Job: funded PhD digital classics Lausanne

The below job will be of interest to readers of this blog.

Via Matteo Romanello:

The DHLAB at EPFL in association with the Institut d’archéologie et des sciences de l’antiquité of the University of Lausanne invites applications for one full-time, fully-funded PhD position within the EPFL PhD program in Digital Humanities, working at the intersection between Computer Science and Classics. 
The successful candidate will develop their own research project around the following topics: semantic information extraction by combining text-based and image-based methods; alignment and document analysis of scholarly publications (19c – 21c) characterised by complex layouts and rich visual grammars; and the development of a representation model for texts with a complex textual tradition. 
The PhD thesis will be part of the research project “How does a classical hero die in the digital age? Using Sophocles’ Ajax to create a commentary on commentaries”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and led by Matteo Romanello (University of Lausanne).
  • Applicants should hold a master’s degree in Computer Science or Digital Humanities.
  • Experience with natural language processing/information extraction (including machine learning approaches to it) is mandatory. Some familiarity with textual criticism is desirable. PhD candidates will further develop their analytical and methodological skills by attending the EDDH doctoral school.
  • Fluent English; French and/or Ancient Greek/Latin is an asset. The dissertation can be written in English or French.
  • Interest in working in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and international environment.
  • Candidates of all nationalities are invited to apply; applications from women are especially welcome.
What we offer:
  • workplace: EPFL/UNIL campus
Starting date: 1st October 2020
Duration: 4 years
Supervisors: Matteo Romanello (UNIL) and Frederic Kaplan (EPFL)
Terms of employment: Fixed-term at 100% work rate. EPFL offers internationally competitive salaries and generous research support.
Deadline for applications: April 30, 2020
Contact: For questions and/or expressions of interest, contact Matteo Romanello
How to apply: via EPFL doctoral school online application (please note that only completed applications will be reviewed). For further information about applying for a PhD at EPFL see PhD admission criteria & application.

LAC session Unravelling entangled pathways

This session at the Landscape Archaeology Conference (2-5 June in Madrid) sounds great and will be of interest to readers of this blog.

Deadline 14 February!

Via Laure Nuninger:

We are pleased to invite you to participate in the session: #027 Unravelling entangled pathways. Debating new approaches to study the interaction of past movement and settlement systems, which will be held at the LAC2020 conference in Madrid (ES), 2-5 June 2020. 
How does it work? 
This is an open session with a slightly different format. The session will be introduced by a keynote contribution. This keynote contribution will be pre-circulated to the presenters a month before the conference in order to share the concepts and approaches that we intend to discuss. The contributors to the session are expected to reflect upon this in their own presentations, in order to support a shared and open discussion at the end of the session. 
How to participate 
Please send us an e-mail, and submit your contribution electronically via the online submission system (LAC) by the given deadline of February 14th, 2020.
Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have!
Best regards
The organisers: Laure Nuninger,  Rachel Opitz, César Parcero-Oubiña, Thibault Saintenoy, and Philip Verhagen
#027 Unravelling entangled pathways

Understanding the motivations and travel patterns of past societies allows for a better analysis of land use dynamics because movement underlies the organization of a wide variety of landscape features. Movement left physical or intangible (memory, stories) traces that are difficult to recover because they are intertwined and create a complex archaeological picture over long periods of activity. Movement in archaeology is studied through diverse approaches (observational field work, remote sensing detection, network analysis, spatial analysis and modelling, agent-based modelling and simulation…). The ontological interoperability of the data created through these approaches is uncertain. The challenges of making these data compatible is particularly salient, given that much of the data involved is digital, in the context of the FAIR data principles. Consequently new paradigms to reconstruct the logical assemblage that constitutes systems of movement are needed.

This session provides a forum to discuss the theoretical and methodological implications of analyzing past movement, in particular within the context of settlement system studies. How do we conceive the relationship between space and movement ? How do we elaborate datasets to study movement within the landscape ? How do we use and structure various datasets in our analyses of movement flows and their relationship with the landscape and settlements? How do we conceive, as archaeologists, the idea of pathways entanglement, related to their accumulation over time?

To approach these issues it is necessary to clarify:

  • The landscape archaeological frameworks we use to create data about or to conceive past movement.
  • The way we are interpreting empirical evidence of movement about the landscape which has to be presented in detail: how do we treat built roads ? trails ? stairs ? or other path features ? how do we recognize them as pathways ?
  • Our analytical approaches to the study and interpretation of past movement: what kind of data and knowledge do we use to study a movement flow, a network or a meshwork? How might computational modelling as a emulation/simulation of movement help to disentangle and complete the empirical data picture?
  • Our idea of validation of models of movement from theoretical and computational points of view, and in relationship to the settlement system.

This session aims to consider these questions within the framework of the FAIR data principles, building towards the goal of creating inter-compatible ontologies for past movement studies. This session further aims to bring together diverse perspectives to discuss and compare the paradigms, data, and analyses applied in different contexts. We therefore invite papers based on case studies from any region. We particularly encourage case studies presented within the framework of a transcultural approach, including comparisons across multiple regions.  Papers can present advanced ontological approaches or more generally address their own reflections and experiences related to the themes of this session.

