Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Executive Director

As Executive Director of the AAI, Sarah advocates for data sharing and publication in various archaeological and cultural heritage communities. She has a Ph.D. in archaeology and has spent 20 years conducting zooarchaeological research at sites primarily in the Near East and East Mediterranean. She manages on behalf of the International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ), where she stands on the Executive and International Committees. In 2014, she was elected Vice President of ICAZ. Sarah is a member of the Publications Committee of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR). She is also the series editor for Archaeobiology (Lockwood Press) and Executive Editor of Open Context.

Eric Kansa, Technology Director & Open Context Program Director

Eric Kansa (PhD, Harvard University) leads development of Open Context ( His research interests explore 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 actively participates in a number of Open Science, Open Government, cyberinfrastructure, text-mining, and scholarly user needs initiatives. He has taught and practiced 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 the 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.


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