Two months of insanity

March 10, 2014

Lindroth_The_Absent-minded_ProfessorIt’s finally there: the last two months of my PhD. Ever since I started almost four years ago everyone I talked to with a Dr. in front of their name told me the same thing, that the last few months are the hardest. It sounded as if when you finally decided to finish the damn thing off it starts putting up a fight. This usually finishes in the valiant PhD student winning the battle but loosing part of their sanity and most of their short-term memory in the process. My short-term memory is long gone (this is the main reasons why I claim to show promise for a career as an absentminded academic), but I have held on to my sanity. So far.

As I am working my way through my PhD in the coming two months I will document my struggle and loss of sanity on this blog, hoping it will end in victory. You can expect blog posts about all of the case studies I worked on in the last few years. In particular citation networks and visibility networks. But I will also share some of the conclusions I drew from working with network methods as an archaeologists, the challenges archaeologists are faced with, how we could confront these challenges, and my efforts to make a small contribution towards this. So stay tuned, and above all, please don’t hesitate to comment and provide me with your feedback on my work. I can use it now more than ever! :)


Few tickets still available Connected Past Paris

February 5, 2014

TCPThe free tickets to attend The Connected Past conference in Paris on 26 April are going fast but a few of them are still available. So if you would like to attend this event then grab your ticket soon via the registration page.

The Connected Past 2014 Paris is a free one-day satellite conference to CAA 2014 that brings together historians and archaeologists to discuss common themes in network analysis. The full programme with abstracts can be found on the conference website. More info and a short programme are included below.

Hope to see many of you there!

Tom, Claire, and The Connected past steering committee

http://connectedpast.soton.ac.uk/

The Connected Past
A satellite conference at CAA 2014, Paris

Held Saturday April 26th 2014 in Sciences Po, rooms Albert Sorel and Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, 75007 Paris (metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Rue du Bac). Building A on this map.

With the Support of Sciences Po, the DYREM research program, Médialab, the CAA committee, and the French network of historical network analysis.

Organisers: Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris), Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton), The Connected Past steering committee.

The conference will be held immediately after the CAA conference (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology), also happening in Paris, allowing participants to easily attend both – but participants from other disciplines, especially history, are also most welcome.

The conference aims to:

  • Provide a forum for the presentation of network-based research applied to archaeological or historical questions
  • Discuss the practicalities and implications of applying network perspectives and methodologies to archaeological and historical data in particular
  • Strengthen the group of researchers interested in the potential of network approaches for archaeology and history
  • Foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaborative work towards integrated analytical frameworks for understanding complex networks
  • Stimulate debate about the application of network theory and analysis within archaeology and history in particular, but also more widely, and highlight the relevance of this work for the continued development of network theory in other disciplines

There are no attendance fees. Although this event is free of charge, registration is required and the number of places is limited. Registration to the event will open once the final programme is advertised in late November, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

A “The Connected Past” practical workshop, “Introduction to network analysis for archaeologists” will also be organized during CAA2014 in Paris (see the CAA programme).

All the presentations and posters have been confirmed, but the exact programme is still subject to minor changes

Saturday 26 April

9-9.45 Welcome coffee and introduction

9.45-11 First session: Mobility through networks
Eivind Heldaas Seland: Tracing trade routes as networks: From Palmyra to the Persian Gulf in the first three centuries CE
Henrik Gerding and Per Östborn: Network analyses of the diffusion of Hellenistic fired bricks
Marie Lezowski: Cohesion through mobility : the networks of relics in 17th-century Lombardy

11-11.15 Coffee break

11.15-12.30 Second session: Dynamics and cross-period comparisons
Habiba, Jan C. Athenstädt and Ulrik Brandes: Inferring Social Dynamics from Spatio-Temporal Network Data in the US Southwest
Ana Sofia Ribeiro: Resilience in times of Early Modern financial crises: the case study of Simon Ruiz network, 1553-1606
Marion Beetschen: Scientists in Swiss Committees of Experts (1910-2010): Power and Academic Disciplines Through Networks

12.30-13.45 Lunch break

13.45-15 Third session: Cross-cultural networks
Angus A. A. Mol and Floris W. M. Keehnen: Tying up Columbus: A historical and material culture study of the networks that resulted from the first European voyages into the Caribbean (AD 1492-1504)
Francisco Apellaniz: Cooperating in Complex Environments: Cross-cultural Trade, Commercial Networks and Notarial Culture in Alexandria (Egypt) : 1350-1500
Florencia Del Castillo and Joan Anton Barceló: Inferring the intensity of Social Network from radiocarbon dated Bronze Age archaeological contexts

