Since the 1960s, network analysis has been used in many disciplines in social science (sociology, geography, history, etc.) as well as in natural and formal science, with each discipline defining its own concepts and indicators. After the late 1990s, the circulation of concepts and indicators defined in physics, the development of new software and algorithms, and easier access to large relational datasets have changed practices and rearranged bridges and boundaries between disciplines.
Several papers have already assessed the influence of physicists on network analysis in sociology (Crossley, 2008), archaeology (Brughmans, 2013) and geography (Ducruet and Beauguitte, 2014), but there are still few studies of the circulation, or non-circulation, of network analysis methods and concepts between disciplines.
It would for example be interesting to understand why betweenness centrality has become a common indicator in the social sciences, whereas methods developed in ecology to analyze bipartite graphs are seldom used. Similarly, gravity models, which have been used in geography since the 1960s to study valued graphs, are largely ignored in sociology.
We welcome papers addressing (this is a non-limitative list):
- the circulation, or non-circulation, of a specific concept or method between disciplines. What enabled or hindered this circulation (types of data, routine uses of software, publication formats, etc.), and which channels did it use? How did the concept or method change during its interdisciplinary journey? Reversely, can the reception of a concept or method in a different discipline have effects on the original one?
- the genealogy of concepts and methods currently used in a specific discipline: where did they come from? How were they translated and adapted?
- a classical text in network analysis, read from the perspective of a different discipline from that of its author.
Call for papers for a special issue of ARCSon Concepts and methods in network analysis: interdisciplinary circulation and boundaries, edited by Laurent Beauguitte (geographer, CNRS, Rouen) and Claire Lemercier (historian, CNRS, Paris)
Authors must choose between two formats: “research paper” or “debates” (as defined here). Research papers must be based on clearly defined empirical data. Authors may use diverse types of data and methods: while this special issue explores practices in network analysis, these practices may be studied through network analysis (of citations or other types of links) as well as through other qualitative or quantitative methods. The editors have no a priori definition of “network analysis”: the aim of this special issue is precisely to emphasize the diversity of definitions across disciplines. Each author should therefore precisely state which exact methods or concepts he or she is considering.
Authors should send a one-page abstract to email@example.com
before the end of 2017
The editors will confirm whether the intended contribution fits with the special issue and the journal. The complete papers will then be peer reviewed (the process is described here; the journal is committed to getting back to the authors within three months at most) and published between June 2018 and June 2019.
- Brughmans, T. (2013). Thinking Through Networks: A Review of Formal Network Methods in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 20, 623–662.
- Crossley, N. (2008). Small-world networks, complex systems and sociology. Sociology, 42(2), 261–277.
- Ducruet, C. & Beauguitte, L. (2014). Spatial science and network science: Review and outcomes of a complex relationship. Networks and Spatial Economics, 14(3-4), 297-316.
ARCSis a multi-disciplinary journal dedicated to network analysis in social sciences. It publishes open access papers (without article processing charges) in English and French, under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. The authors are encouraged to publish their data along with their papers; the journal can provide advice in this regard. The authors must use a Word or Latex template (available here). The journal insists on the use of gender-inclusive language and can provide advice in this regard.
Editor in chief
- Laurent Beauguitte Géographie (CR, UMR IDEES)
- Claire Lagesse, Géomatique (UMR THÉMA)
- Serge Lhomme, Géographie (MCF, EA Lab’Urba)
- Marion Maisonobe, Géographie (UMR LISST)
- Silvia Marzagalli, Histoire (PU, EA CMMC)
- Pierre Mercklé, Sociologie (MCF, UMR CMW)
Agent-based modelling is no longer a niche pursuit in archaeology. It’s a thriving sub-discipline with an active community engaged in developing original methods and software to tackle a varied range of archaeological research topics. This is reflected in a new bibliography project by the SimulatingComplexity team, and in particular Iza Romanowska and Lennart Linde. They compiled all published cases they could find in a structured Github archive. Everyone is invited to add missing publications to the corpus!
Gender balance has not been achieved yet in Academia. I knew that. But what genuinely surprised me is that the tiny young community I work in suffers from serious gender imbalance. My impression from attending archaeological network research events was that both women and men at all stages of their careers were more or less equally represented. In fact, I found the number of senior female academics active in this field as well as women making up the majority of virtually every workshop I taught on the topic extremely encouraging.
