Special networky issue Archaeological Review Cambridge

April 29, 2014

arcNetworks are so hot right now in archaeology! I know of three archaeological journals publishing special issues on the topic very soon (will reveal this to you in later posts). Archaeological Review of Cambridge is the first of these to appear with a special issue titled ‘Social Network Perspectives in Archaeology’, edited by Kathrin Felder and Sarah Evans. The issue includes an editorial, a number of interesting papers, a reflective piece by Carl Knappett and some book reviews. I also published a paper in it titled ‘The roots and shoots of archaeological network analysis: A citation analysis and review of the archaeological use of formal network methods’. I will be introducing some pieces of this paper in future posts. For now, here is the contents of the special issue:

Social Network Perspectives in Archaeology
Issue 29.1, April 2014

Theme Editors: Sarah Evans and Kathrin Felder

Making the connection: Changing perspectives on social networks
Sarah Evans and Kathrin Felder

The roots and shoots of archaeological network analysis: A citation analysis and review of the archaeological use of formal network methods
Tom Brughmans

Population genetics and the investigation of past human interactions
Hayley Dunn

Eruptions and ruptures — a social network perspective on vulnerability and impact of the Laacher See eruption (c. 13,000 BP) on Late Glacial hunter-gatherers in northern Europe
Felix Riede

Expanding social networks through ritual deposition: A case study from the Lower Mississippi Valley
Erin Nelson and Megan Kassabaum

‘Extending the self ’ through material culture: Private letters and personal relationships in second-century AD Egypt
Jo Stoner

Play-things and the origins of online networks: Virtual material culture in multiplayer games
Angus Mol

The network approach: Tool or paradigm?
Francesca Fulminante

What are social network perspectives in archaeology?
Carl Knappett

Book Reviews
Edited by Mat Dalton

Computational Approaches to Archaeological Spaces
Edited by Andrew Bevan and Mark Lake Beaudry and Travis G. Parno
Reviewed by Peter Alfano

Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East
By Ömür Harmanşah
Reviewed by Georgia Marina Andreou

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial
Edited by Sarah Tarlow and Liv Nilsson Stutz
Reviewed by Michaela Binder

Network Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction
Edited by Carl Knappett
Reviewed by Beatrijs G. de Groot

The Origins and Spread of Domestic Animals in Southwest Asia and Europe
Edited by Sue Colledge, James Connolly, Keith Dobney, Katie Manning and Stephen Shennan
Reviewed by Sarah Elliott

The Archaeology of Kinship
By Bradley E. Ensor
Reviewed by Philipp Y. Kao

Matters of Scale: Processes and Courses of Events in the Past and the Present
Edited by Nanouschka M. Burström and Fredrik Fahlander
Reviewed by Hannah L. McBeth

Cultural Heritage and the Challenge of Sustainability
By Diane Barthel-Bouchier
Reviewed by Belinda C. Mollard

The 48th IIPP Annual Conference on the Veneto Region, held in Padua on 5–9 November 2013
Reviewed by Elisa Perego

Humans and the Environment: New Archaeological Perspectives for the Twenty-first Century
Edited by Matthew I.J. Davies and Freda Nkirote M’Mbogori
Reviewed by Rachel Swallow

Breaking scientific networks

April 16, 2014

scientificnetsAn interesting conference next week (with a catchy title!): Breaking scientific networks. Every academic should probably be interested in this 🙂

All are invited to an upcoming conference – “Breaking Scientific Networks” – to be held next week at UC Davis.

What happens when scientific collaborations fall apart? What causes networks to falter? How resilient are they in the face of outside interference, internal strife, or major geopolitical disruption? In this one-day conference, we will look at the long history of networks, from the early modern period to the present day. Join us for the discussion – all are welcome!

Here are the details:
When: April 25th, 2014. Breakfast at 9:30am; talks and discussion from 10:00am to 6:45pm.

Where: The Center for Science and Innovation Studies at the University of California, Davis. All events will be in the Social Sciences & Humanities Building, room 1246.

Who: The conference is organized by Dániel Margócsy (Hunter College, CUNY) and William Rankin (Yale University).

Presenters include:
Paula Findlen (Stanford)
Andrew Lakoff (USC)
Dániel Margócsy (Hunter College, CUNY)
Elidor Mëhilli (Hunter College, CUNY)
Joanna Radin (Yale)
William Rankin (Yale)
Matthew Sargent (Caltech)
Lindsay Smith (University of New Mexico)
Sharon Traweek (UCLA)

Comments from Mario Biagioli, Allison Fish, and Hélène Mialet (all UC Davis).

For more information, please see http://www.breakingscientificnetworks.info
For access to the pre-circulated papers, please contact margocsy@gmail.com or william.rankin@yale.edu

Please spread the word!

