Open science & the Humanities, Barcelona 21 June

Open scientific research is becoming more common in archaeology and the Humanities more broadly. For example, an SAA special interest group was recently launched and the need for open science in Archaeology is explained in readable detail by Marwick and colleagues in this paper. But there’s still a lot of work to be done! On 21 June there will be a free conference on the topic in Barcelona that promises to provoke some excellent discussion and could be a catalyst for change. Hope to see you there!

Register to this event for free here.

More info here.


9.00 – 9.30: Welcome and presentation of the day

F. Xavier Roigé Ventura – Vicerector de Doctorat i Promoció de la Recerca (University of Barcelona)

Domènech Espriu Climent – Vicerector de Recerca (University of Barcelona)

Àlex Aguilar Vila – Vicerector de Projecció i Internacionalizació (University of Barcelona)

José Remesal – (CEIPAC, University of Barcelona, Principal Investigator EPNET ERC project)

Session 1

9.30 – 10.00: Paul Ayris (University College London) – From Open Access to Open Scholarship: UCL Press as a model for the Future of Scholarly Publishing

10.00 – 10.30: Monica Barni (Toscana Regional Goverment, Foreigners University of Siena)- Language use and open, linked data

10.30 – 11.00: Coffee Break

11.00 – 11.30: Alessandro Mosca (SIRIS Academic) – Ontology-mediated data management in EPNet

11:30 – 12.00: Diana Roig Sanz (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya/ Oxford Internet Institute)Social Networks of the Past: Mapping Hispanic and Lusophone Literary Modernity, 1898-1959

12.00 – 12.30: Luciana Ayciriex y Elena González – Blanco (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) – POSTDATA: Open poetry, open science and linked open data

12:30 -13:00 Julian D. Richard (University of York) – Open Science and Open Data: Twenty years of preserving the bits at the Archaeology Data Service

Moderator: Bernardo Rondelli (SIRIS Academic)

13.00 – 13.30 – Poster session

13.30 – 15.00 Lunch Break

Session 2

15.00 – 15.30: Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra (DARIAH-EU) Loners, pathfinders or explorers? Emerging community practices and communities of practice in Open Humanities.

15.30 – 16.00: Alba Irollo (Europeana) – Europeana: how open cultural data supports discovery, reuse and innovation in digital humanities

16.00 – 16.30: Franco Niccolucci (University of Florence) – ARIADNE, the European e-infrastructure for FAIR digital archaeology

16.30 – 17.00: Valeria Quochi (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale) – TBA

Moderator: Ignasi Labastida (University of Barcelona)

17.00 – 17.30: Coffee Break

Session 3

17.30 – 18.30: Xavier Rubio Campillo (University of Edinburgh) and Christoph Schäfer (University of Trier) – Open debate


Dreaming of total viewsheds on Caribbean beaches (new open access publication)

Today our new open access paper was published in Journal of Archaeological Science, introducing the concept of Visual Neighbourhood Configurations for total viewsheds. The method was conceived during a walk along the beach on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe (I know what you’re thinking, my work is hard). From the beach it was really hard to spot boats at any great distance, let alone other islands. The beach I was walking on was very narrow and a plateau with steep edges rose up close-by. As I climbed higher and higher up the steep slopes I was offered great views of the surrounding sea and islands, “a great spot for the island’s former inhabitants to keep an eye on approaching enemies or on people using the beach” I thought. But it was also a very exposed spot, not many places to hide from approaching enemies. As I reached the plateau top the views changed dramatically. Walk just a few meters away from the plateau’s edges and you’re hidden from view to the people below and at sea. This place offered quite specific visual properties: past inhabitants had great vantage points nearby to see canoes and people approaching, whilst having their settlement hidden from view just meters away from the plateau edge. Could this explain the location of the few prehistoric settlements sitting right by the edge of the plateau?

Views from the plateau edge of La Désirade in Guadeloupe.

