Getting my hands dirty at the Winchester School of Art

February 28, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 15.07.37A while ago I joined my Archaeology colleagues on a visit to the Winchester School of Art, our university’s Art campus. We would spend a full day working with the artists there, producing archaeology inspired art. What is archaeology inspired art? I have no idea! It turns out that anything produced by archaeologists would do. So all of us started work on a range of screen-prints and copper etchings. The screen-prints featured an image of our archaeological work, some of us had geophysics maps and others had cave paintings, I decided to use our Connected Past logo designed by Ian Kirkpatrick. I was not very good but my friends and the artists were kind to me. As you can see from the etch in the figure, I really tried to do something artsy with my work but could not really get away from tying everything down to points and lines.

2012-11-30 16.51.40

Overall, it was an exhilarating experience. It really forced me to act quick and make decisions on how to represent my archaeology in an instant. It was more an action-filled trial and error process, completely different to our ‘let’s think long and hard about how to best do this’ process that is so common in the archaeology office. The result was that we got to go home with about twenty prints each! Compared to my normal 20 words-a-day this was probably the most productive day of my life.

I believe we will collaborate more often with the Winchester School of Art in the future and I am really looking forward to it!

You can read a full review of our group’s experience on the SotonDH blog.

CFP: Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks

February 25, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-19 at 10.16.18I have advertised the Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks symposia a few times before and have attended one of them (presentation, paper). It proved a really fascinating multi-disciplinary event where I learned a lot and met many like-minded people. So for all of us doing networks in Arts and Humanities, come down to Denmark and present at the Symposium.

Deadline call for papers: 31 March 2013
For more info and submission go to the symposium website.

We are delighted to invite submissions for

Arts, Humanities, and Complex Networks
— 4th Leonardo satellite symposium at NetSci2013

taking place in Copenhagen at DTU – Technical University of Denmark,
on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

For submission instructions please go to:

Deadline for submission: March 31, 2013.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by April 8, 2013.

The overall mission of the symposium is to bring together pioneer work in the overlap of arts, humanities, network research, data science, and information design. The 2013 symposium will leverage interaction between those areas by means of keynotes, a number of contributions, and a high-profile panel discussion.

In our call, we are looking for a diversity of research contributions revolving around networks in culture, networks in art, networks in the humanities, art about networks, and research in network visualization. Focusing on these five pillars that have crystallized out of our previous meetings, the 2013 symposium strives to make further impact in the arts, humanities, and natural sciences.

Running parallel to the NetSci2013 conference, the symposium provides a unique opportunity to mingle with leading researchers in complex network science, potentially sparking fruitful collaborations.

As in previous years, selected papers will be published in print, both in a Special Section of Leonardo Journal MIT-Press and in a dedicated Leonardo eBook MIT-Press.

Best regards,
The AHCN2013 organizers,
Maximilian Schich*, Roger Malina**, and Isabel Meirelles***

* Associate Professor, ATEC, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA
** Executive Editor at Leonardo Publications, France/USA
*** Associate Professor, Dept. of Art + Design, Northeastern University, USA

Connected Island @ CAAUK

February 21, 2013

The next few days I will be attending the CAAUK conference hosted by L-P:Archaeology in London. The schedule looks interesting and I am sure the social side of this event is something to look forward to as well! I will put up a poster on the Connected Island project by Iza and myself. We actually had a bit of a double booking for this poster: it will also be presented those same days at the British Museum in London during the Palaeolithic Mesolithic conference. Before that it could be seen at the Unravelling the Palaeolithic conference in Cambridge.

You can read more about the Connected Island project on the project blog. And a discussion of our work using the h-index and citation network analysis were recently published as well.

You can download the poster via Scribd or read it here:

View this document on Scribd

Connected Island: Citation Network Analysis

February 18, 2013

In two previous blogposts (1, 2) I introduced the amazing Connected Island project Iza and I have been working on recently. This third blogpost about the Connected Island project will introduce our method for analysing publications and their citations. We will briefly discuss how citation network analysis works and the issues surrounding its applications. Finally, we will look at the very first results of this project: an analysis of publications about the Middle and Lower Palaeolithic in Hungary.

Hungarian Houses of Parliament

Hungarian Houses of Parliament

Citation network analysis

Recently, a wider availability of powerful computational resources, bibliometric software (e.g. HISTCITE; PAJEK; PUBLISH OR PERISH) and large bibliographic datasets in the sciences as well as the humanities resulted in significant progress in the analysis of citation networks in which vertices represent publications and a directed edge (or arc) between two vertices indicates a citation (Eom and Fortunato, 2011).