The numbers simply do not support this impression. In a paper published this week in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research, Matt Peeples and I collected all archaeological network research publications and submitted them to a thorough bibliometric study (a fancy word for squeezing all the numbers we can out of academic papers). One of the things we did was to count the number of male VS female authored and co-authored papers. The results were shocking. Overall, there are more than three times as many men than there are women who have published archaeological network research. And when we counted the number of papers authored by exclusively men and women, we noticed that there are almost five times as many papers that are authored by exclusively male authors than papers with only female authors. You could think this is caused by the strong practice in the Humanities of lone academics writing articles solo, so maybe because there are more men doing this kind of research we would expect male authorship to be higher. But if we remove the single-authored papers from the equation, co-authored papers are still almost twice as often exclusively male authored whilst exclusively female co-authored papers are extremely rare. Men and women in this field simply don’t seem to write papers together much. This was news to me because I always have in mind the publications of big projects like the Southwest Social Networks project, where big teams tend to include both female and male authors. Sadly the overall picture is not dominated by such teams.
Slightly more encouraging is the strong chronological trend towards increasing female authorship. Between 1965 and 2005, published archaeological network research was almost exclusively male-authored. From 2005 onwards the number of papers (co-)authored by female researchers increased slowly in both absolute numbers and as a proportion of all papers per year. In 2015 and 2016 the number of papers with at least one female author outnumber papers with exclusively male authors, although the latter still account for almost 50%.
These numbers show that archaeological network research is no different than archaeology or academia as a whole. The patterns we identified generally reflect broader trends in archaeology in that the increasing gender parity among archaeological professionals is not yet mirrored by parity in publication patterns. For example, in a recent critical assessment of gendered publication patterns in American archaeology, Bardolph (2014) compiled information from over 4,500 articles in 11 journals spanning the period from 1990 to 2013 and found that women accounted for 29% of published work in her sample. In our corpus, women account for 22% of archaeological network publications in the complete sample going back to 1964 and 28% of publications since 1990 suggesting that gendered publication trends in archaeological networks closely mirror trends in at least American archaeology.
Maybe my impression stems from the current situation and trend towards increasing female authorship, and maybe the strong male majority in authorship is a thing of the past? Let’s hope so. But this study has made it very clear to me that this is not something that will just happen by itself. I am quite active in this community and frequently host conferences, workshops, publish and edit volumes on the topic. If my impression of gender balance in this field was so far off the mark, it suggests that (1) I would not have felt the need for positive discrimination in this community, and (2) the ways in which gender bias works in small communities like this can be very subtle and unconscious.
My motivation to implement positive discrimination in the past in this community has been knowledge of the gender imbalance in academia in general, and this was more a “just in case” decision than a reaction to an actual problem in my community. So to keep this encouraging trend up and work towards gender balance, I found it worth my while to stop seeing gender balance merely as a generic problem in academia but to explore it’s particular shape in my own community. Exercises like this bibliometric study might well reveal aspects of gender imbalance that are particular to your own community, allowing you to tailor positive discrimination in particular ways. For example, I find it important to discourage solo authorship and encourage gender balanced co-authorship in archaeological network research. In my experience, this has always led to richer research and often (for me) surprising new perspectives. I also believe the decisions that lead to publication should be scrutinised a bit more in this community: active encouragement of young female scholars to present and publish, highlight solid research performed by female colleagues by inviting them as keynotes to improve gender balance in role-models, avoid all-male keynote line-ups at all cost, have a gender balanced editorial team that considers gender explicitly in editorial decision-making, encourage new gender balanced collaborations and grant applications.
None of this will be news to anyone, and I’m sure you can all think of a few cases of gender imbalance in your own academic communities. But I encourage you to scrutinise this aspect of your community a bit by using your skills as a researcher. You might sniff out some highly surprising and worrying results, I know I did. If you care about your community, no matter how small it is, you should follow-up your findings with action. The community and the research will benefit.
Dana Bardolph, “A Critical Evaluation of Recent Gendered Publishing Trends in American Archaeology,” American Antiquity 79, no. 3 (2014): 522–40.
Agents, networks and models: formal approaches to systems, relationships and change in archaeology
Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Even if much ink has already been spilled on the need to use formal, computational methods to represent theories, compare alternative hypotheses and develop more complex narratives, the idea is still far from being firmly established in archaeology.
Complexity Science, the study of systems consisting of a collection of interconnected relationships and parts, provides a useful framework for formalising social and socio-natural models and it is often under this umbrella term that formal models are presented in archaeology. It has a particular appeal for researchers concerned with humans, as it stresses the importance of individual actions and interactions, as well as relations between individuals and wider system elements. Archaeology is a discipline that studies long-term, large-scale shifts in social change, human evolution, and relationships with the environment; how these phenomena emerge through the actions and interactions of individuals are questions that lie at the heart of our interests. Complexity Science offers an arsenal of methods that were developed specifically to tackle these kind of mulitscalar, multifaceted research questions.
