Job graduate assistant: network approach to Magdalenian social landscapes

The following Graduate Assistant post on an archaeological network research project at University of North Carolina at Greensboro might be of interest to readers of this blog.

Full details and application link.

Requisition NumberGA00167
Position TitleGraduate Assistant-Social Network Analysis
Position EclassGF – Graduate Flat Pay
Position SummaryThe term Graduate Assistant is the umbrella term that encompasses all types of GA appointments. Graduate Assistants are employed by the University to teach, conduct research, or assist with administrative duties in departments and non-academic units. Every attempt is made to assign Graduate Assistants to positions that are directly related to the student’s field of study or that provide the opportunity to develop transferable, professional skills. Graduate Assistantships are assigned in the department or unit and confirmed by the Graduate School.
Additional DetailsAn NSF-funded archeology project (Title: A network approach to Magdalenian social landscapes) seeks a GA. The project will use Social Network Analysis to examine the distribution of objects of personal ornamentation at the end of the last Ice Age in western and central Europe, ~18,000 to 12,000 years ago. This time period, referred to as the Magdalenian, witnessed both a rapid expansion of human populations from core areas after the last Ice Age and the creation and circulation of an unprecedented abundance and diversity of engraved artifacts. The research team, which includes archaeologists, paleoclimatologists, and computer scientists from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Arizona State University, and Histria Cultural Resource Consulting, will (1) assemble a database of ~200 digital images of these engraved artifacts; (2) construct an open-access, web-based application that uses machine learning and clustering algorithms to identify stylistic patterns among the digital representations of the artifacts; and (3) develop custom plugins for an open-source Social Network Analysis platform to produce visual representations of, and quantitative descriptors for, Magdalenian social networks at multiple scales. Ultimately, the project will explore how geography, environmental uncertainty, population density, and social cooperation/competition influenced how Magdalenian peoples used material culture to construct social networks and navigate the rapidly changing environments of post-glacial Europe.GA Responsibilities
• Design and implement social network analysis algorithms (e.g., clustering and connectivity analysis) based on the extracted features of the artifact images.
• Maintain project data and materials on a server
• Develop and maintain the project’s website and troubleshoot for website users
• Write technical reports and academic papers based on project data
• Present project results at professional conferences
• Collaborate with the faculty and students in the research group
• Other duties as assignedTime Commitment
The position will begin in Spring of 2022. Beginning Spring of 2022 and running through Fall of 2023, the time commitment will be 20 hours/week (including the 2022 and 2023 summer sessions). Specific working hours will be determined in coordination with the Principal Investigators of the project.Compensation*
The position will be compensated $12,000 per academic year and $3,000 for each of the 2022 and 2023 summer sessions for a total of $15,000 per year. The position will also receive a tuition waiver.*Compensation is contingent on final approval from NSF, which is fully expected to occur.
Minimum QualificationsTo be eligible for appointments as a graduate assistant, you must:
• Maintain academic good standing at all times (3.0).
• Be enrolled full-time, which is generally a minimum of 9 credits. 
• Make satisfactory progress toward your degree as defined by your academic program and the Graduate School.
• Meet the requirements to be eligible for employment in the U.S.
Additional Minimum QualificationsTo be eligible for appointments as a GA, you must:
• Apply and be admitted to the MS Program in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro ( and Qualifications
• Well-developed programming skills
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Familiarity with Social Network Analysis preferred
• Undergraduate degree in anthropology, archaeology, or sociology preferred
• Research experience preferred
Special Instructions to ApplicantsDocuments
Required Documents for the MS Program in Computer Science
• Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
• Evidence of English proficiency for non-native English speakersAdditional Documents for the GA Position
• CV/Resume
• Letter of interest
• Contact information for three referencesDeadline
All application materials must be submitted by July 1, 2021.Contact Information
For questions regarding admission to the MS Program in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, please contact Dr. Shan Suthaharan ( For questions regarding the GA position, please contact the project PI, Dr. Charles Egeland (
Number of Months per Year12
Org #-DepartmentAnthropology – 12202
Posting Begin Date02/12/2021
Posting Close Date06/30/2021
Open Until FilledNo

Save the date: The Connected Past 2021 Aarhus

Interested in archaeological or historical networks? If you landed on this blog, you probably are. The Connected Past is our long-standing inter-disciplinary community for all those who share these interests. This year the conference will take place at Aarhus University on 29-30 September 2021 in a hybrid format. We have an awesome group of 25 papers on a wide range of topics lined up, and a keynote presentation by Joan Anton Barceló.

