Funding: Pelagios small grants

Last year, Pau de Soto and I received a Pelagios small grant to develop Itiner-e . This small support allowed for the creation of a software platform and to explore an experimental idea related to linked open data. It was great, and created a whole new research line for me. I strongly encourage members of this list to propose projects for a small grant, it’s a great initiative. Check out more projects on the Pelagios blog

Via Elton Barker:

We are happy to announce for 2019 a new series of small grants to fund continued development within the scope of Pelagios in the form of:
  • Resource Development (RD) grants, which aim to produce digital resources that are compatible with Pelagios linked data methodologies and that can be shared within the community;
  • Working Groups (WG), which focus on extending Pelagios linked data methodologies into new areas, and/or establishing best practice within the community.
Proposals for both RD and WGs will be judged according to their relevance to and usefulness for the wider Pelagios community. Deadline for all submissions is 1 April 2019.
If you are interested in either of these small grants schemes, please read carefully the following call and the related list of criteria below. Details can also be found on the Pelagios blog.
Please feel free to share widely. Any questions, email us:

Book: Quantitative Methods in the Humanities

There are not a lot of good books out there to help us humanists who also use calculators. Many books have an extremely tight focus on a particular tool or software, or they are uselessly vague. Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc wrote a book that balances between a comprehensive overview of approaches and practicalities of implementation whilst remaining critical about the potential application in the humanities. In short: useful and necessary!

The book covers many approaches including network science! I can definitely recommend this part of the book, written by world-leading experts on the topic. Moreover, the book is accompanied by a useful blog with loads of resources. In terms of coverage it is also entirely compatible with another recent book on the topic, the Historian’s Macroscope.

An enhanced translation of an earlier version written in French, this book will appeal to Humanities scholars world-wide. But especially to historians and archaeologists who don’t want to compromise their data critique when applying quantitative methods.

This timely and lucid guide is intended for students and scholars working on all historical periods and topics in the humanities and social sciences–especially for those who do not think of themselves as experts in quantification, “big data,” or “digital humanities.”

The authors reveal quantification to be a powerful and versatile tool, applicable to a myriad of materials from the past. Their book, accessible to complete beginners, offers detailed advice and practical tips on how to build a dataset from historical sources and how to categorize it according to specific research questions. Drawing on examples from works in social, political, economic, and cultural history, the book guides readers through a wide range of methods, including sampling, cross-tabulations, statistical tests, regression, factor analysis, network analysis, sequence analysis, event history analysis, geographical information systems, text analysis, and visualization. The requirements, advantages, and pitfalls of these techniques are presented in layperson’s terms, avoiding mathematical terminology.

Conceived primarily for historians, the book will prove invaluable to other humanists, as well as to social scientists looking for a nontechnical introduction to quantitative methods. Covering the most recent techniques, in addition to others not often enough discussed, the book will also have much to offer to the most seasoned practitioners of quantification.



Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc belong to this rare category of historians who show how quantitative methods can and should be used to build new bridges between history, the social sciences and humanities. At a time when disciplinary entrenchement is as lively as ever, this is refreshing. This book provides a great illustration of their approach. A must-read.
Thomas Piketty, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and Paris School of Economics, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century

“There are so many untapped opportunities for historians to use quantitative methods, but very few guides to help them use these methods well. This book meets an urgent need for concise, accessible, and rigorous texts on quantitative history. It is a text that will last—it presents fundamental concepts in such a way that they will not be quickly dated as tools and questions change.”

Caitlin C. Rosenthal, University of California, Berkeley, author of Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management

Lemercier and Zalc have crafted a wonderfully luminous and congenial primer to quantitative methods construed, not as the Grail, but as a pragmatic, supple and enriching approach to interpretation as well as to the administration of proof. It presents possible solutions to a multiplicity of very different questions that stimulate thinking about how to capture and fathom the past and to probe issues in myriad disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences.

Steven Laurence Kaplan, Cornell University
About the Author:

Claire Lemercier is Research Professor of History at the Center for the Sociology of Organizations, Paris.

Claire Zalc is Research Professor of History at the Institute for Early Modern and Modern History and at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris.

Arthur Goldhammer is an affiliate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University.

POLNET + network models and culture

The following events might be of particular interest to historians and archaeologists reading this blog.

via Martin Stark and the HNR list:

Dear Colleagues and Students,

This year´s summer school on advanced social network analysis will be dedicated to network models of culture and discourse. The nexus between words and networks offers new possibilities to understand the impact of culture and language use in social networks and vice versa. Scholars use a variety of different approaches, qualitative content based (e.g. QSA qualitative structural analysis, content analysis), quantitative analysis (e.g. automated content analysis, text mining), or a combination of both (e.g. DNA discourse network analysis). In this advanced seminar, we introduce some of these methods in lectures combined with hands-on-tutorials.

