CFP networks session Kiel conference

This session on networks will be of interest to readers of this blog. The call for papers is open now.

More information on the conference website.

Session 7: Mediterranean Connections – how the Sea links people and transforms identities

Session organizers: A. Rutter*, E. Loitzou, O. Nakoinz, F. Fulminante, L. Schmidt*, D. Möhlmann, L. Käppel, H. Klinkott

*corresponding chair, stu213017[at], lschmidt[at]

Keynote speaker: tba

Long-term research interest in the Mediterranean has produced a substantial body of data and concepts that make it a fascinating testing ground for new approaches on identity, alterity, and connectivity. For the inhabitants of the Mediterranean, the sea evidently influenced their lives and their thinking in a significant way. (Pre-)history, philology, and archaeology alike can trace the emergence of ancient perceptions of distance and connections as well as the movement of material, people, and ideas. Researchers of these professions have long been irritated by a tendency to define political or cultural entities spatially. The identification of collective identities as networked spheres of interest, however, allows us to progress towards an understanding of processes within the Mediterranean as a dynamic area of common cultures and conflicts. Shared mental maps and networks thus help to understand the collapse of powers, systems, and identities, the emergence of new ones, and the role of possibly persisting parts of a network in such processes.

With contributors from all disciplines dealing with connections, networks, and mental maps, whether they be archaeology, (pre-)history, philology, geography, and sociology, and also the natural sciences, we would like to discuss the following:

  • how the contact area of the Mediterranean influences the (self-)representation of peoples and individuals as well as the formation of identity and alterity
  • what role Mediterranean connections play in cultural, political, and ideological developments
  • how ancient writers and artists form and use Mediterranean connections
  • analyses of the emergence and transformations of connections within the Ancient Mediterranean
  • the conditions under which the physical environment determines the presence or absence of connections
  • how the concept of network layers contributes to an understanding of past events around the Mediterranean seascape
  • new theories and interpretations concerning the role of power, conflicts, and different communities that can be connected to the network approach
  • network modelling between simulations and empirical observations

We particularly invite contributions from a wide range of regions to include as many perspectives as possible from around the Mediterranean World.

The network aspects of this session links with the theoretical approaches of Complexity (Schlicht et al., Session 6), while connectivity and emergence of identity relate to Social Space (Grimm et al., Session 1) and Social Resilience (Yang et al., Session 11). They also form a backdrop to considerations of Territoriality (Schaefer-Di Maida et al., Session 8). The concept of mental maps is also reflected in Urban Knowledge (Chiarenza et al., Session 9).


Let’s do networks AND theory!

I sometimes get a bit annoyed that fellow archaeologists assume I don’t do theory because I use calculators. In fact, network science and all archaeological research is completely useless unless it is explicitly theoretically informed, and I have published this argument loads. Yet I notice that it is rather rare for the theories that archaeologists formulate about relationships to be explicitly recorded in their papers alongside their network analysis results.
So let’s try to change this: here’s a call to be explicit about our theoretical frameworks when doing archaeological network research. This is the topic of a session I co-chair with Paula Gheorghiade at the CAA in Krakow 2019.
Submit your abstract before the 10 October deadline!
We invite abstracts for our session on archaeological network research (S26) at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference, Kraków 23-27 April 2019.
Deadline 10 October.
Archaeological network research: formal network representation of archaeological theories
Paula Gheorghiade (Department of Art, University of Toronto)
Tom Brughmans (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford)
In this session we aim to discuss and encourage the explicit representation of archaeological theories as network data, and the explicit theoretical motivation of network science method selection.
Formal network science methods are increasingly commonly applied in archaeological research to study diverse aspects of past human behaviour. The vast majority of these applications concern the use of exploratory network analysis techniques to study the structure of a network representation of an archaeological dataset, which often lead to a better insight into the structure of the dataset, help identify issues or missing data, and highlight interesting or surprising data patterning.
Less common is the explicitly formulated theoretical motivation of exploratory network analysis tool selection. What tools are appropriate representations of my theorized assumptions? What tools violate my theoretical framework? Equally uncommon is the formal representation of archaeological theories (rather than archaeological data) as network data. What network data pattern do I expect to see as the outcome of a theorized process? What does a theorized past relational phenomenon look like in network terms?
Taking explicitly formulated theories rather than datasets as the starting point of archaeological network research is useful for a number of reasons. It forces the researcher to specify the theory that will enable its formal representation, and possibly improve or modify it through this process. It allows for understanding the behaviour and data predictions of a theory: in exploring the structure of the theorized relationships, the implications for processes taking place on theorized networks, and the evolution of theorized network structure. It facilitates the selection of appropriate network analytical tools that best express the theory or that are appropriate in light of the assumptions inherent in the theory. Finally, it allows for comparisons of data patterns simulated as the outcome of a theorized network process with archaeological observations, to evaluate the plausibility of the theory.
This session welcomes presentations on the following topics:
• Archaeological network research: applications, methods or theories
• Network representation of archaeological theories
• Testing archaeological theories with network science
• Using network configurations, motifs and graphlets for representing theories
• Exponential random graph modelling
• Agent-based network modelling
• Spatial network modelling

EAA people: sign up for our data clinic!

Are you attending EAA? Do you have some archaeological data? Not sure what to do with it? Need advice of computational methods and stats?

Sign up for our data clinic! These are one-on-one 30 minute meetings with a data specialist to advise you on how to apply computational methods to your data. Time-slots will be arranged that work for you, but have to take place on 6 or 7 September at the EAA venue. Interested? Read more below and on this flyer and make sure to email before midnight on 5 September!

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Archaeological Data Clinic. Personalised consulting to get the best of archaeological data.

We will set up meetings with an expert in data analysis / network science / agent-based modelling.

In the ideal world we would all have enough time to learn statistics, data analysis, R, several foreign and ancient languages and to read the complete works by Foucault. In reality, most researchers artfully walk the thin line between knowing enough and bluffing. The aim of this workshop is to streamline the process by pairing archaeologists with data and computer science specialists.

If you have a dataset and no idea what to do with it…
if you think PCA/least cost paths / network analysis / agent-based modelling is the way forward for your project but you don’t know how to get started…
If you need a second opinion to ensure that what you’ve already done makes sense…

…then this drop-in clinic is for you.

Let us know about your case by submitting the following information:

  • A few sentences project outline;
  • Type and amount of data;
  • Research question(s);
  • What type of analysis you’d like to perform? (if known).

We will set up a meeting with an expert in data analysis / network science / agent-based modelling. They will help you to query and wrangle your data, to analyse and visualise it and to guide you on the next steps. They may help you choose the right software or point you towards a study where similar problems have been solved. In a nutshell, they will save you a lot of time and frustration and make your research go further!


Dr. Luce Prignano (Spain) 1,2
Dr. Iza Romanowska (Spain) 3
Dr. Sergi Lozano (Spain) 4
Dr. Francesca Fulminante (United Kingdom) 5,6,7
Dr. Rob Witcher (United Kingdom) 6
Dr. Tom Brughmans (United Kingdom) 8
1. University of Barcelona
2. UBICS (Universitat de Barcelona Institute of Complex Systems)
3. BSC (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)
4. IPHES (Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social)
5. University Roma Tre
6. Durham University
7. Cambridge Univeristy
8. Oxford University

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