So put the dates in your calendar and watch this space for more news. We hope to open registration in a few months, and will provide more information on the conference format closer to the date.




September 29-30 2021, Aarhus University

Artefactual Intelligence

Preceded by a two-day workshop 27-28 September (more information to follow).

Schedule to be announced

Read the abstracts for the 25 accepted presentations here.

Keynote speaker is 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. 

Conference organisers:

Lieve Donnellan 
Rubina Raja 
Søren Sindbæk 
Tom Brughmans 

Administrative support: 

Eva Mortensen

Get in touch!

Schedule (to be announced)

Venue and attendance details (to be announced)

Travel and accommodation (to be announced)

Come work with me :) 2-year full-time Postdoc Roman roads

I am really excited to advertise the first postdoc position on my new project MINERVA! 😀

Aarhus is a beautiful place, our university and centre are world-class inspiring research environments, and the MINERVA team and project are AWESOME 🙂 So if you’re into Roman roads and looking for a postdoc, do consider applying and feel free to get in touch with me (please note all applications need to go through the university’s application system to qualify). You’ll be collaborating a lot with the amazing Pau de Soto and his project Viator-e.

Deadline for application: 30th of March 2021
Planned starting date: 1st of September 2021
Job details and how to apply

More about the job and the project:

The School of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral position at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions. The position is full-time and is expected to begin on 1 September 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Research context

The postdoc will be part of the research project ‘MINERVA: Understanding the centuries-long functioning of the Roman economy’, headed by Principal Investigator Associate Professor Tom Brughmans and funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). MINERVA is an interdisciplinary project that draws on classical archaeology, network science and complex systems simulation.

The archaeology of the Roman Empire offers us a unique glimpse into the way in which large integrated economies can evolve over centuries. However, understanding how centuries-long economic changes emerge from the day-to-day behaviour of individuals requires new methods and vast amounts of data. This project will combine for the first time state-of-the art computer simulation techniques from complexity economics, the integration of newly available large ceramics evidence from hundreds of sites across the Empire needed to test hypotheses, and the first highly detailed model of the Roman road network offering the medium for flows of goods and information.

The position

We are looking for an intellectually flexible and dedicated researcher with a background in classical archaeology, ancient history or archaeology, preferably with a specialisation in the Roman Empire, and with strong interests in Roman roads and computational methods.

The successful applicant and the PI will share responsibility for Work Package 2 of the project, which aims at producing the first detailed open digital model of the Roman transport system and its changes throughout the Roman imperial period. The applicant will perform Roman road data collection for the eastern part of the Roman Empire, and add it to the linked open data platform Itiner-e (this is the main task of the post). This work will be supervised by the PI and Dr. Pau de Soto (ICAC Tarragona, expert in Roman road data collection) whose project Viator-e collects roads data for the western part of the empire (Viator-e and MINERVA are collaborative projects). Together with the PI and Dr Pau de Soto, the successful applicant will develop the resulting data into a transport system model, using GIS to derive transport costs and speeds, and estimate financial expenses of travelled distance. He/she will work collaboratively on the creation of a linked open dataset of Roman roads, and is expected to collaborate on disciplinary and interdisciplinary publications with MINERVA team members on the topic of Roman roads and the Roman economy. The successful applicant needs good social and communication skills in order to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with project team members and establish external collaborations.

The successful applicant will be based in Aarhus at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet), Moesgård Allé, 8270 Højbjerg.

The successful applicant will be expected to:

  • Develop their research within the framework provided by the project MINERVA, in cooperation with the PI
  • Oversee the project’s road data collection, in cooperation with the PI
  • Perform research visits at the University of Oxford and other institutions, to support data collection
  • Pursue data collection, preparation, analysis and storage following FAIR principles
  • Work both independently and collaboratively with the PI, experts and other postdocs from other disciplines, in particular classical studies, archaeology, computer science and history, with a view to presenting and discussing empirical data, ideas and results
  • Present their research at international meetings and publish results in peer-reviewed, international scientific journals
  • Contribute to the organisation of research workshops and an international conference hosted by MINERVA towards the middle of the postdoc period
  • Teach at BA and/or MA level (maximum 20%, by agreement, in English or Danish)


The position will involve limited teaching (maximum 20%), as agreed upon with the Head of the Department and the project PI.