Network models of culture and discourse from sociological and political science perspectives will be the focus of the upcoming summer school Polnet Plus, which will be organized by Boris Holzer (Department of Sociology) and Volker Schneider (Department of Politics and Public Administration) at the University of Konstanz at May 24 and 25, 2019.

Various sessions will introduce the participants into the topic of the collection and analysis of network models of culture and discourse. The summer school includes a keynote speech by Prof. Alexander Mehler from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, where he is a professor for Computational Humanities / Text Technology and heads the Text Technology Lab as part of the Institute of Informatics.

In addition, we offer a pre-summer school refresher Network Analysis with R, starting from Wednesday, May 22 until Thursday, May 23 (see timetable for newcomers and participants with-out basic knowledge in R and Social Network Analysis.

This year’s POLNET + faculty team includes Felix Bossner1, Achim Edelmann2, Boris Holzer1, Ines Imbert 5, Lukáš Lehotský3, Jürgen Lerner1, Melanie Nagel1, Petr Ocelík3, Adrian Rinscheid4, Keiichi Satoh1 and Volker Schneider1.

[ 1 University of Konstanz; 2 University of Bern; 3 Masaryk University; 4 University of St. Gallen; 5 EIfER European Institute for Energy Research EDF-KIT, Karlsruhe]

Please do not hesitate to contact Christiane Richter ( with any further questions or to register your interest in attending the summer school until April 30.

You can also access additional information on

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Konstanz in May 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Boris Holzer Volker Schneider

Jobs: digital humanities research associates Florence

The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies seeks two Digital
Humanities Research Associates to join a research group working on semantically
enriched digital publications and historical spatio-temporal data.  Applicants
should have a background in Cultural Heritage Informatics and have experience in
semantic web technologies and standards (RDF, SPARQL, OWL), including data
modeling and transformation, preferably with the CIDOC-CRM and related
ontologies. Software development experience in Java and web application
development (Javascript, HTML5 etc.) highly preferred. Research Associates will
collaborate with humanities scholars and other Digital Humanities researchers to
implement a wide range of digital projects, including 3D reconstructions,
geospatial mapping of historical data, and the building of knowledge graphs from
scholarly publications and archival documents.

The appointment is for one year, renewable up to three. The stipend is $5,000
per month, plus a one-time supplement (maximum, $1,500) towards relocation
expenses. DH Research Associates are also offered lunch five days a week, the
computer hardware of their choice, as well as reimbursement for travel to
conferences where they represent institutional projects.

Applicants must be fluent in English. A PhD or Master’s degree in computer
science, library science, data science or other fields relevant to Digital
Humanities research is preferred.

Applicants should upload their CV and a cover letter outlining their research
interests and past experience. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis
and the positions will remain open until they are filled.

Click here to apply (

Roman studies does simulation now! Finding the limits of the limes

To say simulation is not a big thing in Roman studies is an understatement. Although the approach has become more popular in archaeology as a whole, the uptake in classical archaeology has been minimal. I’ve recently started collecting Roman formal modelling and simulation studies in an open Zotero bibliography, and could only find about 15.

All of this has changed now with the final open access publication of the project ‘Finding the limits of the Limes‘, edited by Philip Verhagen, Jamie Joyce and Mark Groenhuijzen. The 15 chapters in this book precisely double the number of Roman simulation studies! (in fact, quite a few of the original 15 were also by the hands of the editors)

Finding the limits of the limes was a pioneering project for Roman Studies. It used a tiny part of the Roman Empire, the Dutch Roman border region, as a testbed for a wealth of formal modelling and simulation approaches. The project bombarded the archaeology of the region with demographic models, network science, least-cost path modelling, predictive modelling, agricultural modelling, foraging models and much more formal goodness. The results are twofold: tested and refined hypotheses for a wide range of past social-natural phenomena in the study area, and examples of how modelling approaches that are commonly used in other disciplines can make constructive contributions to a wide range of phenomena in Roman Studies as well.

I am hopeful that this open access publication will reveal to students and early career researchers in Roman Studies that simulation is just one of those things they do now, alongside text criticism and ceramic analysis. I hope it will inspire them to explore other useful applications of the approaches showcased in this book. Roman Studies is blessed with a wealth of data that allows us to ask highly complex and important questions about the centuries-long history of a world power. Simulation and formal modelling has an important role to play in this. It allows us to specify our theories, to explore how well they are supported by data, to develop new theories and to focus our limited research resources on those theories that are most promising. I look forward to reading the contributions in this book more closely.

Access the entire book here for free.