Bill Rankin and Dániel Margócsy

Madness part 2: processes of emerging inter-visibility

April 14, 2014

The second post in the madness series, describing the run-up to my PhD submission! Last time I wrote about why visibility networks might be an interesting method in archaeology. There was a hidden agenda in that post however: I am not just interested in visualising a visibility network, that has been done before by many archaeologists. My main interest is in understanding the decisions that went into the establishment of lines of sight. That is, the processes that led to the visibility network I study. This might sound rather ambitious, since many factors influenced the selection of the settlement locations I study in my PhD, and visibility networks are merely one factor derived from our limited knowledge of past settlement patterns. However, I argue it is necessary to understand such processes. Mainly because when archaeologists formulate assumptions about how lines of sight affected past human behaviour, these assumptions imply a sequence of events rather than a static state. Therefore, a method is needed that allows one to test the assumed processes, and I have some ideas on how to go about this 🙂

Visibility network between  Iron Age and Roman settlement in Southern Spain

Visibility network between Iron Age and Roman settlements in Southern Spain

Network representations of archaeological data are often used as static snapshots conflating an ever-changing dynamic past. By performing an exploratory network analysis we get an idea of their structure during a given period of time. Such an approach can be considered a type of exploratory data analysis. However, archaeologists use these data networks as representations of past phenomena. It is these past phenomena that archaeologists are ultimately interested in understanding, and most of past phenomena were not static but involved change through time. It is entirely plausible that at an earlier or later stage in time a given network would have had a different structure.

A commonly used technique for archaeologists to overcome this problem is to formulate theoretical assumptions about how the emergence or disappearance of a relationship between pairs of nodes in their data networks affected the change of past networks over time (from here-on referred to as dependence assumptions). Such dependence assumptions are frequently accompanied by (explicitly formulated or implied) expectations of the kinds of network patterns they give rise to. In other words, archaeologists frequently make theoretical statements about dynamic processes that cause change in past phenomena, and how these are represented in networks of archaeological data. Nevertheless, we rarely evaluate whether processes guided by our dependence assumptions can actually give rise to the networks we study, nor do we consider the effect multiple dependence assumptions can have on each other in such processes. Instead, archaeological network analysts have relied on the identification of the expected patterns in an observed network’s static structure when discussing the social processes that caused a network to change from one state to another.

The study of visibility networks in archaeology serves as a particularly good example of this problem. Archaeologists have used visibility networks as a method for studying the role particular visibility network patterns could have in structuring past human behaviour, for example through communication networks using fire or smoke signalling, or the visual control settlements exercise over surrounding settlements. Formulating dependence assumptions for visibility networks implies a sequence of events where new lines of sight will be established as a reaction to pre-existing lines of sight. For example, if we observe that a settlement is positioned in a visually prominent location from where many other settlements can be seen then we might formulate the hypothesis that this location was intentionally selected to enhance communication with or visual control over neighbouring settlements. A further example: if an effective signalling network was considered during settlement location selection then settlement locations inter-visible with other settlements would have been preferred. However, archaeological network analysts have so far studied these processes exclusively through an analysis of static network representations. By pointing out the patterns of interest, an exploratory network analysis can only take us so far to evaluate our dependence assumptions, leaving hypotheses surrounding the intentional creation of visibility patterns untested. A good example of this is Tilley’s (1994) study of a network of inter-visibility between barrows on Cranborne Chase, in which an observed network pattern is interpreted as the intentionally established outcome of an untested process: “One explanation for this pattern might be that sites that were particularly important in the prehistoric landscape and highly visible ‘attracted’ other barrows through time, and sites built later elsewhere were deliberately sited so as to be intervisible with one or more other barrows. In this manner the construction of barrows on Cranborne Chase gradually created a series of visual pathways and nodal points in the landscape” (Tilley 1994, 159).

Very few visibility studies have explored hypotheses about such processes explicitly (see Swanson 2003 for a notable exception). In my case study, however, the decisions to establish certain patterns of visibility among urban settlements are the focus of attention. Most crucially, I will try to evaluate to what degree this changed through time. The approach taken here is experimental. It will initially focus exclusively on the patterns of inter-visibility between settlements, exploring their observed structure as a static snapshot, and then addressing the following hypothetical question: if the visibility patterning that we have observed was the only reason for selecting the locations of sites, what then would be the process that is most likely to have led to the observed patterning? This question will be evaluated through a statistical approach that models the creation of visibility patterns in abstract space (i.e. by simulating the creation of points and lines without taking the landscape’s topography into account as a constraint). Finally, the results of this exploratory network analysis and statistical simulation approach will be re-contextualised within a wider archaeological discussion to shed light on aspects of the changing interactions between urban settlements in the study area through time, as reflected through visibility patterns.