Knowledge exchange

The successful applicant will be expected to exchange knowledge with various sectors of society and to contribute actively to public debate in areas related to the position. In particular, he/she will be encouraged to contribute to knowledge exchange opportunities at Aarhus University (in particular UrbNet and Classical Archaeology), and to present at international inter-disciplinary conferences.


Applicants must hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications in classical archaeology, archaeology, history, geography, network science, economic history or similar subject fields.

Applicants must be able to document a relevant research profile of high research quality.

Applicants must also document:

  • Research experience of studying the archaeology or history of the Roman imperial period
  • A strong interest in or expertise in Roman roads
  • Experience of publication-based data collection in classical archaeology or archaeology
  • Experience of using GIS for landscape archaeology
  • Familiarity with databases, statistics and network methods
  • An interest in developing computational skills (including GIS, linked open data, statistics, network science, simulation)
  • An interest in collaborative, interdisciplinary work. Applicants need good social and communication skills in order to engage in cross-disciplinary cooperation with project team members and establish external collaborations
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • It will be regarded as an advantage if applicants can document language skills apart from English (in particular French, German, Arabic or Turkish), giving them access to literature and helping them to communicate with international colleagues

Applications must be uploaded in English.

Applicants must submit:

  • A concise statement of their motivation for applying for the position (maximum two pages)
  • A CV (maximum four pages)
  • A maximum of five publications. Please note that only submitted publications will be assessed: a list of publications is not sufficient. Applications to which no publications are attached will not be assessed
  • For further details on what to upload please read our ‘Formalities’ below.

The research activities will be evaluated in relation to the actual research time. We therefore encourage applicants to specify any periods of leave they may have had without research activities (e.g. maternity/paternity leave), so we can subtract these periods from the span of their academic career when evaluating their productivity.

Professional references or recommendations should not be included. Applicants who are selected for an interview may be asked to provide professional references.

For further information about the position and project MINERVA, please contact the Principal Investigator Tom Brughmans by email:

For more information about the application please contact HR supporter Marianne Birn, e-mail

The university is keen for its staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified applicants, regardless of their personal background.

The work environment

The Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet).
The Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) was founded in 2015 as a groundbreaking archaeological research initiative exploring the evolution of urbanism and urban networks from the Hellenistic Period to the Middle Ages. The centre is based at Aarhus University, School of Culture and Society, and is funded as a Centre of Excellence by the Danish National Research Foundation.

UrbNet aims to compare the archaeology of urbanism from medieval Northern Europe to the ancient Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean World, and determine how – and to what extent – urban networks catalysed societal and environmental expansions and crises in the past. The centre is firmly rooted in the humanities but enjoys close, collaborative ties with the natural sciences.

UrbNet aims to advance the understanding of the historical process of urban evolution, and it does so by developing the ability of archaeology to characterise the scale and pace of events and processes. Recently developed scientific techniques afford the potential for archaeology to refine the precision of dates, contexts and provenance ascribed to excavated materials. UrbNet’s key ambition has been to integrate these new forms of data as a new, high-definition approach to the study of global and interregional dynamics.
UrbNet’s work comprises projects that intersect questions and problems concerning urban development and networks in the regions from Northern Europe via the Levant to the East Coast of Africa. It involves elaborate work on empirical material from a number of existing excavation projects, and the centre aims to make substantial contributions to theoretical and methodological developments in the field.
Read more (UrbNet).

School of Culture and Society

At the School of Culture and Society the object of research and teaching is the interplay between culture and society in time and space:

–  From the traditional disciplines of the humanities and theology to applied social research
–  From Antiquity to the issues facing contemporary societies
–  From local questions to global challenges

The school’s goal is to produce compelling research with an international resonance, as well as offering teaching and talent development of high quality. The school has a broad cooperative interface with society, both in Denmark and abroad, and contributes to social innovation, research communication and further and continuing education. 

Qualification requirements

Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.


Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order).