This session will provide a forum for archaeological case studies developed using Complexity Science toolkits as well as for more methodological papers. We invite submissions of models at any stage of development from the first formalisation of the conceptual model to presenting final results.
Possible topics include but are not limited to applications or discussions of the following approaches:
- Complexity science,
- Network science,
- Agent-based and equation-based modelling,
- System dynamics,
- Long-term change in social systems,
- Social simulation in geographical space,
- Complex urban systems, space syntax, gravity models.
Work for two years, write a paper about it in two months, lose all rights to it in a second, hide it behind a pay-wall… Sound familiar? This is the traditional academic process in archaeology. Our very diverse work ranging from excavation, over lab tests, to interpretations is often only made available through a summarising publication that is rarely accessible to anyone other than institutions paying huge amounts of money. This is just not the way science works anymore. In such a system, how can we find out all the details of excavation results? How can we reproduce lab tests? How can we evaluate the empirical and historical background to a published interpretation in exhaustive detail? The answer is: we can’t.
It’s time for this traditional practice to change. Archaeology should follow the trend in academia towards more open science. The argument for open science in archaeology is made elaborately by Ben Marwick in a recently published paper in the SAA archaeological record, and the statements are supported by a large group of archaeologists (including myself). The paper announces the start of the SAA open science in archaeology special interest group. Check out the group’s wiki and get involved!
Here’s the paper’s abstract:
In archaeology, we are accustomed to investing great effort into collecting data from fieldwork, museum collections, and other sources, followed by detailed description, rigorous analysis, and in many cases ending with publication of our findings in short, highly concentrated reports or journal articles. Very often, these publications are all that is visible of this lengthy process, and even then, most of our journal articles are only accessible to scholars at institutions paying subscription fees to the journal publishers. While this traditional model of the archaeological research process has long been effective at generating new knowledge about our past, it is increasingly at odds with current norms of practice in other sciences. Often described as ‘open science’, these new norms include data stewardship instead of data ownership, transparency in the analysis process instead of secrecy, and public involvement instead of exclusion. While the concept of open science is not new in archaeology (e.g., see Lake 2012 and other papers in that volume), a less transparent model often prevails, unfortunately. We believe that there is much to be gained, both for individual researchers and for the discipline, from broader application of open science practices. In this article, we very briefly describe these practices and their benefits to researchers. We introduce the Society for American Archaeology’s Open Science Interest Group (OSIG) as a community to help archaeologists engage in and benefit from open science practices, and describe how it will facilitate the adoption of open science in archaeology.
What are the limits of using computational modelling for understanding the Roman past? Where do such formal approaches fit in the existing theoretical context of Roman studies? These are the questions we debate in a discussion piece published today in Antiquity; a reply to Astrid Van Oyen’s critical and constructive discussion of our previous computational modelling work also published in Antiquity.
In our original work we argued that computational modelling should become more commonly used in the study of the Roman economy, because it holds the potential of overcoming the current deadlock in Roman macroeconomic debates by formally expressing and comparing the many interesting conflicting descriptive models, simulating their predicted behaviour (in terms of distributions of goods and prices) and comparing these simulations with archaeological data such as distributions of ceramics.
Astrid Van Oyen wrote an elaborate discussion piece, reviewing the beneficial and challenging aspects of this kind of work. She usefully and correctly places the potential of this method within current Roman economic debates, arguing for the timeliness of the approach. However, most of Van Oyen’s piece is concerned with problematising three aspects of the approach, asking whether these pose problems, and constructively thinking through possible alternatives:
- Can formalist modelling yield primitivist results?
- Do the big archaeological datasets of ceramics necessarily have to be interpreted in light of the flow of commodities?
- Is it possible to consider heterogeneity in agent behaviour?
In our reply, we answer the first question with a firm “yes”. We find the link commonly drawn between primitivist theories and substantivist methods on the one hand, and modernist theories and formalist methods on the other, an unhelpful and unnecessary byproduct of common practice in Roman economy studies. We argue we have shown in our own work that primitivist ideas can be formally explored (agents with limited information, the effects of social network structures), and that much more of this kind of work is necessary.
We find this debate hugely important and constructive, because we have argued that Roman economy studies is stuck in a deadlock due to a number of issues:
- Many models use different and sometimes ill-defined concepts to describe the complexities of the Roman economy, making them difficult to compare.
- The concepts used often lack specifications as to how they may be explored using data, i.e. what sort of patterns would be expected as the outcome of hypothetical processes.
