Advocacy & Leadership

We believe that data are for discovery and inspiration, not just management. We advocate for this approach in speaking engagements, publications, blog posts, and tweets. We offer prize competitions to encourage others to step up to the challenge of working with data. This work has won wide recognition from the archaeology community and beyond, including the White House.

Communications and Publications

The AAI team presents at several conferences every year. Lectures are posted in the News section of this site and on the Open Context blog. We publish regularly on our work. The Impacts section of this site provides a list of publications.

Awards & Recognition

2016: The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) honors Open Context with its 2016 Award for Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology.

2014: The AAI team and colleague Benjamin Arbuckle receive the “Best Paper” prize at the 2014 International Digital Curation Conference for their contribution Publishing and Pushing: Mixing Models for Communicating Research Data in Archaeology.

2013: Eric Kansa is honored by the White House as a Champion of Change in Open Science, along with 12 other “leaders and organizations promoting and using open scientific data and publications to accelerate progress and improve our world.”

2012: The AAI wins the Encyclopedia of Life’s Computable Data Challenge for the project Exploring Biogeography of Early Domestic Animals using Linked Open Data.

2010: The National Science Foundation archaeology program links to Open Context in relation to Data Management Plans. Soon thereafter (summer 2011), the National Endowment for the Humanities does the same.

See the History section of this website for a full list of AAI’s milestones.

Prize Competitions

ribbon-100x100In 2016, we partnered with Shawn Graham at Carleton University on the Open Context & Carleton Prize for Archaeological Visualization. The competition is aimed at discovering how the increasing amount of archaeology data on the web can be interrogated, visualized, and reused. Winners will be announced in January 2017. Check out a quick, fun video about the prize.

oa-prizeFrom 2006 – 2014, the AAI sponsored a series of Open Archaeology prize competitions aimed at promoting the development and use of open educational resources in archaeology and related disciplines. The prize competitions received generous support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David Brown Book Company. A panel of judges from the relevant community selected winners based on their project’s scholarly merit, potential for reuse in research or teaching, and availability on the web in a free and reusable format. View a list of winners of all Open Archaeology Prize competitions.


BoneCommons is an ICAZ-sponsored project developed by the Alexandria Archive Institute. Launched in May 2006, BoneCommons facilitates discussion and contact between zooarchaeologists worldwide by offering forums where ICAZ members can post papers, images, teaching resources, questions and comments. The goals of BoneCommons are to (1) provide a virtual place where archaeozoologists worldwide can “meet” to share their work, ask questions, announce new developments in the field, and have continuing discussions around member-posed topics; (2) enhance scholarly communication by enabling richer discussion and peer evaluation of conference presentations. BoneCommons enables conference participants to review presentations and engage in discussions long after the physical meeting is over; (3) experiment with open access and open licensing to enhance the value of scholaraly communication by making content easier to find, reproduce, share, evaluate, and incorporate into future scholarly works and educational resources; and (4) invite a broader and more diverse community to explore zooarchaeological scholarship via the Internet. Opening access to our work will help zooarchaeologists engage with the public and more widely demonstrate the contributaions and value of archaeological scholarship.

Find out more about BoneCommons by exploring the website and reading these papers:

Beyond BoneCommons: Recent Developments in Zooarchaeological Data Sharing

Zooarchaeology on the Internet: A View from Britain (by Matt Law)

User-Generated Content in Zooarchaeology: Exploring the “Middle Space” of Scholarly Communication

“Ribbon” icon by julianne via the