Digging Up Data was first organized as a series of three virtual workshops, collaboratively planned by members of the team at The Alexandria Archive Institute/Open Context (AAI/OC) and the American Society of Overseas Research Early Career Scholars Committee (ASOR ECS) and moderated by Leigh Anne Lieberman and Tiffany Earley-Spadoni. These workshops, hosted live in fall 2021 and now shared on ASORtv and the AAI/OC YouTube channel, aimed to offer ASOR members an introduction to data literacy. What is data literacy and why is it important for archaeologists to be data literate? How do we begin to find, produce, curate, and analyze data? And how do we compose data-driven narratives of our research for diverse, public audiences?
The overwhelming interest in this initial collaborative program around data literacy encouraged the AAI/OC and ASOR ECS to team up again to offer the next installment in the Digging Up Data series: an experimental professional development program entitled Turning an Idea into Digital Scholarship. Under the mentorship of representatives from the AAI/OC and ASOR ECS, participants in this selective program develop a public-facing, engaging, data-driven digital project concerning some aspect of their research. Through this process, participants have an opportunity to:
- practice basic skills around data literacy (e.g.: how to find and curate data; how to assess data quality; how to analyze data; how to create clear data visualizations; etc.).
- practice basic skills around digital storytelling (e.g.: how to write for public audiences; how to tell stories from different perspectives; how to assess the pros and cons of different digital tools and platforms; how to share and archive your digital stories; etc.).
- meet (virtually) several times throughout the upcoming year with other participants and program mentors to engage in conversations around data literacy and digital scholarship.
- work one-on-one with program mentors to develop professional skills that will be useful for both the academic and the professional job markets.
- draft proposals for digital projects that can serve as the framework for future grant applications.
- begin to build some aspect of their digital projects.
- present some aspect of their work at the ASOR Annual Meeting.
The program's next call for applicants will be shared after the ASOR Annual Meeting in November 2023; for more information about the program's last call for applicants, please see this page.
Co-Director and Co-Chair, 2023 Digging Up Data Workshop at the ASOR Annual Meeting
Tiffany Earley-Spadoni is an Associate Professor whose research focuses on imperial landscapes in ancient Western Asia. She directs or co-directs two active field projects: the Vayots Dzor Fortress Landscapes Project (Armenia) and the Kurd Qaburstan Project (Iraq). Dr. Earley-Spadoni is an innovative educator who won an University-wide teaching award in 2021 and whose digital, community-focused projects have been recently supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Research Institute in the South Caucasus. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on digital methods and theory. Most recently, she co-designed and presented a series of digital literacy workshops for the American Society of Overseas Research in partnership with AAI/Open Context. She received her PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the Johns Hopkins University in 2016.
Co-Director and Co-Chair, 2023 Digging Up Data Workshop at the ASOR Annual Meeting
Leigh Anne Lieberman
Leigh Anne Lieberman serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the AAI/OC and the Digital Project Specialist in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. She has taught extensively at the university, secondary, and primary levels in both the United States and Italy. In 2022, she co-directed Digital Ancient Rome, an NEH Summer Seminar for K-12 Faculty, and she is also on of the Principal Investigators for Disciplinary Improvements for Past Global Change Research: Connecting Data Systems and Practitioners, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable Open Science Research Coordination Network (FAIROS RCN) grant awarded to the AAI/OC in 2022 and the Program Director for Networking Archaeological Data and Communities, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities (IATDH) awarded to the AAI/OC in 2022. In the field, she acts as the Manager of Data and Information Resources for the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (PARP:PS); 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).
Guest Instructor and Co-Chair, 2023 Digging Up Data Workshop at the ASOR Annual Meeting
Melissa Cradic 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 the Digital Humanities Program Associate for the AAI/OC, she manages and leads digital humanities workshops and seminars, 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. She will also serve as co-chair for the Digging Up Data workshop session at the 2023 ASOR Annual Meeting.
Matthew D. Howland is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Laboratory of Archaeology at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on the use of digital spatial and three-dimensional data for analysis and digital public archaeology. His public-oriented projects include the ArcGIS StoryMap, The Kingdom of Copper, published in English and Arabic, and the Choose Your Own Archaeology project, a 3D non-linear storytelling module published on Sketchfab. These projects aim to increase the accessibility of digital archaeological data and demystify the archaeological process to stakeholders and the general public. Matt’s work on the use of low-altitude aerial photography, image-based modeling, GIS analysis, and digital dissemination has been published in venues such as the Journal of Archaeological Science, Advances in Archaeological Practice, and Near Eastern Archaeology.