This is a phenomenon that concerns the visual properties of a small area rather than the properties of specific locations. When we explored the literature we could not find any methods for formally expressing such theories: all visibility studies in archaeology concern formal treatments of the visual properties of locations, with the properties of small areas being evaluated qualitatively. So there was some work for us to do: invent a new formal GIS method to test these archaeological theories. The first step was easy: create total viewsheds of landscapes.

Total viewsheds are awesome! They are representations of how visible each location in a landscape is from all other places. Archaeologists use them for exploring a wide range of theories about how the things past people could see affected how they behaved. But in the past it was basically impossible for me to play with total viewsheds because they involve many calculations that take a really long time. Until recently that is: present-day personal computers are so powerful that computation time is basically not prohibitive anymore. But there’s another problem: because of the limited use of total viewsheds in archaeology there are very few formal methods for me to play with. Developing new methods to work with total viewsheds is now more than ever worth our while.

Together with Mereke van Garderen and Mark Gillings, I developed the Visual Neighbourhood Configurations method to address the very limited practice of archaeologists formally expressing and testing their theories about how visibility patterns are structured. The concept recognises that such theories commonly concern not just the visibility of point locations but rather the structure of visibility in an area around focal locations. Visual Neighbourhood Configurations allow you to formally express your theory about how visibility is structured in a small area and compare it against the actual visibility as represented by total viewsheds to test the theory.

The below graphical abstract produced by Mereke van Garderen explains the method a bit better: a total viewshed is created, a visual neighbourhood configuration is formulated representing a visibility hypothesis, the fit between this configuration and each cell in the total viewshed is evaluated and represented as a new raster.

Want to know more? Read the full open access paper here.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 12.51.52
Graphical representation of the VNC method. Figure by Mereke van Garderen.

Highlights of the paper

    A new approach is presented for the formal representation and evaluation of complex visibility theories.
    Visual Neighbourhood Configurations (VNC) represent a theorized distribution of visual properties in a small area.
    Total viewsheds are input to the approach and are formally compared against the VNC representing the archaeological theory.
    A software tool has been developed to implement VNCs with a wide range of analytical techniques.
    VNCs represent a step towards more complex theoretical formal visibility studies.

Evolution of cultural complexity CFP

I can strongly recommend submitting a proposal to this satellite session as well as attending the conference on complex systems. I went to the previous iteration and it was an inspiring event. Submit you abstract by 1 June 2018! Archaeological papers and network research will be very welcome.

We are pleased to announce a call for abstracts for our session on “Evolution of Cultural Complexity” at the annual “Conference on Complex System”. The Conference on Complex System will takes place this year in Thessaloniki, Greece, from the 23rd to the 27th of September. The satellites will take place between the 26th and 27th of September 2018.

Human sociocultural evolution has been documented throughout the history of humans and earlier hominins. This evolution manifests itself through development from tools as simple as a rock used to break nuts, to something as complex as a spaceship able to land man on other planets. Equally, we have witnessed evolution of human population towards complex multilevel social organisation.
Although cases of decrease and loss of this type of complexity have been reported, in global terms it tends to increase with time. Despite its significance, the conditions and the factors driving this increase are still poorly understood and subject to debate. Different hypothesis trying to explain the rise of sociocultural complexity in human societies have been proposed (demographic factor, cognitive component, historical contingency…) but so far no consensus has been reached.
Here we raise a number of questions:

Can we better define sociocultural complexity and confirm its general tendency to increase over the course of human history?
What are the main factors enabling an increase of cultural complexity?
Are there reliable way to measure the complexity in material culture and social organisation constructs, that is?
How can we quantify and compare the impact of different factors?
What causes a loss of cultural complexity in a society? And how often these losses occurred in the past?

In this satellite meeting we want to bring together a community of researchers coming from different scientific domains and interested in different aspect of the evolution of social and cultural complexity. From archaeologists, to linguists, social scientists, historians and artificial intelligence specialists – the topic of sociocultural complexity transgresses traditional discipline boundaries. We want to establish and promote a constructive dialogue incorporating different perspectives: theoretical as well as empirical approaches, research based on historical and archaeological sources, as well as actual evidences and contemporary theories.