This open access book demonstrates the application of simulation modelling and network analysis techniques in the field of Roman studies. It summarizes and discusses the results of a 5-year research project carried out by the editors that aimed to apply spatial dynamical modelling to reconstruct and understand the socio-economic development of the Dutch part of the Roman frontier (limes) zone, in particular the agrarian economy and the related development of settlement patterns and transport networks in the area. The project papers are accompanied by invited chapters presenting case studies and reflections from other parts of the Roman Empire focusing on the themes of subsistence economy, demography, transport and mobility, and socio-economic networks in the Roman period.

The book shows the added value of state-of-the-art computer modelling techniques and bridges computational and conventional approaches. Topics that will be of particular interest to archaeologists are the question of (forced) surplus production, the demographic and economic effects of the Roman occupation on the local population, and the structuring of transport networks and settlement patterns. For modellers, issues of sensitivity analysis and validation of modelling results are specifically addressed. This book will appeal to students and researchers working in the computational humanities and social sciences, in particular, archaeology and ancient history.

Discussion forum Bochum: ABM in archaeology

Via Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff

– with apologies for cross-posting –

We proudly announce the first Forum ReSoc “Agent-based Models in Archaeology: Are there Limits? featuring Edmund Chattoe-Brown (University of Leicester) and Marc Vander Linden (University of Cambridge) as key-note speakers.

What is the role of agent-based modelling for archaeology? How does ABM contribute to interdisciplinary work and vice versa, how do different practices in the disciplines affect the way in which ABM is practised?

Following two key-notes by Edmund Chattoe-Brown and Marc Vander Linden, a panel composed by Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center), Maria Ivanova-Bieg (Heidelberg University) and Michael Roos (Ruhr-University Bochum) will discuss these issues together with the speakers. We also invite the audience to comment and ask questions.

The Forum will be moderated by Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff (Ruhr-University Bochum, ReSoc – Resources in Societies Leibniz Postdoctoral School).

We invite students and researchers of all disciplines as well as the general public to join the event in Bochum on March 21st! Please note that if you will not make it in person, you can watch the live stream of the event on YouTube.

More information at:

Twitter: @ReSocBochum 

See you in Bochum!

Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff

Job: postdoc religious networks in Medieval Europe

This postdoc will be a great opportunity of interest to readers of this blog. It is for network science and GIS work on religious networks in Medieval Europe. It is based in Brno with colleagues who are also involved in the GEHIR project, which demonstrates these scholars’ excellent work in both the history of religion and network science. Excellent stuff!! Moreover, Brno hosted the recent historical network research conference. So this is a really relevant place and team to join if you love past networks!

Deadline 20 February.

More information in this message from Dr. David Zbíral.

Dear colleagues,

The DISSINET project (“Dissident Religious Cultures in Medieval Europe from the Perspective of Social Network Analysis and Geographic Information Systems”), based at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Department for the Study of Religions and funded by a “Projects of Excellence” grant from the Czech Science Foundation for the period between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2023, is searching for a postdoctoral researcher to join its recently established team. The position is full-time, fixed-term, for 24 months with a very likely extension (based on the quality of collaboration) to the end of the project (31 December 2023). The expected start date is 1 April 2019 (negotiable). The deadline for applications is 20 February.


  • Ph.D. or equivalent in history, medieval studies, the study of religions, or another field related to the project’s focus

  • Specialization in either (a) religious dissent and/or inquisitorial or other trial records in medieval or early modern Europe, or (b) historical research informed by computational, network-analytical, or quantitative methods

  • Secure command of Latin and English

  • Computer-friendly mindset (tables, digital tools)

  • Academic writing skills in English

  • Team spirit, moral integrity, reliability

We offer:

  • Full-time research position in a committed interdisciplinary team working on an exciting frontier-research project

  • Competitive salary above the average for similar positions in the Czech Republic (good ratio between salary and local living costs)

  • Individual research budget for participating in conferences and workshops, buying books, etc. (ca. 3,000 € each year)

  • Training and growth in interdisciplinary digital research (social network analysis, geographic information systems, databases)

  • Participation in writing high-profile publications in history, social network analysis, and the digital humanities

  • Friendly and informal working environment

The position requires physical presence in Brno, the Czech Republic.

The selection procedure has two rounds: the first is based on the submitted attachments, the second (for short-listed applicants) is based on written exchange and interview through Skype or personally in Brno.

The candidate’s doctoral degree does not need to be recent for this postdoctoral position. Career breaks do not pose any problem. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.

More information about this position and link to the e-application: .

Please feel free to contact the project’s PI, Dr. David Zbíral, at if you have any questions.

With all best wishes,

David Zbíral.