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here:

If nothing else is noted, applications must be submitted in English. Application deadline is at 11.59 pm Danish time (same as Central European Time) on the deadline day.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal bagground.

Shortlists are prepared with the candidates that have been selected for a detailed academic assessment. A committee set up by the head of school is responsible for selecting the most qualified candidates. See this link for further information about shortlisting at the Faculty of Arts: shortlisting

Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is one of five main academic areas at Aarhus University.
The faculty contributes to Aarhus University’s research, talent development, knowledge exchange and degree programmes.
With its 550 academic staff members, 275 PhD students, 9,500 BA and MA students, and 1,500 students following continuing/further education programmes, the faculty constitutes a strong and diverse research and teaching environment.
The Faculty of Arts consists of the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Culture and Society and the Danish School of Education. Each of these units has strong academic environments and forms the basis for interdisciplinary research and education.
The faculty’s academic environments and degree programmes engage in international collaboration and share the common goal of contributing to the development of knowledge, welfare and culture in interaction with society.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University’s website.

Job: 9 month postdoc network modelling Neolithic

A 9-month position on a CNRS project based in Bordeaux, looking for someone with network skills.

Deadline: 15 March

Access the full job post here.

Informations générales

Référence : UMR5199-SOLRIG-006
Lieu de travail : PESSAC
Date de publication : lundi 22 février 2021
Type de contrat : CDD Scientifique
Durée du contrat : 9 mois
Date d’embauche prévue : 1 avril 2021
Quotité de travail : Temps complet
Rémunération : salaire mensuel brut entre 2 648 et 3 768 euros (en fonction de l’expérience)
Niveau d’études souhaité : Doctorat
Expérience souhaitée : Indifférent


La mobilité humaine est un facteur clé pour la propagation des gènes et des cultures, mais elle les affecte de différentes manières. Alors que les gènes se propagent exclusivement par les mouvements de personnes, les traits culturels peuvent se transmettre indépendamment et sur de longues distances par interaction culturelle. L’objectif de ce projet postdoctoral est d’explorer la co-évolution gène-culture en Europe lors de la transition vers l’agriculture en utilisant une nouvelle approche qui permettra d’estimer conjointement la mobilité humaine et la diffusion de la culture matérielle d’un point de vue tant génétique qu’archéologique.
Le projet repose sur l’hypothèse que les sociétés mobiles sont caractérisées par une isolation par la distance relativement faible, tandis que les groupes moins mobiles seront structurés géographiquement. Il est également fondé sur l’idée largement acceptée selon laquelle les similitudes dans la culture matérielle résultent d’interactions répétées entre individus et groupes, favorisées par la mobilité individuelle, l’échange de biens, d’information sociale, de connaissances sur les techniques et des symboles. En d’autres termes, plus la culture matérielle est similaire, plus les liens qui unissent les groupes sont resserrés.
Le rôle de la géographie dans la limitation ou l’amélioration des interactions et des mouvements des populations passées est un facteur majeur à prendre en compte. Le rôle de la distance géographique et des barrières dans la diffusion des traits culturels et des groupes sera étudié dans le but d’évaluer dans quelle mesure la géographie est un facteur conditionnant la diffusion des personnes, des savoir-faire, des symboles et des idées. Les individus peuvent être plus ou moins isolés dans les paysages et ne pas choisir un seul itinéraire optimal en raison de plusieurs facteurs culturels intrinsèques mais aussi externes (disponibilité des ressources….). Plusieurs méthodes, least cost path modeling, resistance distance (McRae et al., 2008), peuvent être utilisées pour explorer la connectivité entre les groupes. 
Cependant, la relation entre la proximité spatiale, culturelle et sociale peut ne pas expliquer à elle seule la géographie culturelle et les contacts entre les groupes, mais la structure du réseau lui-même peut avoir un impact sur les variabilités inter sites. Les méthodes basées sur les réseaux telles que l’analyse des réseaux sociaux (SNA) sont des outils précieux pour documenter et analyser les relations entre les sites archéologiques en fonction de divers attributs culturels. L’accent mis sur les communautés passées dans une perspective de réseaux s’est avéré utile pour aborder un large éventail de questions de recherche, y compris la diffusion et l’adaptation des innovations (Hart et Engelbrecht 2012), les systèmes de croyance (Erickson 1988), l’échange (Markovsky et al.1988) et mobilité (Birch et Hart 2018). La documentation de ces processus est essentielle pour comprendre la diffusion des technologies agricoles.
Dans ce projet, nous souhaitons analyser des données génétiques et archéologiques conjointement et avec des méthodologies comparables. Nous nous concentrerons sur l’Europe à l’aube de l’agriculture, il y a environ 7500 ans, une période et une région pour lesquelles des données génétiques, ainsi que des données sur la culture matérielle, sont disponibles pour les derniers chasseurs-cueilleurs et les premiers agriculteurs. L’ensemble de données génétiques comprend des centaines d’échantillons publiés provenant de toute l’Europe pour la période cible, incluant des données génomiques, mitochondriales et du chromosome Y. L’ensemble des données archéologiques est composé d’une base de données géoréférencée actualisée des objets de parure produits par les derniers chasseurs-cueilleurs et les premiers agriculteurs d’Europe, couvrant 48 cultures archéologiques et recensant des centaines de types de perles différentes provenant de plus de mille sépultures et niveaux archéologiques répartis dans toute l’Europe.
L’analyse combinée de ces ensembles de données permettra de déterminer si les frontières culturelles limitaient les flux de gènes et ralentissaient la propagation du Néolithique dans certaines régions.