15-15.15 Coffee break

15-15.50 Fourth session: Political interactions
Stanley Théry: Social network analysis between Tours notables and Louis XI (1461-1483)
Laurent Beauguitte: Models of historical networks: A methodological proposal

15.50-16.45 Final session, including a very short (2 minutes) oral presentation for each poster, discussion of the posters and final general discussion
Posters by:
Thibault Clérice and Anthony Glaise: Network analysis and distant reading: The Cicero’s Network
Damian Koniarek, Renata Madziara and Piotr Szymański: Towards a study of the structure of the business & science social network of the 2nd Polish Republic
Susana Marcos: Familial alliances, social links et geographical network. The example of the province of Lusitania in the Roman Empire (to be confirmed)
Stefania Merlo Perring: The ChartEx Project. Reconstructing spatial relationships from medieval charters: a collaboration between Data Mining and Historical Topography
Sébastien Plutniak: Archaeology as practical mereology: an attempt to analyze a set of ceramic refits using network analysis tools
Grégoire van Havre: Interactions and network analysis of a rock art site in Morro do Chapéu, Bahia, Brazil

16.45 Drinks and informal discussion


CFP CAA UK Oxford

January 13, 2014

caaukTime for another CAA UK chapter meeting! This year it wil take place in Oxford on 21-22 March. The call for papers is now out, with a 31 January deadline. The online submissions system will be live on the 15th. So time to start writing those abstracts, let’s get some networky papers in there :)

More info below or on the CAA UK website.

The next annual meeting of the UK Chapter of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA-UK) will be held in Oxford on 21st and 22nd March 2014. CAA-UK aims to encourage communication between UK-based archaeologists, mathematicians and computer scientists in order to stimulate research and promote best practice in computational and mathematical approaches to the past.

Computational and statistical approaches have become an essential part of the tool-kit, so much so that they have become de rigueur. Whilst it has often been acknowledged that such ‘tools’ are not theory-neutral, both approaches have struggled to throw off their positivist origins. Papers and posters are encouraged which move beyond abstract models or representations and offer substantive contributions to interpretation of the past.

Suggested topics include:

GIS;
Spatial analysis;
Photogrammetry;
Geophysics;
Remote sensing;
3D modelling;
Visualisation;
Network analysis;
Statistical methods;
Semantic web;
‘Social’ media.

Abstracts (350 words maximum) should be submitted via the conference website (www.caa-uk.org) by 31st January 2014. The online submission system will go live on 15th January 2014. Any queries regarding the call for papers should be emailed to admin@caa-uk.org.


Citation analysis paper published in LLC

August 6, 2013

llc262coverIt took a while, but it’s finally published! My citation network analysis of archaeological literature can now be found in Literary and Linguistic Computing, the Digital Humanities journal. The paper looks at how archaeologists that used formal network techniques cited each other, and it tries to trace where they got their ideas from. To do this I use citation network analysis techniques developed in a field called Bibliometrics. It doesn’t sound particularly sexy, but I think it’s pretty cool stuff. Academic papers have long lists of references they cite, which can be considered a formal expression of where they  got their ideas from, or what they were influenced by. Each one of those papers can be considered a point or node in a network. An arrow is drawn between two papers if one cites the other. This creates a pretty web of citations when done for 10 papers, but it creates a complex messy spaghetti monster when done for more than 30,000 papers, as I illustrate in my paper. So for this reason we use network techniques to tackle such massive datasets and say something interesting about them.

Over the coming weeks I will write blog posts about some of the more interesting findings of this work. But do have a look at the published paper. If you have access to LLC then download it here. If not then you can find a link on my bibliography page or you can download it on Scribd.


CAA Poland tomorrow

June 7, 2013

caapolandDear Polish and less-Polish friends! Tomorrow a new CAA chapter will have it’s inaugural meeting: CAA Poland is born! The line-up sounds great, although a few more vowels would be welcome :) Philip Verhagen will give a keynote presentation and Iza Romanowska might make a guest appearance with a recorded remote presentation. Check out the CAA Poland Facebook group for more information. Let’s go to Poland all!

