Tom in Leuven

May 29, 2011

This Wednesday 1 June I will be presenting my recent work at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. If you’re around, why not pop in for a talk 🙂

Wednesday 1 June at 4PM in room 01.08 of the Monseigneur Sencie Instituut (Erasmusplein, Leuven).

Awesome art by Aaron Koblin

May 27, 2011

Just saw this TED talk by Aaron Koblin, a digital artist who’s work has inspired me for a while now. His art shows stunning examples of the fact that we have so much data available everywhere that relates in unsuspecting ways. If we bother to add things up, like he does for hand-drawn sheep, Johnny Cash still images, flight patterns, $100 bills and even voice samples, we see surprising things emerge that you would not expect by just looking at a single image or sample. His work on flight patterns is stunning and has been exhibited in the New York MOMA recently.

Check out his work online. And check out his talk below. Believe me, you’ll be surprised!

Presentation Newcastle University online!

May 25, 2011

You can download the slides from my presentation at Newcastle University on 23-05-2011 from the bibliography page. The conference was amazing, met some great people and heard some very promising research. I was also awarded the second prize in the Norman McCord competition for best presentation, which of course made me very happy 🙂

Conference Newcastle ‘Networks and Scales’ 23 May

May 17, 2011

I would just like to remind you all that next Monday the School of Historical Studies at Newcastle University will host a Postgraduate conference titled ‘Networks and Scales: Relating the local and the global’. I will present a paper myself on issues surrounding the archaeological application of network analysis, the potential of a multi-scalar network method, and show examples from the ‘Urban connectivity in Iron Age and Roman Southern Spain’ project directed by Simon Keay and Graeme Earl.

I am very much looking forward to the event, the list of speakers looks very promising.

Have a look for yourself:

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to address the notion of networks across boundaries and disciplines. Are we aware of the networks within which our subjects exist? Do we address sufficiently issues of network and scale in the past? How do we make connections between the often narrow focus of doctoral research and the local and global scales within which we practice?

The variety of papers that we were offered has been thrilling and it has been a great pleasure to organise what looks set to be an interesting and stimulating day. The papers transcend the disciplines of archaeology, history, ancient history, classics and history of medicine bringing together diverse research interests and a range of researchers united by a common interest in connecting different people, places and things, building links between data and interpretation and locating the local or individual in broader networks. We hope that today will provide the opportunity for our speakers and audience to both explore and create new networks.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the people without whom today would not be possible. Firstly, our sincere thanks to Professor Keith Wrightson and Professor Norman McCord for offering their continued support for the poster and paper prizes respectively. Our thanks are also due to the judging panels for said prizes. In addition we would like to thank the School of Historical Studies for their financial support, and in particular Dr. Helen Berry, director of postgraduate studies. We are grateful to those who have submitted posters, and hope that you have found it a useful experience. We would like to thank our speakers for offering such varied and intriguing abstracts and, we are sure, thought-provoking and interesting papers.

Finally, it is a great pleasure to welcome Professor Richard Hingley of Durham University as our key note speaker. We are honoured to have him address the conference and can think of no better way to end the day than with his lecture on networking frontiers.

Schedule for the Day

9.30am – Registration in the Research Beehive

Exploring Network Theories

10.00am Tom Brughmans – Complex networks in archaeology: Urban connectivity in Roman southern Spain

10.30am Keith Scholes – Recovering past networks : An approach to Early Medieval trade and communications

11am Coffee

11.30am Piotr Jacobsson – Re-assembling Aceramic Cyprus

12.00pm Louise Tolson- Exclusive/Inclusive: Public involvement and collaboration in the archaeology of the recent past

12.30pm Lunch

Scaling Sickness and Health

1.30pm Michelle Gamble – Bones, people and populations: A palaeopathological case study from Chalcolithic Cyprus

2.00pm Graham Butler – “Elizabeth Ferney, having procured a foul distemper, ordered into the workhouse until cured”: The Parish, the parish workhouse and parochial medicine in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1770-1830

2.30pm Coffee

Networks of Power

3.00pm David Linden – One Nation Networking: Baroness Elles and European Toryism

3.30pm Fiona Noble – Sulla and Aphrodisias: Greek and Roman Interaction in the 1st century BC.

4.00pm Jonathan Dugdale – Pagodas, Patronage and Power: The Role of State Sponsored Buddhism in Liao Dynasty China

4.30pm Coffee and Judging of the Keith Wrightson Poster Prize

5.15pm Presentation of the Keith Wrightson Poster Prize and the Norman McCord Prize for the best paper

5.30pm Key Note Address

Professor Richard Hingley – ‘Networking the study of frontiers’

6.30pm Wine reception and dinner at Barkolo.

