Submit your work to the new CAA journal!

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!


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• Research articles, describing the outcomes and application of unpublished original research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.

Manuscript Preparation

Please refer to the Journal Information and submission instructions for Author about manuscript preparation:
All manuscripts should be submitted online at:

Publication Frequency

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 .


Caribbean views: two new publications

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.

Some of my work in Caribbean archaeology has now been published, and is available for free! (Download links: archaeological paper; methodological paper)

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).

The Eastern Guadeloupe study area, showing important long distance views connecting settlements (dotted lines) and clusters of short distance views between settlements (solid lines).

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!


Complex Systems and Change, session at Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference

Calton-Hill-2-CAMWe 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:

and send it to .
Deadline: 6 October 2018.
If you would like to discuss your paper before submitting, please feel free to contact us (see cc).

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 Change

Part 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.

Historical network research conference: registration and program

The fourth HNR conference will take place in Turku, Finland, from 17 to 20 October 2017. Registration is open now and it’s FREE! Have a look at the programme here: plenty of interesting papers and a number of really useful workshops. I really like this conference series because of its friendly and exciting atmosphere, so I will definitely recommend you to attend if you can.

We are pleased to announce that the registration to the “4th Historical Network Research Conference” is now OPEN. Please go to the following page and proceed according the guidelines:

Please note: there is no conference fee, but if you want to participate in the conference dinner on 19 October 2017 it will cost 50,00 euro. In this case you will be forwarded to the online payment portal.

The preliminary programme is also published and online:

We will update the programme with information on seminar rooms within the next couple of weeks.

Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an e-mail to:

We look forward to seeing you in Turku in October.

Best regards,

Members of the organising committee

The Connected Past: register now!

cropped-cropped-logo_website_heading23.pngRegistration is open for ‘The Connected Past 2017: The future of past networks?’.

More information on the conference website:

What? a multi-disciplinary conference on network research for the study of the human past

When? 24-25 August 2017

Where? Bournemouth, UK

Registration price: £35

Full Programme:

Registration link:

Everyone is welcome to join discussions on a wide range of topics in a friendly and constructive atmosphere.

Overarching methodological topics to be addressed include:

  • networks of individuals
  • temporal change in networks
  • networks and geographical space
  • categorisation
  • material similarity
  • research design
  • transport networks

Individual papers will cover a wide range of topics in archaeology, history, classics, physics, geography and computer science:

  • medieval witness networks
  • papyri networks
  • networks of medieval heresy
  • machine time
  • the world bank in Colombia
  • urban networks
  • ideology
  • cityscape movement
  • movement along the Roman frontiers
  • neolithisation
  • Iron Age elites
  • Neolithic material networks
  • ceramics and political economies
  • agent-based modelling
  • protohistoric transportation networks
  • Greco-Roman festivals
  • shipwrecks and maritime networks

We look forward to welcoming you in Bournemouth!

Row yer boat! Play a Caribbean Archaeology game for a cash prize. Deadline 16 July

Ever wanted to cruise the Caribbean in a canoe? Here’s your chance! (kind of) The Caribbean Archaeology project I worked with the last few years (NEXUS1492) released a game ‘Row yer boat‘, in which you should navigate your canoe through the Caribbean Sea. If you play it before 16 July, you stand a chance of winning a cash prize of up to 250EUR. The user data of the game will be used for the research project, exploring decision making by people navigating the Caribbean Sea in canoes. Download the game soon and give it a go!

More information here.

Nexus1492’s RowYerBoat is now finally released!


… for Desktop:

… for Android:

We have a competition running until July 16th where you can win up to a whopping 250€! Support me with my Bachelor Thesis: all you have to do is play “Nexus1492’s RowYerBoat” and beat other players’ highscores in order to win up to 250€ in cash! Details below.
Nexus1492’s RowYerBoat is part of the research project Nexus1492 of which the Algorithmics Group of the Computer & Information Science Department at the University of Konstanz is part of. RowYerBoat is a canoeing simulation where you have to navigate a boat through the caribbean sea. Currents are making your way from one spot to another harder; find the best route and beat the global highscores in two campaigns containing three missions each.

We are giving away 25€ to the player who scores the best time – per mission! Additionaly, we will reward the player with the best overall time of each campaign with another 50€. You do not have to be experienced in gaming for a chance to win!
(NOTE: The tutorial campaign is NOT part of the competition!)

What you have to do:

1. download Nexus1492’s RowYerBoat for either Desktop or Android
2. register your email from the menu
3. be the very best!

Feel free to ask your questions or file bugreports to

Good luck!

Archaeology and history at the EU SNA conference

There’s a huge surge in archaeological and historical networks papers presented at the main networks conferences. This is a trend that has been going strong for a few years now. This year’s EU social network analysis conference will feature no less than three sessions on the topic! Virtually a satellite conference in its own right, the sessions cover a huge chronological and methodological range. I strongly recommend attending the conference to see these papers. But also because I always find it hugely inspiring myself to attend these inter-disciplinary conferences. You never know which paper is going to trigger new exciting ideas: Vietnamese trade networks in the late 20th century? Networks of gameboy musicians? That paper with all the scary maths in it? I always find 90% of the papers I see totally uninteresting or incomprehensible, but there’s always one that fundamentally changes my direction of research and that I refer back to for years afterwards.