Program konferencji:

9.30 – 10.00 rejestracja uczestników
10.00 – 10.10 inauguracja konferencji
10.10 – 10.30 CAA International i CAA oddział Polska – wprowadzenie
10.30 – 11.15 wykład gościnny: dr J.W.H.P. (Philip) Verhagen, Faculteit der Letteren (oudheid), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

11.15 – 11.30 przerwa kawowa

PANEL I: Panel ekspercki

11.30 – 11.50 dr A. Prinke (Muzeum Archeologiczne w Poznaniu) OD OŚMIOBITOWCA DO PROJEKTÓW EUROPEJSKICH”: Dorobek Muzeum Archeologicznego w Poznaniu na polu komputeryzacji”
11.50 – 12.10 mgr inż. P. Kaczmarek (Esri Polska /Fundacja Centrum GeoHistorii) Mój poligon doświadczeń z historią i archeologią czyli świat oczami GISowca
12.10 – 12.30 mgr J. D. Mejor (Biblioteka Narodowa) Stan digitalizacji w sektorze Bibliotek
12.30 – 12.45 dyskusja
12.45 – 13.00 przerwa

PANEL II: LiDAR

13.00 – 13.20 mgr M. Legut – Pintal, mgr Ł. Pintal (Politechnika Wrocławska) Perspektywy wykorzystania danych pozyskanych w programie ISOK w prospekcji archeologicznej. Przykład założeń
obronnych dorzecza Nysy Kłodzkiej
13.20 – 13.40 K. Hanus (Uniwersytet Jagielloński/ University of Sydney) Optymalizacja przetwarzania danych LiDAR pozyskanych w trakcie badań nad cywilizacjami lasu tropikalnego
13.40 – 14.00 M. Jakubczak (Uniwersytet Kardynała Stefana Wyszyńskiego) LiDAR, GIS, GPS w badaniach nad prahistorycznym górnictwem krzemienia, na przykładzie pola górniczego „Skałecznica Duża”
14.00 – 14.15 dyskusja
14.15 – 15.15 przerwa obiadowa

PANEL III: Nowoczesne metody dokumentacji (I)

15.15 – 15.35 inż. arch. Karolina Majdzik (Politechnika Wrocławska), Anna Kubicka (Politechnika Wrocławska) Cyfrowe metody dokumentacji w pracach archeologiczno – architektonicznych na podstawie badań w Deir el – Bahari i Marina el – Alamein
15.35 – 15.55 mgr P. Rajski (Politechnika Wrocławska) Doświadczenia z inwentaryzacji zamków śląskiego pogranicza. Porównanie metod inwentaryzacji w badaniach architektonicznych i konserwacji
15.55 – 16.15 mgr W. Ejsmond (Uniwersytet Warszawski), mgr J.Chyla (Uniwersytet Jagielloński) Zastosowanie mobilnego systemu GIS w badaniach na zespole stanowisk archeologicznych
w Gebelein
16.15 – 16.30 dyskusja

PANEL IV: Nowoczesne metody dokumentacji (II)

16.30 – 16.50 mgr Ł. Miszk (Uniwersytet Jagielloński) Standardy prowadzenia dokumentacji na stanowisku Nea Pafos
16.50 – 17.10 mgr M. Bryk, mgr J. Chyla (Uniwersytet Jagielloński) Weryfikacja archeologicznych badań powierzchniowych przy pomocy GIS
17.10 – 17.25 dyskusja
17.25 – 17.40 przerwa kawowa

PANEL V: Prospekcja i analiza danych

17.40 – 18.00 mgr B. Pankowski (Uniwersytet Jagielloński), mgr Andrzej Święch Użycie nowych technologii w badaniach podwodnych na Wiśle
18.00 – 18.20 A. Rokoszewski (Uniwersytet Warszawski) Gdzie wzrok sięga – wykorzystanie analizy pola widzenia (viewshed analysis) do badań archeologicznych
18.20 – 18.40 M. Gilewski (Uniwersytet Warszawski) Wykorzystanie Erosion Productivity Impact Calculator (EPIC) w badaniach nad rolnictwem Majów
18.40 – 19.00 dyskusja

19.00 – 19.30 spotkanie CAA PL


Hestia2 seminar: registration open

May 23, 2013

hestiaThe Hestia project is pleased to announce “HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources”, a one-day seminar on spatial network analysis and linked data in Classical studies, archaeology and cultural heritage.

