Call for papers CAA2015 in Siena

caaThe call for papers for the 2015 edition of the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference is now open. There are some great sessions and workshops planned, check out the program here.

I want to draw your attention to a number of sessions and workshops I’m involved in or that are of interest if you bothered reading this blog post until here 🙂 I want to invite everyone to consider submitting a paper or attending these! Full abstracts below.

Session 5H: Geographical and temporal network science in archaeology

Session 5L: Modelling large-scale human dispersals: data, pattern and process

Workshop 5: Introduction to exploratory network analysis for archaeologists using Visone

Workshop 8: First steps in agent-based modelling with Netlogo

Roundtable 5: Simulating the Past: Complex Systems Simulation in Archaeology

ABSTRACTS

Session 5H: Geographical and temporal network science in archaeology

Formal network techniques are becoming an increasingly common addition to the archaeologist’s methodological toolbox. Archaeologists have adopted these techniques mainly from the fields of social network analysis, physics and mathematics, where they have been developed and applied for decades. However, network science techniques for the analysis or visualisation of geographical and long-term temporal phenomena have seen far less development than those for social and technological phenomena. Conversely, archaeology has a long tradition of studying long-term change of socio-cultural systems and spatial phenomena, a research focus and tradition that is a direct consequence of the nature of archaeological data and our ambition to use it as proxy evidence for past human behaviour. We believe this spatial and temporal research focus so common in archaeology could inspire the development of innovative spatial and temporal network science techniques.

This session welcomes archaeological applications of formal network science techniques. It particularly encourages elaboration on the geographical and temporal aspects of applications. What are the implications of working on large time-scales for the use of network science techniques and the interpretation of their outputs? How can the study of long-term change of social systems inspire the development of innovative network science techniques? What advantages do geographical network approaches offer over other spatial analysis techniques in archaeology? How can the long tradition of studying spatial phenomena in archaeology inspire the development of innovative network science techniques?

Session 5L: Modelling large-scale human dispersals: data, pattern and process

Archaeology has largely moved forward from the simplistic ‘dots-on-the-map’ and ‘arrows-on-the-map’ approaches when it comes to studying large-scale human movements. Current models regarding spatio-temporal distribution and migration of humans often highlight the complex nature of such phenomena and the limitations that any particular data type impose on the reconstruction, be it environmental (paleoclimate, paleotopography, paleofauna and -flora), archaeological (site distribution, patterns in material culture) and other types of data (genetics, isotopes etc). Similarly the, often very coarse, resolution of the data coupled with the difficulty of integrating different types of information within one framework make the task of researching large-scale human dispersal challenging. Nevertheless, a number of recent applications employing different computational techniques show that this can be achieved. From the data acquisition, cataloguing and storing, to spatial analysis and identifying patterns and distributions in the data to building abstract and semi-realistic simulations of the processes behind the dispersals, computational techniques can aid the process of investigating human movement on various scales and allow researchers to tackle the underlying complexity of the studied systems moving the debate beyond simple intuitive models.

This session aims to summarise the recent progress in the topic, discuss major challenges and provide a base for establishing further directions of research. We invite contributions from researchers studying human movements on the meso- and macro-scale and employing any of the wide variety of techniques and theoretical frameworks within the following three themes:

DATA: spatio-temporal data acquisition and integration (for example, data types, quantifying uncertainty and biases of the data, large-scale databases, cross-platform integration);

PATTERN: spatio-temporal analysis and modelling (statistical modelling, GIS, C14 among others);

PROCESS: modelling of processes and mechanisms underpinning dispersal through simulation (agent-based and equation-based modelling, cellular automata, system-dynamics modelling, (social) network theory) and other techniques.

Workshop 5: Introduction to exploratory network analysis for archaeologists using Visone

Network science techniques offer archaeologists the ability to manage, visualise, and analyse network data. Within different archaeological research contexts, network data can be used to represent hypothesised past social networks, geographically embedded networks like roads and rivers, the similarity of site assemblages, and much more.

A large number of software programs is available to work with network data. Visone is one of them and offers a number of advantages:
• Free to use for research purposes
• A user-friendly interactive graphical user interface
• Innovative network visualisations
• Exporting publication-quality raster and vector files
• The incorporation of statistical modelling techniques

This workshop introduces the basics of network data management, visualisation and analysis with Visone through practical examples using archaeological research questions and datasets. The workshop is aimed at archaeologists with no required previous experience with network science.

Participants should bring a laptop with Visone installed (download Visone: http://visone.info/ )

Maximum 20 participants.

Workshop 8: First steps in agent-based modelling with Netlogo

Following on the success of the simulation workshops at CAA2012 in Perth and CAA2013 in Paris, we would like to continue the beginner course in NetLogo – an open-source platform for building agent-based models. NetLogo’s user-friendly interface, simple coding language and a vast library of model examples makes it an ideal starting point for entry-level modellers, as well as a useful prototyping tool for more experienced programmers. The first part of the workshop will be devoted to demonstrating the basics of modelling with NetLogo through a set of worked examples. This should give each participant enough skills and confidence to tackle the second exercise: building an archaeologically-inspired simulation in a small group. Finally, the last two hours will consist of a ‘drop-in’ clinic for anyone who would like to discuss their ideas for a simulation, needs help developing a model, or would like direction to further resources for modellers.

No prior knowledge of coding is required but we will ask the participants to bring their own laptop and install NetLogo beforehand: https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/

Roundtable 5: Simulating the Past: Complex Systems Simulation in Archaeology

In the last few years approaches commonly classified as computational modelling (agent-based and equation-based modelling, and other types of simulation etc.) are becoming increasingly common and popular among the archaeological computing community. Almost all research activity could be termed ‘modelling’ in some sense, for example, in archaeology we create conceptual models (hypotheses, typologies), spatial models (GIS), virtual models (3D reconstructions) or statistical models to name but a few. Most of them, however, investigate either the elements of the system (individual pots, skeletons, buildings etc.) or the pattern produced by the system elements (cultural similarities, settlement distribution, urban development etc.) and only theorize about the possible processes that led from the aggregated actions of individual actors to population-level patterns. In contrast, simulation allows us to approach such processes in a formal way and tackle some of the past complexities. It helps us to create ‘virtual labs’ in which we can test and contrast different hypotheses, find irregularities in the data or identify new factors which we would not suspect of having a significant impact on the system. In short, complexity science techniques have great potential for diverse applications in archaeology and may become a driving force for formalisation of descriptive models for the whole discipline.

The aim of this roundtable is to discuss the potential and challenges of complex systems simulation, including but not restricted to:
the epistemology of computational modelling (what it can and cannot do);
data integration and its use for model validation;
system formalisation and the role of domain specialists;
replicability and reuse of code;
lessons learnt from other disciplines commonly using simulation (ecology, social science, economics etc.)
communication between modellers and the wider archaeological public;
further directions of research.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to propose the creation of a new Special Interest Group (SIG) under the auspices of CAA (named: ‘CAA Complex Systems Simulation SIG’), and to discuss a preliminary plan of the proposed activities of the SIG and an outline of how the SIG is to be organised.

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