CoDA & Codifi Inc.: A Story of Passion and Commitment

Hello, this is us now.

And this is our history that we never really told. It all started with four of us. Ruth, Meg, Michael and Cinzia had been working separately and together within and outside the UC Berkeley Anthropology Department. We were each experimenting with all things digital and how they could apply to and benefit the study of archaeology. We were pioneers of multimedia instruction and fans of cool tech tools to tell stories from the past. No, seriously, Ruth and Michael were champions! look at this.

Ruth Tringham and Michael Ashley in the Berkeley Journal, May 1994 for Michael's digital undergraduate honors thesis!

Ruth Tringham and Michael Ashley in the Berkeley Journal, May 1994 for Michael's digital undergraduate honors thesis!

In 2011 we realized we wanted a new hub for our experiments. It was time to create CoDA - The Center for Digital Archaeology, a group of people that would meet, play with new digital technologies, and focus on developing tools to make archaeology and human history engaging and accessible. After a smooth and quick filing process, CoDA was born and incorporated in April 2011. It took less than two months… Yep, we were that driven.

In just a couple of years, under the leadership of Michael Ashley, CoDA became an international leader in digital archaeology, cultural heritage, and education. All those years of pioneering interest in digital media and technologies, building unique teaching skills were paying off.

We have traveled around the globe, from Israel to Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, to Mexico, and throughout the US (California, South Pacific, Alaska, just to mention a few). By connecting with others, we learned how to bring digital into the practice of archaeology and created sustainable and efficient workflows. In 2012, we started development of Codifi, a media and data management solution for field archaeology. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, we helped create Mukurtu CMS and Mukurtu Mobile (historical posts here) with our friends at Washington State University. What a fantastic ride that was! We learned a lot and each experience fed into the next.

At a workshop in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

At a workshop in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia


As CoDA and our collaborations grew, we realized that it was quite challenging to develop software while running a nonprofit. Dealing with all that coding while keeping up with CoDA’s strong educational mission was just too challenging... A difficult balance, too many hats.


So in 2015 Michael Ashley, CoDA’s CEO for all those years, spun off Codifi Inc., a California Benefit Corporation dedicated to software development for digital heritage documentation and preservation. And in early 2016, Cinzia Perlingieri, one of CoDA’s founders and former Director of Research, stepped in as the new Executive Director. Michael Ashley remained on CoDA’s Board of Directors as Technical Advisor (yay!) and is there today. He also didn’t want to miss the celebrations for CoDA’s 5th birthday!


In a nutshell, two great organizations were born from the same idea and from the same passion. Codifi Inc. is off to a great start and busy with an imminent launch. CoDA recently launched a new training program, and got a cool new logo!  


These twin companies are more than ever committed to promoting research, engagement, and education in archaeology and cultural heritage.

We all believe that the world’s cultural heritage is one of the most profound expressions of our civilization, by documenting, preserving and protecting it we celebrate human achievement.

Thanks to all our friends and supporters, and all the communities that believe in our commitment, we can do what we love and always, always, love what we do.