The seminar will be held at The University of Southampton on 18 July. Registration for this event is free, but we do recommend registering as early as possible since the number of available places is limited. More information, including abstracts and registration, can be found on The Connected Past website.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Southampton!

Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans

HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources

University of Southampton 18th July 2013
Organisers: Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans
In collaboration with The Connected Past

A free one-day seminar on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology.

Spatial relationships appear throughout our sources about the past: from the ancient roads that connect cities, or ancient authors mentioning political alliances between places, to the stratigraphic contexts archaeologists deal with in their fieldwork. However, as datasets about the past become increasingly large, spatial relationships become ever more difficult to disentangle. Network visualization and analysis allow us to address such spatial relationships explicitly and directly. This seminar aims to explore the potential of these innovative techniques for research in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors.

The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded initiative ‘Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories’ (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.

Registration

Registration for this event is now open. Please follow the instructions on the HESTIA2 Eventbrite page to obtain your ticket (no payment card needed).

The HESTIA2 seminar is free to attend but registration is required. Since places are limited we suggest you register as soon as possible.

Programme

11:00 Registration and coffee

11:30 HESTIA-team

  • Welcome and introduction to HESTIA and HESTIA2

12:00 Maximilian Schich (The University of Texas at Dallas)

12:25 Alex Godden (Hampshire County Council)

12:50 John Goodwin (Ordnance Survey)

13:15 Discussion

13:35 Tea and coffee break

13:55 Terhi Nurmikko (University of Southampton)

14:20 Kate Byrne (University of Edinburgh)

14:45 Giorgio Uboldi (Politecnico di Milano)

15:10 Discussion

15:35 Tea and coffee break

16:00 Keith May (English Heritage)

16:25 Paul Cripps (University of South Wales)


How I almost missed a great conference: Two days of Tracing Networks at the British Academy

May 7, 2013

tracng networksSometimes conferences can be quite predictable: I know who I will meet, I know what I will hear, I know where I will get a drink at the end of the day. The Tracing Networks conference held at the British Academy two weeks ago was not one of those predictable events, for a number of reasons. First of all, because I forgot all about it. I woke up one day and noticed two days of Tracing Networks in my calendar. I arrived at the venue without having a clue who would be there, who would present, what they would be talking about and where I could get a drink. And I can definitely recommend forgetting about conferences to everyone, because the event turned out to be a very enjoyable experience.

Lin Foxhall giving the opening address, with Anthony Harding

Lin Foxhall giving the opening address, with Anthony Harding

Lin Foxhall gave the opening address in name of the Tracing Networks team. Her talk was an overview of the project, and their search for a suitable methodological framework. This self-reflective and honest discourse was really fascinating. Lin went through a range of arguments why actor-network theory and formal network methods were not suitable. She said that network perspectives are good to think with but meaningfully and rigorously applying them within an archaeological context is particularly difficult. In my opinion this is totally true and cannot be emphasized enough. The team found a method based on ontologies and semantic web most appropriate for dealing with the large and very diverse datasets the project is concerned with.

Another presentation that interested me was Borja Legarra Herrero’s talk on using SNA for studying social change in Late Bronze Age Southern Spain. Some of his slides and parts of his paper revealed a very useful side of networks: their ability to communicate simple but useful structural ideas as small graphs representing different extreme hypotheses (e.g. star graph vs line graph vs circle graph). The usefulness of networks as a tool for communication is often uncritically exaggerated. I learned from experience that showing people real networks representing real data results in awkward silences: people don’t get it. True, these graphs become extremely useful once you understand the layout algorithm and play around with alternative visualizations. But their ability to communicate simple ideas is trivial compared to simplifying graphs of just a few nodes and links.

Leif Isaksen at Tracing Networks

Leif Isaksen at Tracing Networks

This issue came up again during Steve Conway’s reflections on graph visualizations. His paper took my own article in Oxford Journal of Archaeology as a starting point, and tried to find similar trends to the ones I described in his review of the use of formal network methods in the managerial literature. He identified some really familiar sounding issues: there is a tendency to conflate time; a tendency to ossify, to make static; an over-emphasis on the overall network and ignoring individual nodes; a tendency to let the network visualization speak for itself; and an under-emphasis on context. These are all common issues with the use of network visualizations, which are never neutral and are as laden with decisions and assumptions as any other communication medium (Steve wrote an interesting article about this in the british journal of management). This does not mean network visualizations are useless, or even bad at what they do. One just needs to approach and use them with as informed an understanding as possible of the decisions and assumptions that went into their creation.