Dr. David Zbíral

Associate Professor at Masaryk University (Study of Religions)

General Secretary of the Czech Association for the Study of Religions,

Department for the Study of Religions,

Faculty of Arts | Masaryk University

Arna Nováka 1 | 602 00 Brno | Czech Republic

Network workshop London 4-5 March

The following workshop looks like a great place to get experience with network science in practice.

Via Johannes Preiser-Kapeller:

Reminder: Network analysis for historians and archaeologists (introductory workshop, London, 4-5 March 2019)

organised by Dr. Philip Wood
with Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

DATE AND TIME: Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 10:00 – Tue, 5 Mar 2019, 17:00 GMT

LOCATION: Aga Khan Centre, 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN…

The workshop will provide both an overview of basic concepts of network theory and their application in historical and archaeological research as well as an introduction into software tools and practical network analysis.

In particular, the following themes will be covered:

· Nodes, Links and Degree. Basic concepts of quantitative network analysis
· Papyri, potsherds, people, sites, relations: theoretical consideration and examples of historical and archaeological network analysis
· From data to network model: organisation, processing and entering of relational data
· From the model to results: analysis, visualisation and interpretation of network models
All participants will receive in advance a selection of preparatory readings, a bibliography (for further research), download links for the necessary software tools and sample data sets which will be used in the practical exercises. Every participant should bring a laptop with the software and sample data pre-installed. In addition, there will also be opportunity to discuss the potential of network tools for individual research projects of the participants.

This workshop will be led by Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, a member of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The workshop is intended for ancient and medieval historians and archaeologists who already have PhDs. Lunch is provided, but space is limited.

13th Historical Network Research workshop

Where? Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz
When? 27.-28.05.2019

If you want to attend this workshop, send the information mentioned below to before 28 February.

Networks Across Time and Space

Methodological Challenges and Theoretical Concerns of Network Research in the Humanities

From the trade networks of the bronze age to the kinship ties of medieval ruling houses, from the exchange of scientific knowledge through letters to the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, people throughout the ages have been acutely aware of how their integration or exclusion from networks could impact their lives. Yet only with the invention of digital tools has it become possible to reconstruct, visualize, and analyse these relational structures on an unprecedented scale. They have transformed the way we think about groups and societies, space and culture. Not only economists, political scientists or researchers in literary and cultural studies but also historians and archaeologists have adopted the concept of “networks” to study certain forms of information as part of a broader whole. Rather than looking at data in isolation, the focus is shifting to the links that unite different entities, and to the structures that emerge from their connections. Especially for archaeologists and historians, who are often dealing with large amounts of data that stand in a complex relation to each other – be it objects, sites or people – network theory and formal network analysis can be very powerful tools for study.

Particular constraints, however, surround the use of network-theoretic methods in the historical sciences. The analysis usually deals with fragmentary datasets, examines data of different types (sites, objects, landscapes, institutions), or unites data from different regions or periods of time within one study. Finding a common denominator that unites disparate and sometimes problematic datasets within one network that sustains a valid historical hypothesis can be a challenge. It is not always clear which analytical tools, e.g., different centrality measures, can be applied to gain a deeper understanding of a dataset and what exactly their use implies for the conceptional framework of the research in question. To which kind of historical questions can we find answers through a formal network analysis? Is a more fluid approach dealing with metaphorical networks more useful? Which new perspectives on existing data can network research open up to different disciplines?

In order to provide prospective and more advanced network scholars and students in the historical sciences with a sound background and solid arguments for structuring a network-related hypothesis, a two-day workshop is organized to:

• provide basic training (day 1)

• provide in-depth discussion on the application of network theory for specific datasets and research questions (day 2)

The first day of the workshop aims at novices and prospective students in network analysis in the historical sciences and archaeology (no previous knowledge required). Participants can bring own research ideas to the workshop to receive feedback, but this is not obligatory.

The second day of the workshop is devoted to in-depth theoretical discussion for advanced scholars, who already have an understanding of network concepts and are applying it to their own case studies. A general discussion will conclude the exchange within small groups focusing on specific case studies and central issues in historical and archaeological network research. Students participating in the first day are welcome to attend the second day of the workshop to broaden their understanding.

There are three points of focus for discussion on the second workshop day:

1. Objects as Actors

2. Fragmentary data – fragmentary networks? Implications of source criticism for archaeological and historical network analysis

3. One theory fits them all? Critical reflections on theorizing about social networks across time and space

Participation in the workshop is free of charge; however, participants are required to provide for their accommodation and travel.

The number of available places in the workshop is limited. To be considered for participation, prospective participants should send an abstract of their project or a statement concerning their motivation of participation (about 300 words) to the workshop email address:

Submissions are due February 28th. As the aim of this workshop is to initiate a critical discourse across disciplines, we encourage all participants to contact us if you would like to propose further topics for discussion on the second workshop day.


Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