Love sampling, stats and networks? (really?) Present at our CAA 2017 session in Atlanta!

September 26, 2016

caaThe CAA call for papers and posters is now open until 28 October! The full list of sessions is published here. Among them you will notice a most awesomely appealing title: “Archaeological Networks: Uncertainty, Missing Data, and Statistical Inference”. Fancy nerding out on networks, stats and sampling? Then present a paper in the session Matt Peeples and myself will chair.

Archaeological Networks: Uncertainty, Missing Data, and Statistical Inference

Empirical studies of networks based on archaeological data are on a rapid rise. So far, the adoption of network methods from other fields has outpaced the development of new techniques and heuristics for dealing with the sometimes peculiar qualities of archaeological network data. Key among the issues faced by archaeologists interested in using networks are the impact of uncertainty and missing data on the properties of the networks we generate. We often must build networks based on an incomplete universe of nodes (because our units of analysis lack current archaeological information or have been destroyed) as well as incomplete information about the nodes we do have (due to sampling issues, different recording conventions, etc.). Further, we often have no consistent way to estimate how much information we are missing. The prevalence of such known unknowns and unknown unknowns suggest that we must carefully temper inferences drawn from networks defined using archaeological data. Importantly, all hope is not lost and these challenges are not unique to archaeology or network data alone. In this session, we ask contributors to explore the potential impact of missing data on empirical archaeological networks and/or test tools and approaches for identifying robust patterns in archaeological networks despite such challenges. Approaches may include, for example, the use of probabilistic estimates and sensitivity analysis already popular in many other areas of archaeological statistical analysis such as seriation or methods specific to network data drawing on the large body of research focused on estimating the shape and properties of so called “dark” networks (common in studies of covert organizations, epidemiology, and infectious disease). In addition, this session welcomes archaeological applications of network methods in general.

13 PhD positions in Digital History, Luxembourg

September 8, 2016

These positions might be of interest for those wishing to do (archaeological) historical network research. Deadline 1 October 2016!

Details here.

The Historical Institute / Center for Contemporary and Digital History University of Luxembourg has obtained a large grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg in the framework of the so-called PRIDE-program, enabling the creation of a Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) and opens up to
13 positions for PhD students (Doctoral candidates) in the field of digital history and hermeneutics (m/f)

  •  Ref: R-STR-3067-00-B
  • Starting date: 15th January 2017
  • Duration: 14-months initial contract, extendable up to 3 years, further extendable by 1 year if required, 40 hours/week
  • Doctoral student status at Luxembourg University
  • Deadline for applications: 1st October 2016
Your Role
  • This DTU aims at creating an experimental trading zone for the reflection on the epistemological and methodological challenges of doing digital history / humanities research in an interdisciplinary setting. All PhD students will have to conduct their research within the conceptual framework of the DTU. Participation in the collectively organized skills trainings on digital literacy as well as active participation in the planning and organization of thematic workshops of the DTU will be required. For a detailed description of the DTU and the thematic axes see:
  • Presentation of research findings at workshops and conferences
  • Publication of papers / scientific articles in peer-reviewed international journals
  • Possibility of participating in teaching activities (seminars)
Your Profile
  • Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in a Humanities discipline (History, Philosophy, Sociology, Linguistics, Archaeology) or related disciplines such as Geography; or in Computer Sciences, Data and Information Science, Human-Computer-Interaction and Psychology. It is possible to apply if the respective degree is to be obtained soon (details to be given in the application
  • Good command of written and spoken English
  • Dedication to actively participate in the interdisciplinary framework of the DTU
  • Willingness to integrate in the “experimental space” of the DTU
We offer
  •  The University of Luxembourg offers a dynamic environment with a large number of ongoing scientific activities (English as working language; additionally, French and German are accepted as literary languages for the writing of the PhD thesis) and a cutting edge digital research infrastructur
  • Financial support (travel allowances) for participating in scientific activities (workshops, conferences, summer schools, etc.
  • Attractive salary and employment contract including social insurance contribution
  • Enrolment in the doctoral school of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) or of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) with an interesting offer of various disciplinary or interdisciplinary courses and transferable skills trainings
Further Information