Another paper that interested me was delivered by Peter Van Dommelen. He opened his talk on a sobering note, stating that “networks are not everything, we need to understand what is going on inside the nodes themselves”. Peter was mainly concerned with developing a critical archaeological approach to the study of migrations, stressing that the context of migrations need to be understood. He argued that there was a reluctance to discuss migration in archaeology since two decades because earlier migration studies were overly simplistic. That’s why we need to look beyond and below networks, we need to contextualize migrations, because the arrows on a map approach is just not good enough. We don’t just want to trace the large-scale, possibly state-enforced networks, but also the personal small-scale networks. We need a focus on communities on the ground if we want to understand what is going on inside the nodes. It is in the end the people who matter, they did not just trace but created the networks we are talking about. Peter discussed his ideas in the context of Nurraghic culture in Sardinia. He is of course right, but I have the impression that up til now the people that are “doing networks” have tended to go for the big datasets evidencing large-scale patterns, because there is just such a good fit with the network methods. However, this means that the challenge of local-scale, more contextualized archaeological network analysis remained under-explored.

Carl Knappett at Tracing Networks

Carl Knappett at Tracing Networks

… Until now? Carl Knappett clearly did not shy away from more small-scale and contextualized network approaches. His paper provided a balanced overview of network methods and theories, of the issues involved and the potential gains of a networks perspective for archaeology. He argued that network analysis in archaeology works best if node selection is unproblematic. It imposes some sort of order over a messy dataset. Although this is undeniably the case, it has to be said that some archaeologists are making real progress in confronting this issue. Ethan Cochrane and Carl Lipo explore how different artefact classifications emerge when different network approaches are used. In his PhD thesis Matt Peoples compares networks of ceramics classified by traditional ware typologies with networks of ceramic technical features. Carl continues by stating the importance of node definition and that this is a theoretical decision, i.e. it is wrong to think that SNA is untheoretical (Carl referred to Butts’ 2009 paper in Science). I could not agree more. The decisions an archaeological network analyst makes when defining nodes and edges, when selecting or modifying analytical techniques and when interpreting the outcomes are fundamentally influenced by their theoretical preconceptions. When I was recently tackling this issue for one of my case-studies I challenged myself to come up with at least two different ways of creating a network from the same dataset; in the end I found ten! Other issues raised by Carl involved temporal and geographical scales. He claimed that although archaeological network methods are often static, this is not a problem of the network perspective per se. In fact, the meaning of nodes or categories of analysis can emerge through the process of thinking through networks (Carl referred to Astrid Van Oyen’s work on comparing ANT and SNA). Carl challenged many of these issues head-on through his case studies from Bronze Age Crete, which revealed exactly how challenging they really are.

The Tracing Networks conference was a great experience, not in the least because I was genuinely surprised to see so many scholars there with shared interests doing fascinating work. I am looking forward to the proceedings and to forgetting about some of the upcoming conferences in my calendar.


CFP Hestia2 seminar

April 29, 2013

hestiaThree years ago I attended the conference that concluded the Hestia project. I gave my second presentation ever at that conference and met loads of fascinating people, all of which I am still good friends with. Project Hestia was all about using new computing techniques to explore the use of space in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’. The conference drew an eclectic mix of computer scientists, classicists, historians and archaeologists. As always happens at such multi-disciplinary events, academics with a different background always find common ground that leads to fascinating discussions.

I was glad to hear that the Hestia team managed to get follow-on funding from the AHRC, and even happier that this time round I got to be part of the team. The Connected Past is a partner in Hestia2. We are organising a one-day seminar at The University of Southampton on 18 July on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology. Hestia part 2 is all about public engagement, so expect a mixed crowd and fascinating discussions!

We welcome abstracts for this event, so please go ahead and send yours in now. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in attending. More info on the call for paper can be found below or on the Connected Past website.

CALL FOR PAPERS

HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources

University of Southampton 18th July 2013
Organisers: Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans
In collaboration with The Connected Past

A free one-day seminar on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology.