Workshop historical network research in SaarbrĂĽcken

May 15, 2011

From 26 to 28 May a workshop on historical networks will be held at the Universität des Saarlandes, organised by the people of the ‘Historical network research’ platform. The scope seems pretty wide, covering theoretical papers, geographical networks, software and social, cultural, political and trade networks in historical case-studies. Although there are no explicit archaeological applications, these papers should be extremely relevant to what we are doing as archaeological network analysts.

Read the full list of papers in this programme.

Historical network research on the web!

May 6, 2011

I just discovered the work by Marten DĂĽring and his colleagues on Historical network research. They established a platform for scholars to discuss their network-related work and advertise events. Their website also includes a bibliography listing many historical applications of network-based techniques. In addition, some workshops are organised, the next one taking place 26-28 May in SaarbrĂĽcken, Germany. Definitely of interest to people reading this blog!

Here is what these scholars have to say about the scope of the platform:

This website aims to be a platform for scholars to present their work, enable collaboration and provide those new to network analysis with some helpful first information.

The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are recently being used not only as a mere metaphor but are increasingly applied in practice. In the last decades several studies in the social sciences proved that formal methods derived from social network analysis can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies of historical data as well. These studies however tend to be strongly influenced by concerns, standards of data processing, and, above all, epistemological paradigms that have their roots in the social sciences. Among historians, the term network has been used in a metaphorical sense alone for a long time. It was only recently that this has changed.

The social sciences with their focus on the present-day have a vast range of tools at their disposal, such as interviews or questionnaires, to obtain data that are both informative and comprehensive. Historical research however is limited to the extraction of relational data from fragmentary and contradicting sources. Alongside with the paucity of sources this hampers the comprehensive, valid and meaningful application of methods drawn from social network analysis. Despite these obstacles, the relational perspective of network analysis has helped historical research to gain an entirely new methodological vantage point.

Historical research has faced up to the challenge posed by social network analysis. The latter has emerged as a young and dynamic field in historical research; it is still in its formative phase and as a consequence hard to view as a whole. Until now however, social network analysis methods and theories have been applied to historical data in various fields, for example in the study of correspondences, of social movements, of kinship and in economic history. The fragmentary nature of their sources often leads scholars to rely on rather robust concepts of centrality measures, bimodal networks, visualizations and the adaptation of widespread theorems such as brokerage or the concept of strong and weak ties.

Networks workshop Vienna 10 June

May 4, 2011

I have been invited to present at the Institut for Byzantine Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences on the 10th of June in a workshop titled “Connecting the dots. The analysis of networks and the study of the past (Archaeology and History)”, organised by Johannes Preiser-Kapeller. I am very much looking forward to the event! Do come down to Vienna for this if you have the chance!

Download the invitation here.

Here is Johannes’ original invitation:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

On the 10th of June 2011, the Institut for Byzantine Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Wohllebengasse 12-14, 1040 Vienna, Austria) will host the half-day Workshop “Connecting the dots. The analysis of networks and the study of the past (Archaeology and History)”.

As keynote speaker, Tom Brughmans from the Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton (UK) will present his project on Archaeological Network Analysis; he has established an online blog for this new field of archaeological research ( as well as a network of researchers interested in NA. Most recently, he has organized a session on Archaeological and Historical NA for the “39th Annual Conference of Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology“ (CAA 2011) in Beijing (China; cf.
After the presentation of Tom Brughmans, the research on Network Analysis at the Institut für Byzanzforschung will be briefly presented. Then there will be opportunity for all participants to present and discuss their experiences with Network Analysis (participants are invited to briefly – 5 minutes – present their ongoing projects– laptop and video-beamer will be provided).

14:30 Introduction

14:40 Tom Brughmans (Univ. Southampton, UK): “Complex Networks in Archaeology: Urban Connectivity in Roman Southern Spain”

15:20 Mihailo Popović (IBF): “Networking the historical geography of Byzantium”

15:30 Johannes Preiser-Kapeller – Ekaterini Mitsiou (IBF): “Social Networks of Byzantium”

15:40 Coffee break

16:00-17:30 Short presentations of projects and discussion

For more details, please see the attachement or contact:

With the best regards,
Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

Mag. Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller
Institute for Byzantine Studies
Austrian Academy of Sciences
Wohllebengasse 12-14/3
1040 Vienna, Austria