Session Keywords: pathways; movement; meshwork; network; settlement system

Job: postdoc ABM Ancient Egypt

The following job might be of interest to readers of this blog:

Postdoctoral Position : Agent-Based Modeling of Social Complexity in Ancient Egypt

An interdisciplinary (social science, computational archaeology, and machine learning) two (2) year postdoctoral research fellowship for agent-based modeling and simulation is currently available at the Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

The postdoctoral fellow will work on an interdisciplinary agent-based modeling (ABM) and simulation project that investigates the emergence of social complexity in early Egypt. The project proposes to develop the ABM as an experimental computational platform for studying and analyzing complex system behaviour, in this case, the evolution of societal complexity. The ABM will be used to design experiments that examine the social dynamics of early Egypt, including the emergence of entrenched inequality, urbanism, social hierarchy, networks, and ideology of kingship. The goal is to explore how the Egyptian state emerged as a
result of the meaningful actions of individuals pursuing their own interests within the particular environmental conditions of the Nile
Valley in the fourth millennium BC, as well as compare this system to similar case studies in social complexity in Africa more broadly.

As part of the process of developing the ABM, the fellow will be expected to conduct research on the modeling of emergent complexity in agent-based models of ancient societies, including the application of evolutionary machine learning to simulate adaptive behaviour. Ideally the ABM design principles will take inspiration from the relevant social complexity literature and prevailing theories of emergent complexity.  However, the exact focus of the project will be jointly decided by the postdoctoral fellow and supervisors.

The candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate with the interdisciplinary network of researchers at the Evolutionary Machine
Learning Group, University of Cape Town, the Department of Ancient Studies, Stellenbosch University, and the Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town. In addition to research, candidate is expected to co-supervise graduate students within this network of researchers.

  • PhD (or nearly completed) degree in computational archaeology, computer science, or a closely related field.
  • Good programming skills (Java, Python, Net Logo or other agent-based modeling languages).
  • Excellent communication skills, in both spoken and written English, and the ability to work independently.
  • Expertise in agent-based modeling and simulation.
  • Some expertise in evolutionary machine learning would be advantageous.
  • Candidates with a background in computational archaeology who are willing to acquire machine learning expertise during the postdoc, are encouraged to apply.

Deadlines and More Information:

Starting date is flexible: From February 1, 2020.

Applications will be evaluated on a first-come-first-serve basis, and will continue to be received and reviewed from December 1, 2019 until the position is filled.

The Connected Past 2020 in Aarhus

Delighted to announce the next instalment of The Connected Past, this time in Aarhus Denmark. The call for papers deadline is 15 March, submit your abstracts to

Conference website


September 24-25, Aarhus University

Artefactual Intelligence

Preceded by a two-day workshop 22-23 September (more information to follow).

Call for Papers now open (deadline 15 March)

Abstracts (max. 250 words) should be sent to

Before March, 15th 2020*

Please include your name, affiliation, and your choice of session format (20 minute thematic presentation or 10 minute work-in-progress presentation)

*The scientific committee will seek to communicate its decision before mid-April 2020

Our keynote speakers are Marcia-Anne Dobres on agency in archaeology and Juan Barceló on Artificial Intelligence in archaeology.

Computational models used by archaeologists are becoming increasingly complex. We create and tackle ever larger datasets, include more parameters and make machines learn by themselves. Recent approaches to network theory in archaeology, and the historical sciences more generally, have embraced agents, agency and practice theory. But where does this leave objects? Since the earliest days of the discipline, objects have been at the core of the archaeologist’s enquiry. However, until recently, objects were left heavily undertheorised. With the advance of object-related theories, such as ANT or the New Materialism approaches, agency is extended not just to humans but to the objects and materials they handle as well. Does this mean that digital archaeologists and historians are to move from Artificial Intelligence to Artifactual Intelligence? And if so, how?

Being a community of scholars interested in recent theoretical and methodological innovations in archaeology and the historical sciences, the Connected Past Conference provides a forum for presenting and discussing ongoing work on the intersection between archaeology,  history, digital approaches and theory. The conference will be preceded by a two-day practical workshop (limited capacity, open call for participants to follow soon).

This year’s conference focuses specifically on the topic of artefacts, human and material agency, artificial and artefactual intelligence and their place within archaeological and historical network studies. In addition, we also welcome presentations on any topic related to archaeological or historical network research and complexity science.

We invite abstracts for 20-minute presentations on these and related topics for consideration to the scientific committee. In addition, there will be a session on general topics related to network science in archaeology and the historical sciences. We equally welcome abstracts for 10-minute presentations on work-in-progress.

Conference organisers:

Lieve Donnellan
Rubina Raja
Søren Sindbæk
Tom Brughmans

Get in touch!

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