Submit your paper to CAA, deadline Monday

The CAA is my favourite conference 🙂 And it will be hosted online from Cyprus this year. The deadline to submit your papers is Monday the 1st of March. So go ahead and submit those excellent papers on computational archaeology. You can find the full list of 35 sessions here, covering all possible topics. And I want to point out the following two sessions in particular:

S28. Computational modelling in archaeology: methods, challenges and applications (Standard)

S18. Urban Complexity in Settlements and Settlement Systems of the Mediterranean (Standard)

S28. Computational modelling in archaeology: methods, challenges and applications (Standard)

Iza Romanowska, Aarhus University
Colin D. Wren, University of Colorado
Stefani A. Crabtree, Utah State University 

The steady stream of publications involving archaeological computational models is a clear sign of the discipline’s dedication to the epistemological turn towards formal theory building and testing. Where hypotheses used to be generated verbally in natural language as possible explanations, they are now increasingly often expressed as GIS, agent-based modelling (ABM) or statistical models and meticulously tested against data. The session will showcase the breadth of applications, the ingenuity of researchers deploying new or adapted methods and the depth of insight gained thanks to computational modelling.

With increasing numbers of archaeologists becoming proficient in computer programming it seems that some of the technical and training-related hurdles are being overcome. In general, while some methods in archaeological computational modelling are well established and widely deployed, others (e.g., ABM) are still an emerging subfield with many exciting and fresh applications. 

 We will structure the session upon the three major questions: :

  • The current landscape of computational modelling: what are the strong versus the weak areas? Are certain topics, time periods, types of questions more often modelled than others? If so, why is that?
  • Potential areas for growth: what are the obvious methodological and archaeological directions for computational modelling? Are technical skills still an impediment for a wider adoption?
  • Disciplinary best practice: the need for open science is well recognised among computational archaeologists, but are there other ways in which we can make it easier for members of other branches of archaeology to engage with the computational modelling?

We invite archaeological modellers to present their current case studies, discuss new methods and issues they have encountered as well as their thoughts on the role of computational modelling in general archaeological practice. Computational modelling is meant broadly here as any digital technologies that enable the researcher to represent a real-world system to test hypotheses regarding past human behaviour. 

S18. Urban Complexity in Settlements and Settlement Systems of the Mediterranean (Standard)

Katherine A. Crawford, Arizona State University
Georgios Artopoulos, The Cyprus Institute 
Eleftheria Paliou, University of Cologne 
Iza Romanowska, Aarhus University

The application of quantitative methods to the study of ancient cities and settlement networks has seen increased interest in recent years. Advances in data collection, the use of and integration of diverse big datasets, data analytics including network analysis, computation and the application of digital and quantitative methods have resulted in an increasingly diverse number of studies looking at past cities from new perspectives (e.g. Palmisano et al. 2017; Kaya and Bölen 2017; Fulminante 2019-21). This barrage of new methods, many grounded in population-level systemic thinking, but also some coming from the individual, agent-based perspective enabled researchers to investigate the structural properties and mechanisms driving complex socio-natural systems, such as past cities and towns (e.g. MISMAS; The CRANE Project; Carrignon et al. 2020). These advances have recently opened new possibilities for the study of cities and settlement systems of the Mediterranean, an area with some of the longest known records of urban occupation that could be key for studying a wide range of urban complexity topics (e.g. Lawrence et al. 2020) .

This session invites papers that deal with the applications of computational and digital methodologies, including agent-based modelling, network analysis, urban scaling, gravity and spatial interaction models, space syntax, GIS, and data mining. We look for a diverse range of studies on the interactions between cities, complex meshworks of information flow, simulations of social and socio-natural activities, as well as analyses of groups of cities and their environment (the ecosystem of resources) in the Mediterranean basin. We are especially interested in papers that use agent-based modelling to adopt a comparative and diachronic perspective to studying transformations and transitions of urban and settlement systems and works that focus on the area of Eastern Mediterranean, in particular. Potential topics of consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Settlement persistence,
  • Multi-scale spatial patterns within urban complexes and across settlements,
  • Inter and/or intra urban settlement dynamics & interactions,
  • Transitions and diachronic transformations of urban/settlement patterns,
  • Urban network interactions and modelling,
  • Urban-environmental processes; the impact of climate disturbances on cities and their resources,
  • Formal analysis of cities development of time,
  • Processes involved in urban centres formation and abandonment.


S. Carrignon, T. Brughmans, I. Romanowska, (2020). Tableware trade in the Roman East: Exploring cultural and economic transmission with agent-based modelling and approximate Bayesian computation. PLoS ONE, 15, (11), e0240414. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240414

F. Fulminante (ed), (2019-21). Research Topic: Where Do Cities Come From and Where Are They Going To? Modelling Past and Present Agglomerations to Understand Urban Ways of Life. Frontiers in Digital Humanities

H. Serdar Kaya and Fulin Bölen, (2017). ‘Urban DNA: Morphogenetic Analysis of Urban Pattern’, International Journal of Architecture & Planning, (5), 1, 10-41. DOI: 10.15320/ICONARP.2017.15

D. Lawrence, M. Altaweel, and G. Philip, (2020). New Agendas in Remote Sensing and Landscape Archaeology in the Near East: Studies in Honour of Tony J. Wilkinson. Oxford: Archaeopress.

A Palmisano, A. Bevan, and S. Shennan, (2017). Comparing archaeological proxies for long-term population patterns: An example from central Italy. Journal of Archaeological Science, (87), 59-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.10.001

Saad Twaissi, (2017). ‘The Source Of Inspiration Of The Plan Of The Nabataean Mansion At Az-Zantur Iv In Petra: A Space Syntax Approach’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, (17), 3, 97-119. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1005494

MISAMS (Modelling Inhabited Spaces of the Ancient Mediterranean Sea),

The CRANE Project (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East)

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