What? EUSNA conference

Where? Mainz, Germany

When? 26-29 September 2017

Here’s the announcement of the archaeological and historical programme, via the HNR list:

This year’s European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN2017) comes with 3 sessions on network analysis in Archaeology and History, for details see the full programme here:

See an overview below:

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.1)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)

Martin Stark
Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

09:05 am
A formal network approach to ancient Mediterranean urbanisation process
Lieve Donnellan | VU University Amsterdam | Netherlands

09:25 am
Agent Based Modeling and Archeological Networks – Refining the Material Based Approach
Lennart Linde | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main | Germany

09:45 am
Modeling innovation spread in archaeological networks
Natasa Conrad | Zuse Institute Berlin | Germany

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.2)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

Martin Stark

The social dimension of credit relations: an application of SNA to an early modern merchant firm
Cinzia Lorandini | University of Trento | Italy

Mass genealogy: Top 1% of 19-th century Polish society as a single family network (PageRank-like analysis)
Marek Jerzy Minakowski | Dr Minakowski Publikacje Elektroniczne | Poland

Embeddedness of Periodicals in Illustrated Fashion Press in the Nineteenth Century
Julie Birkholz | Ghent University | Belgium

The Network of zemstvo’ deputies in the Perm province in the second half of the 19th century: Dynamics and features of the formation
Nadezhda Povroznik | Perm State National Research University | Russian Federation

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.3)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Martin Stark

Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

01:35 pm
: ‘O Rus! Elite networks and gentry politics in pre-revolutionary Russia: The blacksoil nobles, 1861-1905’
George Regkoukos | King’s College London | United Kingdom

01:55 pm
Hidden Archives and Lavish Libraries: Promises of Social Network Analysis for Research on Twentieth-Century China
Henrike Rudolph | Germany

02:15 pm
Building a Scientific Field in the Post-World War II Era: A Network Analysis of the Renaissance of General Relativity
Roberto Lalli | Max Planck Institute for the History of Science | Germany
Dirk Wintergrün | Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

02:35 pm
The elephant in the room of political parties: how patronage networks influenced leadership. A historical approach
Isabelle Borucki | University of Trier | Germany

The Connected Past CFP deadline 21 May and registration open now!

Registration for The Connected Past conference and workshop is now open:

Don’t forget to send in your abstracts: call for papers deadline 21 May. Further information below:

Call for papers The Connected Past 2017, August 24-25th 2017, Bournemouth University (UK)

The Connected Past 2017: The Future of Past Networks? 

August 24-25th 2017 

Bournemouth University (UK) 

August 22-23rd 2017 Practical Networks Workshop

 The Connected Past 2017 is a multi-disciplinary, international two-day conference that aims to provide a friendly and informal platform for exploring the use of network research in the study of the human past. 

 It will be preceded by a two-day practical workshop offering hands-on experience with a range of network science methods.

Deadline call for papers: May 21, 2017

Notification of acceptance: May 29, 2017

Conference registration (includes coffee breaks and lunch): £35

Workshop registration (includes coffee breaks): £20

Keynotes: Eleftheria Paliou and discussant Chris Tilley (tbc)

Organisers: Fiona Coward, Anna Collar & Tom Brughmans

Call for Papers

Five years have passed since the first Connected Past conference (Southampton 2012) brought together scholars working in archaeology, history, physics, mathematics and computer science to discuss how network methods, models and thinking might be used to enhance our understanding of the human past. Much has happened in these intervening years: applications of network analysis have expanded rapidly; a number of collected volumes dealing explicitly with network analysis of the past have been published (e.g. The Connected Past, OUP 2016; Special Issue of the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 2015; Network Analysis in Archaeology, OUP 2013); and several dedicated groups of scholars are thriving, including the Connected Past itself which hosted conferences in Paris and London, but also the Historical Network Research group, Res-Hist and others. The Connected Past 2017 will provide an opportunity to take stock of the developments of the past five years and to discuss the future of network research in archaeology and history. How will new network models, methods and thinking shape the ways we study the past? 

We welcome submissions of 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: 

        Missing and incomplete data in archaeological and historical networks

        Networks, space and place

        Network change over time

        What kinds of data can archaeologists and historians use to reconstruct past networks and what kinds of issues ensue?

        Categories in the past vs categories in our analysis: etic or emic, pre-determined or emergent?

        Formal network analysis vs qualitative network approaches: pros, cons, potential, limitations

Please submit your abstract limited to 250 words before midnight (GMT) of May 21st 2017 to  

 NB. If there is sufficient demand, we will endeavour to organise a crêche for delegates’ children (under 3). An extra fee may be payable for this, although fee-waivers may be available in certain circumstances. Further details would be provided in due course. In order to allow us to assess demand, please let us know in advance if this would be useful for you.  

CFP CFP Evolution of Cultural Complexity at Conference on Complex System, Cancun, September

I can recommend presenting at this event. I’ve been assured network talks are welcome!
Deadline CFP: 26 May
Where? Cancun, Mexico
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 Cancun, Mexico, from the 17th to the 22nd of September. Our session will take pace on the 21st of September.
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:
  1. Can we better define sociocultural complexity and confirm its general tendency to increase over the course of human history?
  2. What are the main factors enabling an increase of cultural complexity?
  3. Are there reliable way to measure the complexity in material culture and social organisation constructs, that is?
  4. How can we quantify and compare the impact of different factors?
  5. 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 26th of May 2017. 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 by the 4th of June 2017.
Please find more details on the following website:
We strongly encourage you to participate  

Please help us to spread the word!
on behalf of the organisers,
Iza Romanowska

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