- Consequently, the development of these conceptual models has not gone hand in hand with the development of approaches to represent, compare and (where possible) validate them formally.
- The role of archaeological data in testing conceptual models, although increasingly recognised, deserves greater attention, as it is the only source of information on the functioning and performance of the Roman economy that can be used for quantitative validation of complex computational and conceptual models.
Brughmans and Poblome 2016. Antiquity.
We sincerely hope that together we can position computational modelling in its rightful place in Roman studies to constructively contribute to ongoing substantive debates. We have argued that in order for this to happen, a few things are necessary:
authors of conceptual models should:
(a) clearly define the concepts used and discuss exactly how these differ from the concepts used by others,
(b) make explicit how these concepts can be represented as data,
(c) describe the expected behaviour of the system using the defined concepts,
(d) describe the expected data patterns resulting from this behaviour, and
(e) define how (if at all) archaeological and historical sources can be used as reflections or proxies of these expected data patterns.
Brughmans and Poblome 2016 http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/19/1/3.html 5.6
Want to know more? Have a look at discussion through the links below:
Finally those of us developing and applying computational techniques to the study of the human past have an appropriate place to publish our work. At last year’s CAA conference in Atlanta the new Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology was launched! A much needed journal on a topic that’s booming. It’s entirely open access and supports online data deposition. The journal has an open rolling call for papers: submit now!
CALL FOR PAPERS
The Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology (JCAA) publishes high quality, original papers that focuses on research on the interface between archaeology and informatics. This peer-reviewed journal provides immediate open access.
We now invite high quality papers on all the aspects of digital archaeology, including, – but not restricted to – databases and semantic web, statistics and data mining, 3D modelling, GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing and geophysics, other field recording techniques, simulation modelling, network analysis and digital reconstructions of the past for consideration for publication in the Journal. Papers can be targeted towards scientific research, cultural heritage management and/or public archaeology.
We accept papers falling in one of the following four categories:
• Research articles, describing the outcomes and application of unpublished original research
• Case studies, expanding on the application of established technologies/methods to shed light on archaeological enquiries.
• Position papers, summarising and reflecting upon current trends in the application of established or new technologies, methods or theories.
• Reviews, covering topics such as current controversies or the historical development of studies as well as issues of regional or temporal focus.
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Please refer to the Journal Information and submission instructions for Author about manuscript preparation: http://jcaa.ubiquitypress.com/about/submissions/
All manuscripts should be submitted online at:
The journal is published online as a continuous volume and issue throughout the year. Articles are made available as soon as they are ready to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in getting content publicly available.
Article Processing Charge
JCAA is a full Open Access journal. Accepted papers will be published upon payment of a £300 Article Processing Charge. For APC waiver options, please contact the Editors.
For further information please refer to the JCAA website or contact the JCAA Editorial Team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
My colleagues and friends doubt my professionalism when I show Caribbean views like this, taken whilst “working”. The last two years I’ve actually been working quite hard, but it’s just difficult to make Caribbean archaeology look like hard work. It was an absolute privilege to meet and learn from colleagues and friends in a number of Caribbean islands, about their knowledge of the landscapes that surround them and their relationship to the peoples who lived there before them. The current natural disasters befalling many of these islands, and their fall-out, are terrible. I wish all my friends there much strength and hope their respective governments (and aid workers around the world) do their duties in taking care of their residents.
A first paper, co-authored with Maaike de Waal, Corinne Hofman and Ulrik Brandes, explores what we can learn about Amerindian social networks by examining Caribbean views: how places are connected based on what can be seen from them. It applies a wide range of computational methods (visibility networks, total viewsheds, visual neighbourhood configurations), but it should not be seen as a methodological exercise. The paper aimed to express some of the ideas that Caribbean archaeologists have formulated about how views could have mattered to past peoples, because they could be used for navigation, to share information through smoke or fire signalling, or to determine suitable settlement locations. Doing so led to some unique insights into the connectivity of landscapes in Eastern Guadeloupe (the paper’s research area), that led us to formulate a theory about the structuring role played by views in the pre-colonial Lesser Antilles as a whole: short-distance views at which people or smoke signals could be seen structured placement of settlements and community interactions locally, within regions on landmasses; whereas long-distance views at which only huge landmasses could be seen would structure navigation between communities on different landmasses. We see the Lesser Antilles as consisting of thousands of local connectivity clusters, all connected through the long-distance visibility of landmasses (see figure below).