PhD Advisors and Research Areas
• Ass.-Prof. Andrea Binsfeld: ancient history, slave history, roman archaeology
• Prof. Pascal Bouvry; computer science, heuristics of search, search optimization, parallel computing
• Ass.-Prof. Geoffrey Caruso: geovisualisation, spatial data mining, GIS, urban analysis
• Prof. Andreas Fickers: digital history, historical epistemology, history of media and technology
• Prof. Peter Gilles: linguistics, corpus linguistics, digital humanities, Luxembourg studies
• Prof. Frank Hofmann: philosophy, epistemology, theories of cognition, knowledge and rationality
• Dr. Vincent Koenig: human-computer interaction, cognitive ergonomics
• Ass.-Prof. Benoît Majerus: European history, war studies, medical history, memory studies
• Prof. Michel Margue: historiography, memory studies, medieval history, historical hermeneutics
• Ass.-Prof. Christoph Schommer: data mining, data science, information retrieval, text mining
• Ass.-Prof. Denis Scuto: contemporary history of Luxembourg, migration history, historical didactics
• Prof. Leon van der Torre: arcificial intelligence, knowledge representation, deontic/legal reasoning, argumentation, NLP
• Dr. Martin Uhrmacher: urban history, regional history, historical cartography, medical history

Further Information

Application Documents

Letter of motivation containing compulsorily

  • an explanation of the motives for participating in the DTU and of expected learning outcomes and career perspectives
  • a sketch of a research project (2 pages max) that fits into at least one of the thematic axes developed in the DTU proposal
  • an argued preference for a main supervisor out of the list of PhD advisors listed above

Full CV

Transcript of academic records and copies of diplomas

Names of at least two references who are willing to write a letter of recommendation on the candidate’s behalf (they may be contacted by us)


  • 11 of the 13 positions are funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg in the PRIDE scheme. 2 PhD positions are funded by the University.
  • General questions concerning the structure, intellectual agenda and organization of the DTU should be addressed to the DTU coordinator Prof. Andreas Fickers:
  • Administrative questions shall be addressed to
  • Scientific questions should be addressed directly to the corresponding potential PhD advisor

All applications must be submitted online. Deadline: 1st of October 2016.

The University of Luxembourg is an equal opportunity employer and applications by women are especially encouraged

Postdoc position: six degrees of Francis Bacon

September 6, 2016

This DH postdoc on a network project might be of interest to some reading this blog. More details here.

Deadline 15 September!

Seeking A Postdoctoral Fellow

Thanks to a recent Digital Humanities Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of English seeks a one-year Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate to lead day-to-day programming and data curation activities for Six Degrees of Francis Bacon. Six Degrees of Francis Bacon is a digital reconstruction of the early modern social network that scholars and students can collaboratively expand, revise, curate, and critique. The successful candidate will likely have a PhD in History, English, Library and Information Science, or a related discipline with demonstrated experience in web development or digital humanities.

The fellow will be housed in the Department of English in the Dietrich College of Arts and Social Sciences and work with Associate Professor Christopher Warren, Principal Investigator of the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project. Day-to-day work will involve a disciplinarily diverse and geographically disparate team of Six Degrees collaborators, including literary historians, historians of science, librarians, statisticians, and web developers.

Job Duties

The fellow will leverage expertise in a humanities discipline and a strong technical aptitude to help fulfill five priorities of the NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant:

• Enriching project data.

• Enhancing user experience.

• Integrating with other digital resources.

• Identifying and partnering with an institutional home for long-term preservation.

• Packaging and distributing website code so that scholars can create similar networks for different eras and regions.

Required Knowledge and Skills

• Ph.D. or ABD in a relevant subfield of a humanities discipline or Library and Information Sciences.

• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and successfully in a team-based environment.

• Demonstrated willingness to learn technical programming and data curation skills.

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Preferred Knowledge and Skills

• Experience with modern web development, system administration, databases, or programming languages relevant to the project, including R, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, or Python.

• Demonstrated experience in project management and/or digital humanities research.

• Ph.D. in a relevant subfield of the humanities.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, a CV with links to current/past digital projects, and contact information for three references at

Review of applications will begin September 16, 2016 with Google Hangout interviews likely beginning in October.

More Information:

Please visit “Why Carnegie Mellon” to learn more about becoming part of an institution inspiring innovations that change the world.

A listing of employee benefits is available at:

Salary: $60,000

Finding the limits of the Limes: call for papers

September 2, 2016

limesRomans and networks: it’s my thing! So it should not come as a surprise that I recommend presenting at the conference ‘Finding the limits of the Limes‘. It’s the final conference of a project at VU Amsterdam led by Philip Verhagen. The conference has an entire session on network approaches in which I will present an overview. Aside from networks, the conference welcomes other modelling approaches applied to Roman archaeology. So do consider submitting an abstract!

When? 26-27 January 2017

Where? VU Amsterdam

Deadline call for papers: 1 October 2016

Details on the website and below.

On 26 and 27 January 2017, we will organize a conference at VU University Amsterdam to present and discuss the results of our project.

During the conference, we want to focus on four major topics: subsistence economy, demography, transport and mobility, and socio-economic networks in the Roman period. We invite scholars working on these issues to submit a paper in one of the sessions mentioned below.