Next time I will introduce the archaeology of this study area and show you some actual results 🙂

As always, I very much welcome your comments. They are very valuable to me in these last stages of my PhD.

Swanson, S. (2003). Documenting prehistoric communication networks: A case study in the Paquimé polity. American antiquity, 68(4), 753–767.

Registration: Telling stories with maps

April 10, 2014

Hestia_logo_whtTime for the third in the series of Hestia2 conferences! After great meetings in Southampton and Stanford we now move to Birmingham for ‘Telling stories with maps: the geoweb, qualitative GIS and narrative mapping’. The prgramme is included below. You can register for this meeting via eventbrite.

Telling stories with maps: the geoweb, qualitative GIS and narrative mapping
Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham, 30 April 2014

Free registration is now open <http://tinyurl.com/ptdogvz> for this one-day workshop, organized as part of the HESTIA 2 initiative – a public engagement project based on the spatial reading and visualizing of texts. This workshop will examine the role of GIS as a tool for mapping texts of different kinds.

As Caquard (2013, 135) has noted, there has been considerable interest in ‘the relationship between maps and narratives’, especially in the context of the spatial turn among literary and film scholars.  In many ways this field is being driven by technological innovation, particularly the rise of easy-to-use online mapping tools developed by companies like Google to exploit location-based data; everyone can now map their story.  Nonetheless, the standard critique of GIS is that it replicates a Cartesian, positivist conception of the world through allocating geospatial coordinates to objects.  This brings the temptation to ignore a technology closely associated with domination and control, to see mapping purely as metaphor rather than geospatial ‘grid’.  Geographers, particularly those working in critical and qualitative GIS (e.g. Cope and Elwood 2009) have dissected this critique and highlight the analytical potential of GIS for those interested in qualitative data.  Just what does it mean then, to use geospatial technologies to map people’s stories?

The event runs from 10.30-16.30 (with coffee and registration from 10.00) and includes a free lunch.
Register now at Eventbrite http://tinyurl.com/ptdogvz

There are a small number of UK travel bursaries available for postgraduate students – email p.i.jones@bham.ac.uk to apply.

We have an exciting international and interdisciplinary line up of speakers, including:

Vanesa Castán Broto (UCL)
‘Mapping stories, urban energy’

Nela Milic (Goldsmiths)
‘Belgrade log BG:LOG’

Agnieszka Leszczynski (University of Birmingham) and Sarah Elwood (University of Washington)
‘Telling stories with new spatial media’

Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (NUI Galway)
‘Challenging the Narrative of International Law through GIS: limits and opportunities’

Miranda Anderson  & James Loxley (University of Edinburgh)
‘Mapping the Factual and the Counterfactual’

Pietro Liuzzo (University of Heidelberg) and Francesco Mambrini (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut)
‘Storytelling and geographical data in EAGLE’

Ian Gregory, Chris Donaldson (Lancaster University) and Patricia Murrieta-Flores (University of Chester)
‘Exploring Lake District writing using GIS’

Akiyoshi Suzuki (Nagasaki University)
‘A Good Map is Worth a Thousand Words: 3-D Topographic Narrative of Haruki Murakami’

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira (University of Chicago)
‘Robert Jordan’s nearest neighbor: A “For Whom the Bell Tolls” GIS’

Øyvind Eide (University of Passau)
‘Narratives of maps and texts. The role of media differences and stepwise formalisation’

For more information contact:
Phil Jones (p.i.jones@bham.ac.uk)
Stefan Bouzarovski (stefan.bouzarovski@manchester.ac.uk)

CFP Historical Network Research Conference 2014

April 3, 2014

hnrThe Historical Network Research team has been organising workshops for years. In September 2013 they hosted a great conference in Hamburg, and now it’s time for the sequel in September 2014 in Ghent. The team follows its usual recipe of hands-on workshops, keynotes and talks. The keynotes include Claire Lemercier (Paris Sciences-Po) and Emily Erikson (Yale University). I can only recommend sending in an abstract and/or attending. More info below or on the website.