Our new publication in JAMT: over half a million pot sherds from Jerash and simulation

Really delighted to announce that our latest paper was recently published open access online in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. It’s the result of years of collaborating between excavators, ceramics specialists and simulation experts. We analysed over half a million ceramics sherds from Jerash (ancient Gerasa, in Jordan), and identified that over 99% of the stuff was locally produced. What really excited me in this collaboration was the discrepancy between this proportion and the tendency for classical archaeologists (including myself) to always focus on imports.

Read the open access paper here.

The proportion of locally produced, regional and imported pottery for (left: ‘total’) all excavated ceramics (n = 625,063; excludes 133,584 topsoil entries), (middle) three securely dated trenches closed by the earthquake event of AD 749 (K n = 10 006; P n = 2184; V n = 10 614) and (right) three trenches consisting of ancient olive oil press installations filled in with ceramics (B n = 58 751; J n = 144 390; N n = 71 555)

Caption feature image: The Jerash Northwest Quarter excavations with trench letters (© Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project)

Why are there so many locally produced ceramics in Jerash, and so few regional and imported ones? This new publication quantitatively analyses the more than half a million sherds that were recorded by the Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project, and discusses different answers to this question. I applies innovative simulation techniques to evaluate whether personal preference for local Jerash products might have played a role. The result? The authors show that three ways of conceptualising preference for the local product might explain the ceramic data pattern, but other theories of preference are less good explanations.


The Danish-German Jerash Northwest Quarter Project revealed a robust and striking pattern of the extreme dominance (>99%) of locally produced ceramics over six centuries and across different depositional contexts (in total over half a million pottery sherds). The archaeology of Jerash points towards an exceptional degree of self-sufficiency in craft products: why? The project team implemented a full quantification approach during excavation, manually and digitally recording and counting all pottery and other classes of artefacts. This enabled a full analysis of trends in production and use of ceramics throughout the archaeologically documented history of Jerash and revealed the unexpected pattern of the extreme dominance of local pottery. Archaeologists formulated a set of hypotheses to explain this pattern, and we developed an agent-based model of simple customer preference driving product distribution to evaluate several explanatory factors and their potential interactions. Our simulation results reveal that preference for locally produced ceramics at Jerash might be a plausible theory, but only if its intrinsic value was considered rather high in comparison to other goods, or if it was preferred by a majority of the population, and there was a tendency to follow this majority preference (or a combination of these factors). Here, we present a complete research pipeline of a full quantification of ceramics, analysis and modelling applicable at any archaeological site. We argue that transparent methods are necessary at all stages of an archaeological project: not only for data collection, management and analysis but also in theory development and testing. By focusing on a common archaeological material and by leveraging a range of widely available computational tools, we are able to better understand local and intra-regional distribution patterns of craft products in Jerash and in the ancient eastern Mediterranean.

Results of different simulation experimental setups. Each boxplot represents how close the simulated proportions of local, regional and imported ceramics are to the archaeologically observed ceramics (100 repetitions; 500 time steps; 100 agents)

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