Submissions will be made by sending an abstract in PDF (maximum 250 words) via Easychair here: . The deadline for abstract submission is on the 1st of June 2018. The contributions to this satellite will be evaluated by the scientific committee through a peer review process that will evaluate the scientific quality and the relevance to the goal of this session. Notification of accepted abstracts will be communicated as soon as possible.

Please find more details on the following website:
We strongly encourage you to participate

Spread the word

Simon Carrignon and Sergi Valverde

Visual connections between Caribbean islands (open access publication)

Today our paper on visual connections between Caribbean islands is published open access in print in Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. It combines a wide range of different visibility analysis methods, both quantitative and qualitative, to explore the visual properties of Eastern Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. When does the island become visible when approaching it from the sea by Canoe? From what areas in the sea is it most visible? From what areas on land can canoes at sea be best observed? Are settlements located on good vantage points? Can other settlements be observed from these settlements?

We propose a hypothesis of the visual structuring of past island communities in the Lesser Antilles: short-distance visibility networks represent the structuring of navigation and communication within landmasses, whereas the landmasses themselves served as focal points for regional navigation and interaction. Can’t wait for people to engage critically with this hypothesis. Here is a figure by Mereke van Garderen and myself describing our hypothesis:


This paper presents a study of the visual properties of natural and Amerindian cultural landscapes in late pre-colonial East-Guadeloupe and of how these visual properties affected social interactions. Through a review of descriptive and formal visibility studies in Caribbean archaeology, it reveals that the ability of visual properties to affect past human behaviour is frequently evoked but the more complex of these hypotheses are rarely studied formally. To explore such complex hypotheses, the current study applies a range of techniques: total viewsheds, cumulative viewsheds, visual neighbourhood configurations and visibility networks. Experiments were performed to explore the control of seascapes, the functioning of hypothetical smoke signalling networks, the correlation of these visual properties with stylistic similarities of material culture found at sites and the change of visual properties over time. The results of these experiments suggest that only few sites in Eastern Guadeloupe are located in areas that are particularly suitable to visually control possible sea routes for short- and long-distance exchange; that visual control over sea areas was not a factor of importance for the existence of micro-style areas; that during the early phase of the Late Ceramic Age networks per landmass are connected and dense and that they incorporate all sites, a structure that would allow hypothetical smoke signalling networks; and that the visual properties of locations of the late sites Morne Souffleur and Morne Cybèle-1 were not ideal for defensive purposes. These results led us to propose a multi-scalar hypothesis for how lines of sight between settlements in the Lesser Antilles could have structured past human behaviour: short-distance visibility networks represent the structuring of navigation and communication within landmasses, whereas the landmasses themselves served as focal points for regional navigation and interaction. We conclude by emphasising that since our archaeological theories about visual properties usually take a multi-scalar landscape perspective, there is a need for this perspective to be reflected in our formal visibility methods as is made possible by the methods used in this paper.

Introducing: The Connected Past Oxford 2018

I am delighted to announce that The Connected Past will head to Oxford this year on 6-7 December 2018. Send in your abstracts by 14 May 2018! Hope to see all of you there!

The Connected Past Oxford 2018

What? An international conference on spatiotemporal archaeological and historical network research

When? 6-7 December 2018

Where? University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Keynotes? Dr. Nathalie Riche (Microsoft Research) and Dr. Matthew Peeples (Arizona State University)

Deadline call for papers? 14 May 2018

More information?

Organisers? PastNet

How do social networks evolve over very long time-scales? How did geography constrain or enhance the development of past social networks? These are fundamental questions in both the study of the human past and network research, yet our ability to answer them is severely hampered by the limited development of spatiotemporal network methods. PastNet is an inter-disciplinary network that aims to stimulate the development and application of such methods through networking meetings, a conference and a workshop.

Formal network methods are increasingly commonly applied in a wide range of disciplines to study phenomena as diverse as the connectivity of neurons in the human brain, terrorist networks, a billion interlinked Facebook profiles, and power grids. Despite this diversity and the decades-long tradition of using network methods in the social sciences, physics and computer science, the development of techniques for the study of spatial networks and long-term network change has so far been largely neglected. Network research is also becoming more common in disciplines concerned with the study of past human behaviour: archaeology, classics and history. These disciplines have a strong tradition in exploring long-term human behavioural change and spatial phenomena, despite being forced to use fragmentary textual and material sources as indirect evidence of such phenomena.