Abstract submission deadline 10 May 2014

Historical Network Research Conference 2014

Ghent University, Belgium, 15-19 September.
This conference follows up the Future of Historical Network Research (HNR) Conference 2013 and aims to bring together scholars from all historical disciplines, sociologists, other social scientists, geographers and computer scientists to discuss the emerging field of historical Social Network Analysis. The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are no longer merely used as metaphors but are increasingly applied in practice. With the increasing availability of both structured and unstructured digital data, we should be able to analyze complex phenomena. Historical SNA can help us to cope with the organization of this information and the reduction of complexity.
We invite papers from ancient to contemporary history, which integrate social network analysis methods and historical research methods and reflect on the added value of their methodologies. Since most historical data is unstructured, we seek innovative ways to derive, mine or prepare this kind of data (historical and literary texts, images, …) for SNA. Social scientists or computer scientists working with historical sources or longitudinal perspectives are also welcome. Topics could cover (but are not limited to) the following strands:
The spatial dimensions of networks; the role of transport in social interaction, on spatial distance and compensation by alternative proximities, and on the use of spatial analytical techniques in quantitative network analysis.
Relational approaches towards collective action; for instance transnational or global (social) movements, dynamics of contention, etc.
The history of science and knowledge circulation; including the dynamics of citation networks, policy networks, discipline formation and relational approaches towards scientific and intellectual movements
History of elites; for instance the meaning of kinship, political elites and policy networks, (trans)national elite formation, global elites, cultural elites and consumption, etc.
The role and organization of historical economic networks established by economic actors in the broadest sense, including networks of individual entrepreneurs, business elites, cities and states. We invite case studies of domestic networks, long-distance trade networks, networks created by migration, patronage networks etc.
Use and abuse of distant reading practices and the promises of ‘big data’ in literary and cultural history
Historical networks and theory: assessments of the theoretical and historiographical foundations of social network analysis in historical and sociological research: a relational turn, paradigm or a method?

Confirmed keynotes: Claire Lemercier (Sciences Po, Paris) and Emily Erikson (Yale University)

To propose a paper, panel, or poster, please email hnr2014@ugent.be by May 10, 2014. Proposals should take the form of a 250-words abstract accompanied by a short CV; in the case of complete panels, proposals should consist of an abstract and short CV for every panelist together with a short CV for the chair (if different). The conference is free for presenters. The admission fee for other participants is 35 Euro/day without dinner.

Pre-conference workshops:
A general introduction in SNA: the main concepts and the basic techniques of social network analysis
NodeXL (Marten Düring, UNC Chapel Hill)
How to prepare or extract data for a network analysis: a general introduction (Mark Depauw with Yanne Broux or Silke Van Beselaere, Leuven University)
Cleaning up messy data and a practical introduction to Named-Entity Recognition for historical research using Open Refine (Seth Van Hooland and Simon Hengchen)
Data modeling and network visualizations in Gephi (Clement Levallois, EMLYON Business School)
Social network analysis using UCINET (Bruce Cronin, University of Greenwich and Elisa Belotti, University of Manchester)
The Science of Science (Sci2) Tool (tbc)

The workshops will seek to provide as much practical skills and knowledge as possible. The fee for participation in the workshops is 75 EUR/day. We take registrations on a first come first serve basis, so if you are planning to (or thinking about) attending, it is best to register early. As from April 15 you can find more information regarding the workshops and registration details on our website (LINK). More info: hnr2014@ugent.be
Conference locations: Ghent University (workshops) and Ghent City Museum (http://www.stamgent.be/en, conference).

Provisional Programme:

Monday 15 Tuesday 16 -Workshops Wednesday 17 – Workshops Thursday 18 – Workshops Friday 19 – Workshops
– Data preparation- SNA – Node XL – Gephi 2- UCINET 2- Sci2 1 Conference Conference
– Gephi 1- UCINET 1- Open Refine / NER – Gephi 3- UCINET 3- Sci2 2 Conference Conference
Evening Registration
Public lecture reception Conference dinner

Organizing committee
Hans Blomme (Department of History, Ghent University)
Dr. Wim Broeckaert (Department of History, Ghent University)
Fien Danniau (Department of History, Ghent University)
Dr. Karen De Coene (Department of Geography, Ghent University)
Dr. Marloes Deene (Department of History, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Mark Depauw (Department of Ancient History, University of Leuven)
Dr. Thorsten Ries (Ghent Center for Digital Humanities)
Prof. dr. Seth Van Hooland (Information and Communication Science department, Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Prof. dr. Ronan Van Rossem (Department of Sociology, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Christophe Verbruggen (Department of History, Ghent University)

Scientific committee; organizing committee +
Prof. dr. Philippe De Maeyer (Department of Geography Ghent University)
Dr. Tom De Smedt (Clips, University of Antwerp)
Dr. Marten Düring (UNC Chapel Hill)
Dr. Ulrich Eumann (Center for the Documentation of National Socialism, Cologne)
Prof. dr. Claire Lemercier (SciencesPo, CNRS, Paris)
Linda Keyserlingk (Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden)
Florian Kerschbaumer (Universität Klagenfurt, Österreich)
Dr. Martin Stark (University of Hamburg)
Dr. Lieve Van Hoof (Department of History, Ghent University)
Prof. dr. Raf Vanderstraeten (Department of Sociology, Ghent University)