Elizabeth Knott is an NEH Fellow and a Visiting Fellow at Yale University. She trained as an Assyriologist and Art Historian of the Ancient Near East (NYU 2018), and has worked in museum environments for over ten years. As a Postdoctoral Associate in 2020–2022, Elizabeth helped manage a project focused on the digitization of seals in the Yale Babylonian Collection. Her current NEH Digital Publications project (Assessing Digitization Strategies for Mesopotamian Cylinder Seals: A Website for Critical Analysis and Exploration) focuses on the unexplored theoretical implications of digitization as a form of representation / interpretation.
Graham Braun is a first-year PhD student in Classics at the University of Cincinnati, specializing in Bronze Age Archaeology. His research focuses on the Bronze-Iron Age Aegean and centres upon the relationship between social interaction and the built environment, as well as interregional connectivity and socio-political networks in the pre/protohistoric eastern Mediterranean. He has excavated and completed geophysical survey at ancient Eleon in Boeotia and on the Anavlochos ridge in Crete, and he has studied the ancient Greek material in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, BC, Canada. Graham’s Digging Up Data project is co-authored with Caroline Barnes and derives from an architectural energetics study of monumental ashlar buildings in Late Bronze Age Cyprus. The project will be using multiple digital methods of recording spatial data, and one of its major goals is to distinguish the advantages and disadvantages of a number of recording, data processing, and visualization methods for architectural features. They are also interested in workshopping ways to disseminate their results to a wider public audience via ArcGIS StoryMaps and Sketchfab and would like to produce resources in both English and modern Greek in order to provide local Cypriots with a didactic tool on their own history and cultural heritage.
Bethany 'Bet' Hucks
Bethany ‘Bet’ Hucks is in the final year of her PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology, Egyptology, and Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University. She has a Master’s degree in Museum Studies from Marist College and Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, Italy and a Bachelor’s in History from Harvard University. Her research encompasses Roman transport, collecting, and display of Egyptian material culture; Classical reception; and the history of collecting and exhibitions. She uses 3D models and databases to recreate visual representations of display contexts and to provide access to students and researchers who would not otherwise be able to view or interact with physical objects. She has also worked on Bronze Age ceramics for excavations in the Mediterranean and Europe. She is a founding board member of Sportula Europe, a non-profit that provides microgrants to struggling and marginalized students and early career researchers in ancient Mediterranean studies.
Lauren McCormick earned her PhD in religious studies from Syracuse University in 2023, after obtaining a Bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and Master's degrees from NYU and Duke University. Lauren works with written and visual sources from the biblical world. Lauren specializes in the art and iconography of nude female figures in the ancient Near East. In the Digging Up Data program, Lauren will design a web exhibit of a Judean Pillar Figurine that she recolorized using Reflectance Transformation Imaging and Decorrelation Stretch Imaging. The exhibit will translate RTI data for public audiences and benefit anyone interested in learning about RTI, DStretch, recolorization, and/or Judean Pillar Figurines.
Maria-Gabriella is an archaeologist and art historian of the ancient Near East currently based as researcher at the Freie Universität Berlin and associate member of the ANEE-Center of Excellence at the University of Helsinki. Her interests focus on the material and artistic elements of ancient cultures, considering their meaning in the ancient context as well as their power to affect the contemporary world. She began building her skills at the Sapienza University of Rome, where she was trained in classics and archaeology at the Department of Sciences of Antiquity, obtaining her PhD in 2009 with a thesis on Assyrian images of architecture. She serves as a senior member of the Italian archaeological expedition to Syria at Tell Mardikh/Ebla and, since 2013, member of the French archaeological expedition to Qasr Shemamok/Kilizu (Erbil, Federal Region of Iraq).
Within a theoretical framework on concepts like modern reception, cultural identity and heritage, Maria-Gabriella has also developed a particular focus on modern reconstructions of ancient architecture (including 3D digital models) and on the mutual influence between ancient and modern architecture, including contemporary architecture in the Middle East. More recently, she has acted as principal investigator, on two projects devoted to the Achaemenid settlement at Tell Mardikh (the site that was ancient Ebla in the 3rd and 2nd Millennia BC). Her work related to the artistic and material culture of the Assyrian and Achaemenid periods enabled her to develop a critical perspective on the traditional interpretation of ancient art and visual media, and to conduct research on the role that imperial mechanisms played in the transmission and persistence of iconographies in the 1st Millennium eastern and central Mediterranean area, including the role of small communities and the network of which they were a part.
As part of this program, she will focus on a case study of terracotta figurines from the Persian-Achaemenid settlement at Tell Mardikh, Syria. By examining these terracottas, Maria-Gabriella will explain why these objects need to be studied with a transversal approach that allows their material and visual qualities to be bridged, and how (or even if) digital tools can contribute to this scope.