By bringing together network researchers from a diverse range of fields such as archaeology, computer science, history and physics, The Connected Past 2018 conference in Oxford aims to foster cross-disciplinary exchange to push network research further. The historical disciplines will contribute new spatiotemporal approaches and datasets to network research, whereas the traditional network research disciplines will further stimulate the critical application of network approaches to the study of the human past.

This event is part of The Connected Past series of conferences ( It is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH and is organised by the TORCH research network PastNet (

We welcome submissions of abstracts on the topic of spatial and temporal network approaches. We particularly welcome abstracts that address the challenges posed by the use of or apply network approaches in historical/archaeological research contexts, welcoming case studies drawn from all periods and places. Topics might include, but are not limited to:
– Spatial networks
– Temporal networks
– Archaeological network research
– Historical network research
– Missing and incomplete data in archaeological and historical networks
– What kinds of data can archaeologists and historians use to reconstruct past networks and what kinds of issues ensue?
– Formal network analysis vs qualitative network approaches: pros, cons, potential, limitations

Please submit your abstract limited to 250 words before midnight (GMT) of May 14th 2018 to

call for papers for Historical Network Research journal issue 2

I can strongly recommend publishing in this new open access paper. I’ve done so recently and the experience was very professional, and I am sure it will get your work great exposure among archaeological and historical scholarly communities.

Reminder: Call for Papers for Issue #2 of the Journal of Historical Network Research, Deadline 1st May 2018

By Marten Düring on Mar 07, 2018 11:54 pm

This is to remind everybody that the deadline for submissions for the second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research is coming up May 1st 2018:

We are inviting submissions of papers to be considered for publication in the second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research, which will appear in the autumn of 2018.  

The Editorial Board welcomes proposals for papers centred on historical networks of any period of the recorded human past, from Bronze Age civilisation to contemporary history. In order to support the dissemination of the principles of reproducible research and to foster a new and transparent culture of discussion in network research in general, we encourage authors to provide their code and data sets in addition to the manuscripts for publication. We also encourage the submission of book reviews on relevant recent literature and articles, which introduce and discuss relevant and innovative digital tools for network research or interesting new databases and data sources.

Articles can be submitted in English, German or French. All articles (but especially those articles written in a language other than English) should be accompanied by an English-language abstract of no more than 300 words which contains the salient points and arguments. Papers should also be indexed with no more than 5 keywords. Please follow the Author Guidelines and use the provided Word template to ensure that your paper is formatted correctly.

Articles for the second volume should be submitted via the journal homepage ( by May 1th 2018. Authors will be notified of acceptance as soon as possible. Please direct any questions you may have to the editors at   For further information on Historical Network Research in general, we would advise you to visit

The editors,

Christian Rollinger, Marten Düring, Robert Gramsch-Stehfest & Martin Stark

Barcelona summer school in digital archaeology (after EAA)

Want to get expert training on computational methods for archaeological research, by specialists, in sunny Barcelona? Come to the…

Summer school in digital archaeology

10-14 September 2018, Barcelona (immediately following EAA)

The Summer School in Digital Archaeology will provide comprehensive training in agent-based modelling, network science, semantic technology, and research software development for archaeological research. It will take place in Barcelona between 10-14 September 2018 immediately after the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA2018). Pre-register online now! A large number of bursaries to support registration costs are available.

More information and a preliminary programme can be found on our website:

Information about how to pre-register can be found here:

All pre-registrations received before 1 April 2018 will be considered for bursaries!

Hope to see you in Barcelona!

Event sponsored by: Complex Systems Society, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Complexity Lab Barcelona, Roman EPNet, Siris Academic, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Universitat de Barcelona


Historical Network Research conference 2018 Brno

The HNR conference series is in its fifth edition now. It’s a great event and a perfect venue for presenting archaeological network research as well.