Spatial relationships are everywhere in our sources about the past: from the ancient roads that connect cities, or ancient authors mentioning political alliances between places, to the stratigraphic contexts archaeologists deal with in their fieldwork. However, as datasets about the past become increasingly large, these spatial networks become ever more difficult to disentangle. Network techniques allow us to address such spatial relationships explicitly and directly through network visualisation and analysis. This seminar aims to explore the potential of such innovative techniques for research, public engagement and commercial purposes.

The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded “Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories” (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.

For this first Hestia2 workshop we welcome contributions addressing any of (but not restricted to) the following themes:
• Spatial network analysis techniques
• Spatial networks in archaeology, history and classics
• Techniques for the discovery and analysis of networks from textual sources
• Exploring spatial relationships in classical and archaeological sources
• The use of network visualisations and linked datasets for archaeologists active in the commercial sector and teachers
• Applications of network analysis in archaeology, history and classics

Please email proposed titles and abstracts (max. 250 words) to:
t.brughmans@soton.ac.uk by May 13th 2013.


The Connected Past @ SAA tomorrow

April 3, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 12.27.00The Connected Past is alive! We are preparing a few more events that will be announced soon. But now I am very excited about tomorrow when we will host the second Connected Past event at the Society for American Archaeologists meeting in Honolulu. We have a great line-up of speakers and Ian Hodder will act as a discussant at the session. The session itself might not provide enough time to say everything we want to say about networks in archaeology, which is why Angus Mol and Mark Golitko have organised a discussion forum on Friday called ‘re-connecting the past’.

Have a look on The Connected Past website for the full abstracts, or on the dedicated page on this blog.

A full report will follow soon after the event!

Hope to see some of you there!


Connected Island: Citation Network Analysis

February 18, 2013

In two previous blogposts (1, 2) I introduced the amazing Connected Island project Iza and I have been working on recently. This third blogpost about the Connected Island project will introduce our method for analysing publications and their citations. We will briefly discuss how citation network analysis works and the issues surrounding its applications. Finally, we will look at the very first results of this project: an analysis of publications about the Middle and Lower Palaeolithic in Hungary.

Hungarian Houses of Parliament

Hungarian Houses of Parliament

Citation network analysis

Recently, a wider availability of powerful computational resources, bibliometric software (e.g. HISTCITE; PAJEK; PUBLISH OR PERISH) and large bibliographic datasets in the sciences as well as the humanities resulted in significant progress in the analysis of citation networks in which vertices represent publications and a directed edge (or arc) between two vertices indicates a citation (Eom and Fortunato, 2011).

The foundations of citation network analysis were laid by Garfield et al. (1964) and the application of graph theory for citation network analysis was subsequently explored by Garner (1967). Despite this long tradition, its use in an archaeological context has not yet been thoroughly explored. In a number of studies researchers used simple counts of citations or other bibliometric data to track trends in the archaeological sciences and compare the impact and evolution of archaeological journals (e.g. Butzer, 2009; Marriner, 2009; Rehren et al., 2008; Rosenswig, 2005; Sterud, 1978), or to evaluate the impact of gender differentiation in archaeology (e.g. Beaudry and White, 1994; Hutson, 2002; 2006; Victor and Beaudry, 1992).

Citation network analyses in the Arts and Humanities are rare (Leydesdorff et al., 2011). The main reason for this is that the available citation databases for the Arts and Humanities (in particular the Institute for Scientific Information’s Arts and Humanities Citation Index) have significant limitations (Nederhof, 2006): books were until recently not indexed and publications in languages other than English are rare. However, monographs (rather than peer-reviewed journal articles) are often the dominant format of cited sources in the Humanities. Disciplines in the Arts and Humanities also show very different citation patterns and should therefore be considered separately (Knievel and Kellsey 2005). Despite these shortcomings citation analyses in the Arts and Humanities should not be discarded out of hand as it can still provide an alternative look at scientific practice through large aggregated datasets as long as the nature of the datasets and their limitations are thoroughly understood.

We came across some of these obstacles very early on during data collection for this project. Existing citation databases, like Web of Knowledge, contained only a fraction of the publications we were interested in. Those that are indexed in this resource are mostly written in English by Western European researchers (with a few exceptions) and it only rarely includes publications in Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Slovakian, or Russian. Manual data collection was therefore necessary.