The foundations of citation network analysis were laid by Garfield et al. (1964) and the application of graph theory for citation network analysis was subsequently explored by Garner (1967). Despite this long tradition, its use in an archaeological context has not yet been thoroughly explored. In a number of studies researchers used simple counts of citations or other bibliometric data to track trends in the archaeological sciences and compare the impact and evolution of archaeological journals (e.g. Butzer, 2009; Marriner, 2009; Rehren et al., 2008; Rosenswig, 2005; Sterud, 1978), or to evaluate the impact of gender differentiation in archaeology (e.g. Beaudry and White, 1994; Hutson, 2002; 2006; Victor and Beaudry, 1992).

Citation network analyses in the Arts and Humanities are rare (Leydesdorff et al., 2011). The main reason for this is that the available citation databases for the Arts and Humanities (in particular the Institute for Scientific Information’s Arts and Humanities Citation Index) have significant limitations (Nederhof, 2006): books were until recently not indexed and publications in languages other than English are rare. However, monographs (rather than peer-reviewed journal articles) are often the dominant format of cited sources in the Humanities. Disciplines in the Arts and Humanities also show very different citation patterns and should therefore be considered separately (Knievel and Kellsey 2005). Despite these shortcomings citation analyses in the Arts and Humanities should not be discarded out of hand as it can still provide an alternative look at scientific practice through large aggregated datasets as long as the nature of the datasets and their limitations are thoroughly understood.

We came across some of these obstacles very early on during data collection for this project. Existing citation databases, like Web of Knowledge, contained only a fraction of the publications we were interested in. Those that are indexed in this resource are mostly written in English by Western European researchers (with a few exceptions) and it only rarely includes publications in Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Slovakian, or Russian. Manual data collection was therefore necessary.

A first test: the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in Hungary

As a test-case we explored a small part of the project’s dataset, containing the 31 synthetic publications about the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in Hungary we found in Budapest’s libraries. This collection of publications was written by nine Hungarian archaeologists between 1945 and 1990. This case-study aims to explore the citation patterns between them.

Chronological plot of citation network of Hungarian Palaeolithic researchers. Nodes are publications and directed lines are citations. Colours reflect publication language.

Chronological plot of citation network of Hungarian Palaeolithic researchers. Nodes are publications and directed lines are citations. Colours reflect publication language.

One would expect the older publications to be the most prominent since these had the time to accumulate the largest number of citations, and the results do show this process to some extent. Using the input domain measure (de Nooy et al., 2005: p. 193) we found that a few publications from the 50’s and early 60’s can be connected to by a larger number of nodes than any of the publications from the late 60’s and later, which indicates that these few publications influenced (directly or indirectly) the largest number of other publications. All of these publications with a high input domain were in fact written by a single author László Vértes who, although being very often cited by his colleagues, is guilty of quite a bit of self-citation as well. Although self-citation is common in academia and completely understandable (one always builds on one’s previous research), we needed to evaluate to what extent this affects the analytical techniques used. In this case the input domain seems to reflect largely the citation behaviour of one scholar who was extremely active throughout several decades.
Input domain score of publications: the number of publications that can be connected to a certain publication via a sequence of citations. This reflects the potential field of influence of a publication.

Input domain score of publications: the number of publications that can be connected to a certain publication via a sequence of citations. This reflects the potential field of influence of a publication.

Another way of evaluating the relative prominence of old and more recent publications is to look at the number of citations they received. It is interesting to note that the oldest as well as the recent publications receive a relatively small number of citations compared to a few publications from the mid- to late-60‘s. One of these is a monograph edited by Vértes on one of the most important Middle Palaeolithic sites in Hungary, Tata, which also received a high input domain score. The second highly cited publication was a book about the Middle Palaeolithic in Hungary also written by Vértes. The third most frequently cited work is a monograph about another prominent Middle Palaeolithic site, Érd, written by Veronika Gábori-Csánk.

In citation network analysis authoritative sources are often defined as publications that receive a high number of citations and particularly from so-called hubs. Hubs are defined as publications that cite a lot of other works especially authorities. Given these definitions we can identify the site monographs of Tata and Érd as well as the second highly cited book by Vértes as such authorities. The hubs in this network are three publications by the same authors: Miklos Gábori. All three of these publications are reviews of the Hungarian Palaeolithic and due to their very nature will include a lot of references, especially to key site reports.

