open access data issues while working collaboratively with Sarah Whitcher Kansa on zooarchaeological data. She is an environmental archaeologist using zooarchaeological and biogeochemical data to examine the relationship between ancient peoples’ animal management practices, the environment, and social complexity. She works primarily in the Near East and South Caucasus. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Archaeology Interdepartmental Graduate Program, where she wrote her dissertation on material from the Halaf site of Domuztepe.

Justin Lev-Tov, Research Associate


Justin Lev-Tov received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Tennessee, where he wrote his dissertation on the animal bones from the Philistine site of Tel Miqne-Ekron in Israel. His M.A. degree from the same institution concerned historic period archaeology within Tennessee. He has worked in archaeology both in the eastern and western parts of the United States as well as Greece, Israel and Jordan. His zooarchaeological research focuses on the use by complex societies of animals, specifically why certain animals – or certain cuts of meat – were eaten and others not or not as frequently. Therefore his interests lie in exploring the social meaning of diets, from issues such as ethnicity to social stratification, ritual and religion. He is currently working with the AAI to assemble faunal datasets from the Levant, with an emphasis on biometrical data and linking to other relevant Web resources pertaining to the ancient use of animals in that region.


Federico Buccellati, 2017 Research Fellow


Federico Buccellati joins the AAI as a Research Fellow in 2017, with a Fellowship for Digital Publication from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. During his term, he will be the principal investigator for the project “Calculating the Costs of Ancient Buildings” (see the project announcement). Federico studied at St. John’s College (Annapolis, MA, USA) where he received a B.A. in Philosophy, in Tübingen (Germany) where he received a Magister in Near Eastern Archaeology, and in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) where he wrote his PhD within the Research Training Group “Value and Equivalence”. His thesis, entitled “Three-dimensional Volumetric Analysis in an Archaeological Context: The Palace of Tupkish at Urkesh and its Representation”, focused on the research potential in 3D models, merging volumetric data with ethnographic parallels and textual evidence to understand and measure the construction process in a 3rd Millennium BC Mesopotamian palace. Two fellowships (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main & IIMAS – International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies) allowed him to develop a project investigating the transition between Mittani and middle Assyrian periods, while another fellowship from the Transregional Forum, Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices (Berlin, Germany) focused on Perception and Authorship in Ancient Near Eastern Palaces.

Affiliates and Alumni

Francis Deblauwe, Program Developer & Content Editor

Ahrash Bissell, Field Sciences Research and Education consultant

Mhairi Campbell, Open Context Assistant Editor (Petra Great Temple project)

John Ward, Software Developer and Architect

Carter Wells, Development Consultant