Please send a title and abstract of max. 300 words to dr. Philip Verhagen ( before 1 October 2016. Paper presenters will be given the opportunity to publish in the project’s final publication.

Hoping to see you in Amsterdam!

Philip Verhagen
Jamie Joyce
Mark Groenhuijzen

SESSSION 1: Modelling the agricultural economy in the Roman world

The necessity of the agricultural economy in the Roman world is undoubted. Most of the population in the Roman world engaged in agriculture- peasants balancing on the edge between famine and sufficiency, obliged not only to support their households but also to supply the state with supplies and manpower. Yet, the adage that our understanding of the classical world is formed largely from the ancient elites is still pertinent. The peasant in the classical world remains largely invisible and so too the economy and subsistence of the vast majority of the inhabitants in the Roman world. Furthermore, whilst we have a broad knowledge of the rural economy in the Roman world such as diet, farming practices and technology, and quantification of agricultural output, we are still missing more detailed understanding in variations across the empire on different scales.

The Finding the Limits of the Limes project has focused on the rural native economy of the Dutch Roman limes zone which was characterised by a mixed agricultural economy in a highly militarised frontier zone. In addition, the project has researched non-food producing activities namely fuel and wood management. We have utilized an agent-based modelling approach to simulate different strategies within the mixed agricultural economy of the region, with a particular interest in interactions between the different activities and the limits on surplus production presented by land and labour costs for these different approaches to agriculture. Furthermore, we have simulated the rural economy over different geographic and temporal scales: from the pre-Roman Iron Age to the Middle Roman Period, from the household to the micro-region.

To complement and contrast with our research in the Dutch Roman limes zone, we invite contributions concerning the rural economy in the Roman world. In particular, we seek papers concerning:

  • Defining the limits of agricultural production within the rural economy (such as animal husbandry, arable farming, and fuel-management) in the northern Roman provinces.
  • Multidisciplinary approaches for the understanding of agriculture in the Roman world incorporating, where applicable, traditional archaeological methods, environmental archaeology and computational modelling.
  • The interactions between consumers and native producers in the Roman world, particularly the supply to and demand from the Roman military

SESSION 2: Modelling demography in the Roman Empire

Demographic studies of the Roman Empire have a long history, but are severely hampered by a lack of reliable written sources. In the absence of such sources, archaeologists routinely rely on survey and excavation data to estimate population densities, but these only provide limited understanding of the underlying principles of human population dynamics that would allow us to confidently predict the size and composition of (parts of) the Roman population. Nevertheless, knowledge of historic population dynamics is extremely important for a better understanding of all kinds of socio-economic issues. In our project, we have used demographic estimates to better understand the potential of the study region for agricultural surplus production: was there sufficient labour force available, and did the forced recruitment of soldiers pose significant problems to the local population? For this, we relied on dynamical models of human reproduction, and confronted the model results with archaeological data and historical evidence.

In this session, we invite papers that apply modelling approaches to demographic questions in order to investigate socio-economic issues, such as the production capacity of the countryside, population growth and settlement pattern development, the impact of mortality crises on economic production and military power, or the influence of birth and marriage control strategies on available workforce. We also invite papers dealing with the problems of building reliable and usable demographic models, including their sensitivity to changes in input parameters, the choice of an appropriate temporal and spatial scale, and the problems of testing the outcomes.

SESSION 3: Modelling transport and mobility in the Roman period

Research on transport and mobility in the Roman period has largely focussed on interactions on regional to empire-wide scales. In contrast, we know very little about local-scale movements, which is at least partly the result of a relative lack of archaeological and historical material to work with. The use of spatial modelling techniques has become common to bridge the gap between theoretical notions of short- to medium-distance mobility and the lack of evidence for it. In this session we want to focus on the practical and theoretical implications of using modelling approaches to better understand transport and mobility on the local to regional scales. We specifically invite papers that deal with new approaches to modelling transport or mobility, papers that link transport models to economic models, and papers that discuss the archaeological, anthropological, physiological and/or (socio-)economic theoretical foundations of modelling transport and mobility.

SESSION 4: Networks and the socio-economic structure of the Roman period

Interactions between people are at the core of archaeological research on the cultural landscape and socio-economic structure within the Dutch limes zone. To identify patterns in relationships between archaeological data, network analysis has become an increasingly used tool. In this session we aim to explore how we can better understand the functioning of the economy, transport, and specifically the spatial and economic relations between people, by applying concepts of network science and formal network analysis techniques. We are especially interested in papers that apply network analysis to address these topics in an innovative way, papers that link network models to (socio-)economic concepts, and papers that discuss the theoretical implications and limitations of both the techniques and the data.