Kate Minniti just defended her PhD in Classical Archaeology from the Department of Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. She has a Master’s Degree in Egyptian Archaeology from UCL and one in History of Art and Archaeology from the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. She has been working as a field archaeologist for more than a decade, and since 2015 she is a senior member of the NYU-UniMi archaeological expedition in Selinunte, Italy. Her main research interests are connectivity and local responses to globalization in the Mediterranean during the Archaic Period.
She has also been a gamer for more than two decades, and since 2013 has been exploring how video games can represent - and mis-represent both archaeology as a field and antiquity itself. From 2020 she has been participating in a growing number of panels and conferences on archaeogaming and reception of antiquity in video games as a member of the Archaeogaming Collective, and has been streaming weekly on Twitch as Archaeogaming Live Events Coordinator for the Save Ancient Studies Alliance.
Victoria Muccilli (she/her) is a fourth-year PhD Candidate in Roman history at York University in Toronto, Canada. She has a Master’s degree in Roman history and a Bachelor of Education from York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from McGill University. Her doctoral dissertation, “Naming and Reclaiming: Reconsidering Global and Local Identities through Personal Names in Roman Spain from the Second Punic War to the Edict of Caracalla,” is a fully-contextualized study of the personal names attested in a stratified sample of communities throughout the Iberian peninsula. It is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is particularly concerned with reconstituting the identities of peoples indigenous to the Peninsula and the ways their names reflected local experiences of cultural change. These narratives form the basis of her project for Digging Up Data, which will use WordPress and various plugins to create a kind of virtual, visual and sonic landscape, animating the stories told in inscriptions about the Hispani. Victoria is interested in increasing the accessibility of the ancient world for broader audiences, particularly her colleagues in K-12 education. She is Chair of the Graduate Student Caucus of the Classical Association of Canada and is passionate about creating space and building community for graduate students and early career scholars.
Liz Neill is an archaeologist, museum professional, and PhD Candidate at Boston University. Her dissertation, “Ancient Geographies, Modern Travels: Provenance(s) of Imagined Creatures on Painted Pottery (600-480 BCE),” will illustrate the intersecting geographies of creature pots and present both ancient and modern provenance(s) in a location-based, interactive format, encouraging public and scholarly engagement with the creature corpus, as well as critical engagement with the issue of how to treat, exhibit, and study vessels with incomplete or uncertain provenance. She earned her MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from Bard Graduate Center. Her museum experience includes the Field Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, East Hampton Historical Society, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Before entering the PhD program, she was a Project Manager and Content Producer at a museum interactive design firm in Boston. She excavates in Boston (City Archaeology Program) and in Greece (Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project, Ancient Corinth, ASCSA/California State University Long Beach).
Leigh Anne Lieberman
Ryder Kouba is the Librarian and Archivist at the American Center of Research in Amman, Jordan. He has worked in Hong Kong, Cairo, and Houston after receiving his MLIS from the University of Texas. Among Ryder's professional activities is membership in PERSIST, a UNESCO program that focuses on software preservation. Additionally, he has served a curatorial advisor for the Digital Library of the Middle East project and on various committees of the Society of American Archivists and the Middle East Librarians Association.
Dr. Vivian A. Laughlin is an Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University. She is a broadly trained Archaeologist and Anthropologist of the West Asian and North African regions. Her research and interests hone the geographical receptions and transformations that derived from North Africa, specifically ancient Egypt, that became wide-spread during the Hellenistic and Roman periods in locations east and west of the Mediterranean. She has three digital archaeology projects, which is another passion of hers. An ancient mapping project called The Serapian and Isiac Trails, Roman Aqaba Project 2.0: A Legacy of Cultural Heritage, and Sustaining the Cultural Heritage Legacy of Tell Nimrin. The latter two digital archaeology projects are legacy projects from Jordan.
Brooke Norton is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Egyptian Archaeology and Art History at the University of California, Berkeley. She also serves as the Associate Curator of the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Berkeley, CA. Her museum work, teaching, and fieldwork focuses on increasing accessibility of archaeological data for diverse audiences through multi-platform programs and social media such as digital exhibitions, open-access platforms, and museum programming. In the field she directs social media and digital archaeology outreach for the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition where her collaborative work with digital storytelling builds off the extensive 3D modeling of the archaeology at the sites, built by Bryan Kramer (Wadi el-Hudi Co-Director). Brooke has conducted archaeological research in the Middle East and Mediterranean region but primarily works with the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition in the Egyptian Eastern Desert where she serves as Magazine and Artifact Manager. Brooke’s research interests focus on cultural connections between New Kingdom Egypt and the Southern Levant.