A second paper, co-authored with Ulrik Brandes, vastly expands the methodological toolbox for visibility network methods. Having reviewed the archaeological use of formal methods for studying visibility phenomena (i.e. what people in the past could see), we noticed that there was a discrepancy between the theories formulated and the methods used to explore them. The theories were often very complex, involving many different ways in which visibility could have structured past human behaviour and could have affected past human decision-making. Few of these theories have been explored using formal methods, often because of their share complexity, and those that have been treated formally were explored with a very limited range of formal methods: mainly binary viewsheds and simple visibility network representation. So we thought there was some fun methodological work to be done here, that could benefit future archaeological (and other) research. We approached visibility as a purely relational phenomenon, connecting the observer’s eyes with the observed feature. Doing so allowed us to represent any kind of visibility study to be represented as networks, which led to some really cool new network representation. For example (see figure below), a cumulative view shed can be represented as a two-mode network where observation points like site locations are connected to the landscape locations that can be observed from them. This two-network can be split up into two one-mode networks: a network where sites are connected if they have landscape locations in common that can be seen from both, and a network where landscape locations are connected if they have sites in common from which both can be observed. In addition, we also explored how complex theories of visibility can be teased apart into their constituent parts, where each part is represented by a small network data representation. We can count the frequency of these patterns and even simulate the preferential creation of these patterns, to explore how probable our complex theories are.
I will write more about these studies at a later time. All of this work was funded by EU HERA and ERC Synergy funding. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you like this kind of thing!
We invite papers for a session on complexity science/advanced data analysis/formal modelling at the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference (TRAC, Edinburgh, 12-14 April 2018). Please find the abstract below. This is a double session, the first part ‘Exploring Complex Systems’ will focus on finding patters, defining relationships and exploring past complexity, while the second part ‘Understanding Change’ will showcase applications of formal methods to understand social and economic processes and change.
To submit an abstract (300 words), please complete the submission template available here: http://trac.org.uk/events/conferences/trac-2018/
Tom Brughmans, John W. Hanson, Matthew J. Mandich, Iza Romanowska, Xavier Rubio-Campillo
Call for papers, session at Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Edinburgh 12-14 April 2018:
Formal Approaches to Complexity in Roman Archaeology: Exploring Complex Systems and Understanding ChangePart 1: Exploring Complex Systems
Part 2: Understanding Change
Session Organisers: Tom Brughmans (University of Oxford) – John W. Hanson (University of Colorado) – Matthew J. Mandich (University of Leicester) – Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center) – Xavier Rubio-Campillo (University of Edinburgh)
In recent years archaeologists have increasingly employed innovative approaches used for the study of complex systems to better interpret and model the social, political, and economic structures and interactions of past societies. However, for the majority of Roman archaeologists these approaches remain elusive as a comprehensive review and evaluation is lacking, especially regarding their application in Roman archaeology.In brief, a complex system is made up of many interacting parts (‘components’ or ‘agents’) which form a whole that is more than the sum of its parts – i.e. the interactions of these parts lead to emergent behaviors or outcomes that cannot be (easily) predicted by examining the parts individually. While such systems are characterized by their unpredictable, adaptive, and/or non-linear nature, they are (often) self-organising and governed by observable rules that can be analysed via various methods. For example, many past phenomena, such as urbanism or the functioning of the Roman economy, are complex systems composed of multiple interacting elements and driven by the diverse processes acting upon individuals inhabiting the ancient world. Thus, they can be explored using the approaches and methods of complexity science.The study of complex systems has primarily been undertaken in contemporary settings, in disciplines such as physics, ecology, medicine, and economics. Yet, as the complex nature of ancient civilizations and their similarity to present-day systems is being steadily realized through ongoing analysis, survey, and excavation, archaeologists have now begun to use methods such as scaling studies (e.g. settlement scaling theory), agent-based modeling, and network analyses to approach this complexity. Since these methodologies are designed to examine the interactions and feedback between components within complex systems empirically, they can provide new ways of looking at old data and old problems to supply novel conclusions. However, such methods have only been applied sporadically in ancient settings, and even less so in a Roman context or using Roman archaeological data.Thus, in this two part session we aim to bring these methods, and the Roman archaeologists using them, together by offering a critical review of the theoretical and empirical developments within the study of past complex systems and their interplay with existing ideas, before investigating how we might capitalize on the new opportunities afforded by them in the future. Part I of this session, ‘exploring complex systems’, is concerned with examining and unraveling the underlying structures present in the archaeological record using the formal tools provided by the complex systems framework. Part II, ‘understanding change’, will focus on applications exploring the dynamics of change that generated the patterns observed in existing evidence. In particular, we invite contributions using formal methods including computational modelling and simulation, GIS, and network analyses, as well as diverse theoretical approaches to better understand ancient complex systems.