CFP Deadline 31 March

More info on the conference website and below.

Historical Network Research Conference 2018

Masaryk University, Brno, the Czech Republic

10th September 2018 (pre-conference tutorials and workshops)

11th-13th September 2018 (conference)

Organizing institutions

• Historical Network Research (

• Department for the Study of Religions (

• Czech Association for the Study of Religions (

Program Committee

• Dr. Aleš Chalupa (Masaryk University)

• Dr. Kimmo Elo (University of Helsinki)

• Dr. Ivo Veiga (New University of Lisbon)

• Dr. Martin Stark (ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development)

• Dr. David Zbíral (Masaryk University)

Call For Papers

The Historical Network Research group is pleased to announce its 5th annual conference. After the previous conferences that which took place in Hamburg in 2013, Ghent in 2014, Lisbon in 2015, and Turku in 2017, the 5th conference will be hosted by Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, on 10th-13th September 2018. The 5th Historical Network Research Conference seeks to foster historians’ awareness of the possibilities of network research and create opportunities for sharing cross- and multidisciplinary approaches to the networked past by bringing together historians, social scientists and computer scientists. The organizers welcome proposals for papers discussing any historical period and geographical area. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

• Social network analysis in historical research

• Network analysis in archaeology

• Network analysis and text mining in historical research

• Modeling diffusion on historical networks

• Modeling and simulation in historical research

• Religious networks

• Cultural and intellectual networks

• Networks in economic and business history

• Technological and research networks, scientific networks and collaborations

• Social movements and political mobilization

• Social networks in war, conflict, and peacemaking

• Methodological and theoretical issues of the network analysis in historical research

The language of the conference is English. There is no conference fee. Those who wish to participate in the optional social event on 12th September 2018 will be asked for a contribution of 25 € (625 CZK) collected at the registration desk during the conference.

The deadline for submissions of abstracts is 31st March 2018. All abstracts are to be submitted through the form in the Registration section. We kindly ask prospective participants without papers to register as well.

The presentations for the conference will be selected, after a peer review process, on the basis of abstracts. Notifications of acceptance/rejection will be announced in the second half of April 2018.

The list of pre-conference tutorials and workshops will be announced in the second half of April 2018. After the announcement, the registration for participation in these tutorials and workshops will be opened.

Types of presentations

• Regular papers (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion). Regular papers should present a) results of a completed research; b) innovative research methods and their application; or c) a discussion concerning theoretical questions. An abstract should be 300-500 words long.

• Short papers (10 minutes + 5 minutes discussion). Short papers should present ideas, approaches and projects that have started only recently or are currently being prepared (e.g. grant projects, research initiatives etc.). A short paper should be audience-friendly and generate conference participants’ interest in the presented topic and/or attract potential partners for future collaboration. An abstract should be 200-400 words long.

• Posters should inform about completed research, research in progress or present new methods and/or research tools. Posters (format A0 portrait orientation) will be displayed throughout the conference at the venue site and introduced during the poster session. A poster abstract should be 200-400 words long.

• We welcome proposals for pre-conference tutorials and workshops which are to take place on Monday, 10th September 2018 (a day before the conference) in two time slots: 9-12 am and 2-5 pm. Proposals should include the workshop/tutorial title and a short description of its topic + contact information of the lecturer. An abstract should also include the information about a minimum and maximum number of participants, the type of audience (beginners, intermediate, advanced etc.), length and the type of necessary technical equipment participants should have (the organizers can provide only basic infrastructural support, e.g. suitable classrooms with a projector, whiteboard etc., not technical equipment such as laptops, specialized software etc.). The lecturer will be responsible for communicating necessary information to the registered participants. An abstract should be 200-400 long words.

Computers at EAA: submit your papers!

Submit a paper to the CAA @ EAA session, bring your data to our data clinic, or attend our computational archaeology summer school immediately after EAA!

This year the EAA (European Association of Archaeologists) Annual Meeting is taking place between 5-8 September 2018 in the lovely city of Barcelona. We have prepared an exciting set of simulation-complexity-data related events.