The above measures very much over-emphasize the most cited publications and the work of the most active authors. We should note, however, that six works in this citation network are not cited or do not cite any others. These include publications from the 60’s by Vértes and Gabori, a few publications from the 50’s that seem to have been ignored by all those who followed, and the most recent publications from 1988 and 1990 that could not have been cited by others in this network.

Language of Publication

On the basis of the small sample of publications gathered in Budapest we can say that the widely held assumption that archaeological data from Central Europe was published in local languages is incorrect (Table 2). At least half, if not more, of Central European archaeology publications from this period were published in German, French or English alongside the national language. The image that all countries under the influence of the former Soviet Union published in Russian is incorrect.

Hungarian researchers in the case study, number of publications per language, and publishing date of publications included in the case study.

Hungarian researchers in the case study, number of publications per language, and publishing date of publications included in the case study.


We can conclude that although the effects of self-citation were definitely felt in this analysis, especially by those authors of whom we included multiple publications like Vértes or Gábori-Csánk, there are a number of publications that can be considered most pivotal in Hungarian Palaeolithic studies. These include the site reports of Tata and Érd.

Contrary to popular believe, Hungarian authors rarely published in their own language. Especially key site reports and synthetic works were written in these foreign languages, making them accessible to Western European archaeologists.

This blog post has explored the citation behaviour within a subset of the project’s dataset, and has concluded that Hungarian Palaeolithic archaeologists cited Central European and famous Western European scholars almost equally. Publications were almost always written in English, French or German, in addition to Hungarian, making most of them accessible to Western European archaeologists. But did the latter build on the work done by their Hungarian colleagues to improve their understanding of the European Lower and Middle Palaeolithic? Future work in this project will focus on the interactions between Western and Central European researchers.


Beaudry, M., & White, J. 1994. Cowgirls with the Blues? A Study of Women’s Publication and the Citation of Women’s Work in Historical Archaeology. In C. Claassen (ed) Women in Archaeology, 138–158. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Butzer, K.W. 2009. Evolution of an interdisciplinary enterprise: the Journal of Archaeological Science at 35years. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(9): p.1842–1846.

Eom, Y.-H., & Fortunato, S. 2011. Characterizing and Modeling Citation Dynamics M. Perc (ed). PLoS ONE 6(9): p.e24926.

Garfield, E., Irving, H.S., & Richard, J.T. 1964. The use of citation data in writing the history of science. Philadelphia: Institute for scientific information.

Garner, R. 1967. A computer-oriented graph theoretic analysis of citation index structures. In B. Flood (ed) Three drexel information science research studies, 3–46. Philadelphia: Drexel press.

Hutson, S. 2002. Gendered citation practices in American Antiquity and other archaeology journals. American antiquity 67(2): p.331–342.

Hutson, S.R. 2006. Self-Citation in Archaeology: Age, Gender, Prestige, and the Self. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 13(1): p.1–18.

Knievel, J.E., & Kellsey, C. 2005. Citation analysis for collection development: a comparative study of eight humanities fields. The Library Quarterly 75(2): p.142–168.

Leydesdorff, L., Hammarfelt, B., & Salah, A. 2011. The structure of the Arts & Humanities Citation Index: A mapping on the basis of aggregated citations among 1,157 journals. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62(12): p.2414–2426.

Marriner, N. 2009. Currents and trends in the archaeological sciences. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(12): p.2811–2815.

Nederhof, A. 2006. Bibliometric monitoring of research performance in the Social Sciences and the Humanities : a review. Scientometrics 66(1): p.81–100.

Nooy, W. de, Mrvar, A., & Batagelj, V. 2005. Exploratory social network analysis with Pajek. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rehren, T., Grattan, J., & Klein, R. 2008. Going strong, and growing. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: p.94305.

Rosenswig, R. 2005. A tale of two antiquities: Evolving editorial policies of the SAA journals. The SAA Archeological Record 5(1): p.15–21.

Sterud, E. 1978. Changing Aims of Americanist Archaeology: A Citations Analysis of American Antiquity. 1946-1975. American Antiquity 43(2): p.294–302.

Victor, K., & Beaudry, M. 1992. Women’s Participation in American Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology: A Comparative Look at the Journals American Antiquity and Historical Archaeology. In C. Claassen (ed) Exploring Gender through Archaeology, 11–22. Madison, Wisconsin: Prehistory Press.