A first test: the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in Hungary

As a test-case we explored a small part of the project’s dataset, containing the 31 synthetic publications about the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in Hungary we found in Budapest’s libraries. This collection of publications was written by nine Hungarian archaeologists between 1945 and 1990. This case-study aims to explore the citation patterns between them.

Chronological plot of citation network of Hungarian Palaeolithic researchers. Nodes are publications and directed lines are citations. Colours reflect publication language.

Chronological plot of citation network of Hungarian Palaeolithic researchers. Nodes are publications and directed lines are citations. Colours reflect publication language.


One would expect the older publications to be the most prominent since these had the time to accumulate the largest number of citations, and the results do show this process to some extent. Using the input domain measure (de Nooy et al., 2005: p. 193) we found that a few publications from the 50’s and early 60’s can be connected to by a larger number of nodes than any of the publications from the late 60’s and later, which indicates that these few publications influenced (directly or indirectly) the largest number of other publications. All of these publications with a high input domain were in fact written by a single author László Vértes who, although being very often cited by his colleagues, is guilty of quite a bit of self-citation as well. Although self-citation is common in academia and completely understandable (one always builds on one’s previous research), we needed to evaluate to what extent this affects the analytical techniques used. In this case the input domain seems to reflect largely the citation behaviour of one scholar who was extremely active throughout several decades.
Input domain score of publications: the number of publications that can be connected to a certain publication via a sequence of citations. This reflects the potential field of influence of a publication.

Input domain score of publications: the number of publications that can be connected to a certain publication via a sequence of citations. This reflects the potential field of influence of a publication.


Another way of evaluating the relative prominence of old and more recent publications is to look at the number of citations they received. It is interesting to note that the oldest as well as the recent publications receive a relatively small number of citations compared to a few publications from the mid- to late-60‘s. One of these is a monograph edited by Vértes on one of the most important Middle Palaeolithic sites in Hungary, Tata, which also received a high input domain score. The second highly cited publication was a book about the Middle Palaeolithic in Hungary also written by Vértes. The third most frequently cited work is a monograph about another prominent Middle Palaeolithic site, Érd, written by Veronika Gábori-Csánk.

In citation network analysis authoritative sources are often defined as publications that receive a high number of citations and particularly from so-called hubs. Hubs are defined as publications that cite a lot of other works especially authorities. Given these definitions we can identify the site monographs of Tata and Érd as well as the second highly cited book by Vértes as such authorities. The hubs in this network are three publications by the same authors: Miklos Gábori. All three of these publications are reviews of the Hungarian Palaeolithic and due to their very nature will include a lot of references, especially to key site reports.

The above measures very much over-emphasize the most cited publications and the work of the most active authors. We should note, however, that six works in this citation network are not cited or do not cite any others. These include publications from the 60’s by Vértes and Gabori, a few publications from the 50’s that seem to have been ignored by all those who followed, and the most recent publications from 1988 and 1990 that could not have been cited by others in this network.

Language of Publication

On the basis of the small sample of publications gathered in Budapest we can say that the widely held assumption that archaeological data from Central Europe was published in local languages is incorrect (Table 2). At least half, if not more, of Central European archaeology publications from this period were published in German, French or English alongside the national language. The image that all countries under the influence of the former Soviet Union published in Russian is incorrect.

Hungarian researchers in the case study, number of publications per language, and publishing date of publications included in the case study.

Hungarian researchers in the case study, number of publications per language, and publishing date of publications included in the case study.

Conclusions

We can conclude that although the effects of self-citation were definitely felt in this analysis, especially by those authors of whom we included multiple publications like Vértes or Gábori-Csánk, there are a number of publications that can be considered most pivotal in Hungarian Palaeolithic studies. These include the site reports of Tata and Érd.

Contrary to popular believe, Hungarian authors rarely published in their own language. Especially key site reports and synthetic works were written in these foreign languages, making them accessible to Western European archaeologists.

This blog post has explored the citation behaviour within a subset of the project’s dataset, and has concluded that Hungarian Palaeolithic archaeologists cited Central European and famous Western European scholars almost equally. Publications were almost always written in English, French or German, in addition to Hungarian, making most of them accessible to Western European archaeologists. But did the latter build on the work done by their Hungarian colleagues to improve their understanding of the European Lower and Middle Palaeolithic? Future work in this project will focus on the interactions between Western and Central European researchers.

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