Roger L. Michel Jr - Founder & Executive Director
The IDA was founded in 2012 by its current Executive Director, Roger Michel of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to promote the fusion of new digital imaging technologies and traditional archaeological techniques. A joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and the government of the United Arab Emirates, the IDA is intended to provide a vehicle for creating and maintaining open-access archives of epigraphical images to assure both the wide dissemination and permanent availability of such materials. As Mr. Michel explained in his keynote address at the organization's first annual conference, "the IDA's approach to information sharing is designed to encourage a diverse, crowd-sourced and inter-disciplinary approach to the interpretation of archaeological discoveries. It is also intended to serve as a means of preserving and restoring cultural heritage artifacts at a time when large numbers of irreplaceable objects are under obvious threat of being lost forever." Of the IDA's signature project, the Million Image Database, Mr. Michel has stated that "our mission is to rebuild the landscape of the Middle East and the great symbols of our shared cultural heritage that have been destroyed or defaced. These symbols - the architecture and objects of the ancient world - speak powerfully to what unites the East and the West." Mr. Michel is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford Universities, and has been on the faculty at Boston University for more than two decades. The author of numerous articles, his forthcoming piece on the Greek Aldines, coauthored by Dr. Nigel Wilson, will appear in the Winter 2016 issue of Arion.
To see a profile of Roger Michel in the New York Times, Click Here
Alexy Karenowska - Director of Technology
Dr. Alexy Karenowska is a magnetician with a research group based in the University of Oxford, UK's Department of Physics, and is also Fellow by Special Election of Magdalen College Oxford. A trained engineer as well as a physicist, Karenowska directs the IDA's technical team. She has a particular interest in the application of 3D printing and machining technologies to the restoration or replication of damaged or destroyed archaeological structures and artefacts, and the development of new technologies for the characterization and preservation of heritage objects. Karenowska also manages the IDA's public installations in the UK and the USA.
Erin Simmons - Director of Administration
Erin joined the IDA as director of administration in 2013. Through her role with the IDA, Erin has launched multiple projects in collaboration with The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and the National Trust, helping to raise the profile of digital techniques in archaeology and their potential in preserving cultural heritage. She is also responsible for the IDA's events, marketing and social media. An archaeologist and anthropologist in her own right, Erin specializes in theories of knowledge transfer and coproduction. She is a graduate of both The University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Ben Altshuler - Field Director
Ben Altshuler has been the Field Director for the IDA since 2014. Before that, he served as the IDA's Jasper Griffin Fellow from 2012-2014. A sponsored researcher in the Classics Faculty at Oxford University, Altshuler has worked on a large number of imaging projects both in North America and Europe. Most recently he has either worked on or led projects involving the Parian Marble at the Ashmolean Museum, the Menander Palimpsest at the Vatican Library, and the Philae Obelisk at Kingston Lacy. In addition, during the past two years, Altshuler has taught as a guest lecturer at Harvard University and, more recently, the University of Zurich. He has led numerous RTI workshops for both undergraduates and senior research scholars, and was the convenor of an RTI panel at the 2015 annual general meeting of the Society for Classical Studies (formerly the American Philological Association). He is the author of multiple articles on digital archaeology, including a piece on RTI in the Fall 2014 issue of Arion. He will be leading the imaging team in the IDA's upcoming collaboration with Professor Randall White of New York University at the Marsoulas Caves. As the IDA's Jasper Griffin fellow, Altshuler serves as archivist for the IDA's oral history database (for which he personally conducted more than twenty interviews) and the Joyce Reynolds Epigraphy Archive. Altshuler has worked closely with the Iris Project, an Oxford based educational charity that seeks to bring classics into secondary schools.
Khaled Hiatlih - Reconstruction Initiative, Syria,
Mr. Khaled Hiatlih leads our on-site reconstruction initiative in Syria. In collaboration with the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums and other regional stakeholders, we are exploring all aspects – methodological and conceptual – of the application of new technologies to the repair and reconstruction of archaeological sites. Mr. Hiatlih has worked in many projects in Syria such as the restoration of the Folk museum (Azem Palace) in Damascus, and led a team to document all the mosaic panels in Syrian museums as part of a database project with the European center for Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments. Mr Hiatlih graduated from Damascus University and studied at Birmingham University, USA.
Roger Bagnall - Professor of Ancient History, Leon Levy Director Emeritus ISAW, NYU
Dr. Bagnall is the Leon Levy Director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and a professor of Ancient History at NYU. He specializes in the social economic history of Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique Egypt. Dr. Bagnall has been working with the IDA since 2013, and was honored in an event in September 2013 at Trinity College, Oxford. Currently, Dr. Bagnall is responsible for the IDA/ISAW epigraphical database, a crucial element of the 'crowd-sourced, inter-disciplinary approach' to the study of archaeology on which the IDA was founded.
Emma Dench - Convener - Annual Harvard Sicily Program
Prof. Emma Dench is a professor of the Classics and History at Harvard University. Her research focuses on Roman Republican and early Imperial history, and questions of identity in the ancient world. Beginning with the first IDA/Harvard Sicily Trip in 2014, Prof. Dench has been working with the IDA to make epigraphical studies and digital techniques a staple of the Harvard Classics Department, creating workshops and specialty training for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Alan Bowman - Textbook Publications
Dr. Alan Bowman, FBA, FSA is the former Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford and the director of the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents at Oxford University. He is also the Emeritus Camden Professor of Ancient History. Dr. Bowman has worked on numerous joint CSDA-IDA projects, including most recently a comprehensive photo-documentation of the Philae Obelisk at Kingston Lacy -- soon to be the subject matter of a book published for the National Trust. He is currently overseeing the publication of the IDA's forthcoming textbook, Digital Archaeology.
Mary Beard - Academic Consultant
Mary Beard is a professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Newnham College. She is also the Royal Academy of Arts professor of ancient literature. Mary has a regular blog on the Times Literary Supplement online, 'A Don's Life'. She has assisted the IDA on various projects, including the Women in Classics Series and Sicily.