Swiss DH summer school features network analysis

February 14, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 14.29.46A new DH initiative is born! Please welcome the first Swiss DH summer school, held June 26-29 2013 at the University of Bern. The programme features the eclectic mix of digital techniques with a Humanities angle that has become typical in DH. The tutors included in the programme are all great lecturers and I believe will guarantee a high-quality learning experience. Of particular interest is the course on Network Analysis by Claire Lemercier. Claire is a Modern Historian with a particular passion for networks. Her publications range from critical reviews of network methods in the historical discipline to solid quantitative approaches to particular historical problems. Also of interest is the workshop on network visualisation by Martin Grandjean. Martin will use the user-friendly software platform GEPHI, which has been called the Photoshop of network visualisation. I prefer to call it the ‘make my network look good’ platform: Gephi has a wide range of customisable graph layout algorithms and all aspects of a network’s visualisation can be changed to your liking. I can definitely recommend attending this summer school for the network component.

More information can be found on the website. Registration is open and limited to 60 people, so hurry!

Connected Past @ SAA 2013

February 11, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 12.06.10I have some big news! You might remember that last year we organised The Connected Past conference here in Southampton. The event was very well received and it seemed very timely given the increased interest in network approaches in archaeology and history. Some suggested we should build on this momentum to foster a wider community of scholars that could share and discuss network-related ideas at future events. Since then we have been busy setting up an international steering committee and planning future events and publications. I am now delighted to announce the second Connected Past event: a session at the Society for American Archaeologists conference (SAA) 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. I will chair this session together with Prof. Barbara Mills (University of Arizona), a member of The Connected Past international steering committee who also gave a great presentation about her research group’s network analysis work at last years Connected Past conference. Prof. Ian Hodder (Stanford University) will act as a discussant for the session. His recent book ‘Entangled’ discusses many approaches to relationships between people and material culture, and I am sure he will stimulate a critical discussion at the session.

The abstract of the SAA session can be found below, along with a full list of presenters. More information including all abstract of the presentations can be found on The Connected Past website and on the SAA2013 page of this blog. We are delighted that this list of presenters includes many scholars that were not able to attend last year’s event. The presentations range from practical archaeological case studies, to critical discussions of theoretical and methodological issues.

Session 57: Evening Thursday April 4 at SAA 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Download the full SAA programme here.

Chaired by Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton) and Barbara Mills (University of Arizona)

Discussant: Ian Hodder (Stanford University)

Mark Golitko and Gary Feinman
Herb Maschner, Jennifer Dunne and Spencer Wood
Ethan Cochrane
Shawn Graham
Barbara Mills, Matthew Peeples, Wm. R. Haas, Jr., Lewis Borck, and Jeffery Clark
Tom Brughmans, Simon Keay and Graeme Earl
Tim Kohler, Stefani Crabtree and Michael Berry
Angus Mol, Corinne Hofman and Menno Hoogland
Fiona Coward
Koji Mizoguchi

Session Abstract

Over the last decade the number of published archaeological applications of network methods and theories has increased significantly. This session will build on this increasing interest in networks among archaeologists by highlighting a number of research themes that deserve further exploration. Firstly, it aims to illustrate how particular archaeological research contexts can drive the selection and adaptation of formal network methods from the wide range of existing approaches, where possible through interdisciplinary collaboration. Secondly, papers in this session will address the role archaeological data can play in network methods, the decisions we are faced with when defining nodes and ties, and how our theoretical approaches can be expressed through formal methods incorporating empirical data. Thirdly, the session will address the compatibility of network theories and methods. Lastly, the potential of incorporating materiality within existing network approaches and the study of long-term network evolution will be discussed.

This session will address these themes through methodological or theoretical papers, and will further illustrate the potential of a networks perspective for archaeology in a number of innovative case-studies. It hopes to illustrate that approaches with an interdisciplinary scope but dominated by archaeological research contexts yield the most critical and useful archaeological network studies.

Archaeology in the scanner

February 7, 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 14.06.17Southampton made the news last week with some of our scanning work. It turns out we have a massive room-sized scanner (misleadingly called a MICRO-CT scanner) at our imaging centre. It is capable of scanning stuff with a resolution of less than 0.1mm and given its size it can do this for quite big objects. Our Archaeological Computing Research Group could not wait to get their hands on this new toy, and collaborated with the British Museum to scan a large cauldron excavated at Chiseldon. The cauldron itself is actually not excavated since it is too fragile. Instead, the archaeologists lifted the big find encased in its soil matrix to preserve it until technologies come along that can tell us more about this fragile find. It seems that this time has now come! With this scanner the archaeologists were able to explore the cauldron by looking through the earth layers without excavating it.

Have a look at the video and read the article on the BBC website.