During the conference we will be running a standard paper session: CAA@EAA: Computational Models in Archaeology (abstract below) focusing on formal, computational models in archaeology (not exclusively simulation, but we do like our ABMs ;). The abstract deadline is 15 February. You can submit your abstract via the EAA system.

On top of that throughout the conference we will offer Data Clinic – a personalised one-to-one consultation with data and modelling specialists (summary below). In order to give us a head-start with matching archaeologists to data experts we ask participants to submit a short summary outlining their data, research questions and the ideas they may already have via the standard route of the EAA system (please note, that as an alternative format it will not count towards the paper limit imposed by the EAA).

Finally, we are very excited to announce the Summer School in Digital Archaeology which will take place immediately after the EAA, between 10-14 September 2018. A week of hands-on tutorials, seminars, team challenges and intensive learning, the Summer School will provide an in depth training in formal computational models focusing on data modelling, network science, semantic web and agent-based modelling. Thanks to the generous support of the Complex Systems Society we are able to offer a number of bursaries for the participants. For more details please see the School website; we recommend to pre-register as soon as possible (pre-registration form).

Session: #672

CAA @ EAA: Computational Models in Archaeology

Theories and methods in archaeological sciences
Session format:
Session, made up of a combination of papers, max. 15 minutes each

Models are pervasive in archaeology. In addition to the high volume of empirical archaeological research, there is a strong and constant interest among archaeologists and historians in questions regarding the nature, mechanisms and particularities of social and socio-natural processes and interactions in the past. However, for the most part these models are constructed using non-formal verbal arguments and conceptual hypothesis building, which makes it difficult to test them against available data or to understand the behaviour of more complex models of past phenomena.

The aim of this session is to discuss the role of formal computational modelling in archaeological theory-building and to showcase applications of the approach. This session will showcase the slowly changing trend in our discipline towards more common use of formal methods.

We invite contributions applying computational and quantitative methods such as GIS, data analysis and management, simulation, network science, ontologies, and others to study past phenomena concerned with societal change, human-environment interactions and various aspects of past systems such as economy, cultural evolution or migration. Methodological and theoretical papers on the benefits and challenges of quantification, the epistemology of formal methods and the use of archaeological material as a proxy for social processes are also welcome.

Main organiser:

dr Iza Romanowska (Spain), dr Luce Prignano (Spain), María Coto-Sarmiento (Spain), dr Tom Brughmans (United Kingdom), Ignacio Morer (Spain)

Session: #663

Archaeological Data Clinic. Personalised consulting to get the best of your data

Theories and methods in archaeological sciences
Session format:
Discussion session: Personalised consulting to get the best of archaeologial data. We will set up meetings with an expert in data analysis / network science / agent-based modelling.
In the ideal world we would all have enough time to learn statistics, data analysis, R, several foreign and ancient languages and to read the complete works by Foucault. In reality, most researchers artfully walk the thin line between knowing enough and bluffing. The aim of this workshop is to streamline the process by pairing archaeologists with data and computer science specialists.

  • If you have a dataset and no idea what to do with it…
  • if you think PCA/least cost paths / network analysis / agent-based modelling is the way forward for your project but you don’t know how to get started…
  • If you need a second opinion to ensure that what you’ve already done makes sense…

…then this drop-in clinic is for you.

Let us know about your case by submitting an abstract with the following information:

  • A few sentences project outline;
  • Type and amount of data;
  • Research question(s);
  • What type of analysis you’d like to perform? (if known).

We will set up a meeting with an expert in data analysis / network science / agent-based modelling. They will help you to query and wrangle your data, to analyse and visualise it and to guide you on the next steps. They may help you choose the right software or point you towards a study where similar problems have been solved. In a nutshell, they will save you a lot of time and frustration and make your research go further!

Computational Modelling, Statistics, Network Analysis

Dr Luce Prignano (Spain), Dr Iza Romanowska (Spain), Dr Sergi Lozano (Spain), Dr Francesca Fulminante (United Kingdom), Dr Rob Witcher (United Kingdom), Dr Tom Brughmans (United Kingdom)

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