Sarah Whitcher Kansa
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 25 years conducting zooarchaeological research at sites in the Near East and Europe. She served as Vice President of the International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ) from 2014-2018 and President from 2018-2023. Sarah is chair of the Digital Technology Committee for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and served on the Publications Committee for the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and the American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR). She is also the series co-editor for Archaeobiology (Lockwood Press) and Executive Editor of Open Context. She participates on several grant-funded projects, most recently as a co-director on Advancing FAIR+CARE Practices in Cultural Heritage, funded by the IMLS.
Technology Director & Open Context Program Director
Eric Kansa (Ph.D., Harvard University) oversees development of Open Context (http://opencontext.org), 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.
Digital Humanities Program Associate
Melissa Cradic (Ph.D., University of California - Berkeley) is an archaeologist and museum curator at the Badè Museum of Archaeology in Berkeley, CA. She is also Lecturer in History & Judaic Studies at the University at Albany, SUNY and teaches Anthropology at Sonoma State University. Her fieldwork, teaching, research, and museum work aims to increase accessibility of archaeological data, including legacy collections and museum archives. Her work focuses on creating inclusive narratives through multi-platform initiatives such as open-access programming, museum education programs, academic and public scholarship, and digital exhibitions. A specialist in mortuary archaeology of the Middle East, Melissa has published her research in venues such as BASOR, Near Eastern Archaeology, Levant, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports and has contributed to numerous edited volumes. As Digital Humanities Program Associate, she will manage and lead digital humanities workshops and seminars at AAI/OC, drawing on her experience organizing and moderating public lectures, collaborating on field projects, developing curricula, managing collections and field data, and curating more than ten public exhibitions.
Postdoctoral Researcher for Data Interpretation and Public Engagement
Meghan Dennis (Ph.D., University of York) is collaborating to develop the Data Literacy Program as Postdoctoral Researcher for Data Interpretation and Public Engagement. Meghan brings a background in digital archaeological ethics and the impacts of ethical representations of archaeology in interactive media, 20+ years in archaeological and heritage field practice, teaching at the secondary and collegiate level, and experience within the video-game industry. Currently, Meghan is an ethics officer with the Computer Applications & Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) organization, where she was involved in designing and implementing the organization’s first code of ethics, and is a member of the organization’s Code of Conduct working group. Combining her interests in public education, ethical practice, and games media, Meghan aims to develop further research in how the use of interactive media can influence youth participation in ethical interactions with heritage and archaeology.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Leigh Anne Lieberman
Leigh Anne Lieberman (Ph.D., Princeton University) is an archaeologist whose research explores how and why artifacts and spaces were recycled and repurposed, especially in the ancient Roman world. She has taught extensively at the university, secondary, and primary levels in both the United States and Italy. From 2018-2020, she directed the development of the Digital Humanities Initiative at The Claremont Colleges, a Mellon-funded program that aimed to create a robust curriculum in the digital methods for faculty, staff, and students across a seven-institution academic consortium. She currently serves as the Manager of Data and Information Resources for the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (PARP:PS) where she's leading the publication of the artifact assemblages from the excavation; as the Head of Materials for the Tharros Archaeological Research Project (TARP); and as the Data Management Director for the American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project (AEM:CAP). She is also the Digital Project Specialist in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. In her role with the AAI / Open Context, Leigh is directing Networking Archaeological Data and Communities, an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Disciplinary Improvements for Past Global Change Research: Connecting Data Systems and Practitioners, a Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable Open Science Research Coordination Network funded by the National Science Foundation.
Postdoctoral Researcher in Data Visualization and Reproducibility
Paulina F. Przystupa
Paulina F. Przystupa joins us as Postdoctoral Researcher in Data Visualization and Reproducibility. Paulina is of Filipine and Polish descent and a settler in North America. She studied at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA) where she earned a B.A. (2012) majoring in History and Anthropology. She earned her M.A. (2014) at the University of New Mexico, which is where she is completing her Ph.D. in Anthropology (2021). She is working on her dissertation examining the relationship between the built environment and the cultural education of children. Beyond her academic work, Paulina has worked in cultural resource management in both Australia and the United States as a field technician, assistant cartographer, and lab technician. She is also a research associate of the Indigenous Digital Archive. She also writes about and reviews comics, movies, and shows at WWAC and moderates panels at popular culture conventions bringing an anthropological and academic perspective to popular media.
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 M.A. 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 Ph.D. 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.
During her summer 2022 internship, Kimiko Adler was a senior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Classical Studies and Government. Prior to interning at Open Context, Kimiko has interned with multiple cultural institutions, including the Getty Villa and the American Academy of Rome. In addition to interning with Open Context in the summer of 2022, she also attended The Gabii Project field school outside Rome.
Mary Iris Allison
During her summer 2022 internship, Mary Iris Allison was a senior at Scripps College majoring in Ancient Studies and investigating archaeobotany in the ancient Mediterranean. Her specific interests include ancient horticulture and gardening, as well as the role of homegrown versus imported food in the ancient diet. She’s passionate about Greek tragedy, the ethics of archaeology and museums, and (in her spare time) gardening.
Affiliates and Alumni
- Pınar Durgun, Curator for Digital Collections Interpretation and Public Engagement
- Pamela Saunders, Marketing Consultant
- Hannah Lau, Social Media Strategist
- Federico Buccellati, 2017 Research Fellow the project Calculating the Costs of Ancient Buildings
- Francis Deblauwe, Program Developer & Content Editor
- Justin Lev-Tov, Research Associate
- 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