Discussion forum Bochum: ABM in archaeology

Via Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff

– with apologies for cross-posting –

We proudly announce the first Forum ReSoc “Agent-based Models in Archaeology: Are there Limits? featuring Edmund Chattoe-Brown (University of Leicester) and Marc Vander Linden (University of Cambridge) as key-note speakers.

What is the role of agent-based modelling for archaeology? How does ABM contribute to interdisciplinary work and vice versa, how do different practices in the disciplines affect the way in which ABM is practised?

Following two key-notes by Edmund Chattoe-Brown and Marc Vander Linden, a panel composed by Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center), Maria Ivanova-Bieg (Heidelberg University) and Michael Roos (Ruhr-University Bochum) will discuss these issues together with the speakers. We also invite the audience to comment and ask questions.

The Forum will be moderated by Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff (Ruhr-University Bochum, ReSoc – Resources in Societies Leibniz Postdoctoral School).

We invite students and researchers of all disciplines as well as the general public to join the event in Bochum on March 21st! Please note that if you will not make it in person, you can watch the live stream of the event on YouTube.

More information at: http://forum.resoc.de

Twitter: @ReSocBochum 

See you in Bochum!

Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff


Job: postdoc religious networks in Medieval Europe

This postdoc will be a great opportunity of interest to readers of this blog. It is for network science and GIS work on religious networks in Medieval Europe. It is based in Brno with colleagues who are also involved in the GEHIR project, which demonstrates these scholars’ excellent work in both the history of religion and network science. Excellent stuff!! Moreover, Brno hosted the recent historical network research conference. So this is a really relevant place and team to join if you love past networks!

Deadline 20 February.

More information in this message from Dr. David Zbíral.

Dear colleagues,

The DISSINET project (“Dissident Religious Cultures in Medieval Europe from the Perspective of Social Network Analysis and Geographic Information Systems”), based at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, Department for the Study of Religions and funded by a “Projects of Excellence” grant from the Czech Science Foundation for the period between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2023, is searching for a postdoctoral researcher to join its recently established team. The position is full-time, fixed-term, for 24 months with a very likely extension (based on the quality of collaboration) to the end of the project (31 December 2023). The expected start date is 1 April 2019 (negotiable). The deadline for applications is 20 February.


  • Ph.D. or equivalent in history, medieval studies, the study of religions, or another field related to the project’s focus

  • Specialization in either (a) religious dissent and/or inquisitorial or other trial records in medieval or early modern Europe, or (b) historical research informed by computational, network-analytical, or quantitative methods

  • Secure command of Latin and English

  • Computer-friendly mindset (tables, digital tools)

  • Academic writing skills in English

  • Team spirit, moral integrity, reliability

We offer:

  • Full-time research position in a committed interdisciplinary team working on an exciting frontier-research project

  • Competitive salary above the average for similar positions in the Czech Republic (good ratio between salary and local living costs)

  • Individual research budget for participating in conferences and workshops, buying books, etc. (ca. 3,000 € each year)

  • Training and growth in interdisciplinary digital research (social network analysis, geographic information systems, databases)

  • Participation in writing high-profile publications in history, social network analysis, and the digital humanities

  • Friendly and informal working environment

The position requires physical presence in Brno, the Czech Republic.

The selection procedure has two rounds: the first is based on the submitted attachments, the second (for short-listed applicants) is based on written exchange and interview through Skype or personally in Brno.

The candidate’s doctoral degree does not need to be recent for this postdoctoral position. Career breaks do not pose any problem. Applications from female candidates are particularly encouraged.

More information about this position and link to the e-application: https://www.muni.cz/en/about-us/careers/vacancies/44430 .

Please feel free to contact the project’s PI, Dr. David Zbíral, at david.zbiral@mail.muni.cz if you have any questions.

With all best wishes,

David Zbíral.

Dr. David Zbíral

Associate Professor at Masaryk University (Study of Religions)

General Secretary of the Czech Association for the Study of Religions, http://www.casr.cz/indexen.php

Department for the Study of Religions, http://religionistika.phil.muni.cz/en

Faculty of Arts | Masaryk University

Arna Nováka 1 | 602 00 Brno | Czech Republic





Network workshop London 4-5 March

The following workshop looks like a great place to get experience with network science in practice.

Via Johannes Preiser-Kapeller:

Reminder: Network analysis for historians and archaeologists (introductory workshop, London, 4-5 March 2019)

organised by Dr. Philip Wood
with Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

DATE AND TIME: Mon, 4 Mar 2019, 10:00 – Tue, 5 Mar 2019, 17:00 GMT

LOCATION: Aga Khan Centre, 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN


The workshop will provide both an overview of basic concepts of network theory and their application in historical and archaeological research as well as an introduction into software tools and practical network analysis.

In particular, the following themes will be covered:

· Nodes, Links and Degree. Basic concepts of quantitative network analysis
· Papyri, potsherds, people, sites, relations: theoretical consideration and examples of historical and archaeological network analysis
· From data to network model: organisation, processing and entering of relational data
· From the model to results: analysis, visualisation and interpretation of network models
All participants will receive in advance a selection of preparatory readings, a bibliography (for further research), download links for the necessary software tools and sample data sets which will be used in the practical exercises. Every participant should bring a laptop with the software and sample data pre-installed. In addition, there will also be opportunity to discuss the potential of network tools for individual research projects of the participants.

This workshop will be led by Dr. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, a member of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The workshop is intended for ancient and medieval historians and archaeologists who already have PhDs. Lunch is provided, but space is limited.

13th Historical Network Research workshop

Where? Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz
When? 27.-28.05.2019

If you want to attend this workshop, send the information mentioned below to contact-nats@protonmail.com before 28 February.

Networks Across Time and Space

Methodological Challenges and Theoretical Concerns of Network Research in the Humanities

From the trade networks of the bronze age to the kinship ties of medieval ruling houses, from the exchange of scientific knowledge through letters to the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, people throughout the ages have been acutely aware of how their integration or exclusion from networks could impact their lives. Yet only with the invention of digital tools has it become possible to reconstruct, visualize, and analyse these relational structures on an unprecedented scale. They have transformed the way we think about groups and societies, space and culture. Not only economists, political scientists or researchers in literary and cultural studies but also historians and archaeologists have adopted the concept of “networks” to study certain forms of information as part of a broader whole. Rather than looking at data in isolation, the focus is shifting to the links that unite different entities, and to the structures that emerge from their connections. Especially for archaeologists and historians, who are often dealing with large amounts of data that stand in a complex relation to each other – be it objects, sites or people – network theory and formal network analysis can be very powerful tools for study.

Particular constraints, however, surround the use of network-theoretic methods in the historical sciences. The analysis usually deals with fragmentary datasets, examines data of different types (sites, objects, landscapes, institutions), or unites data from different regions or periods of time within one study. Finding a common denominator that unites disparate and sometimes problematic datasets within one network that sustains a valid historical hypothesis can be a challenge. It is not always clear which analytical tools, e.g., different centrality measures, can be applied to gain a deeper understanding of a dataset and what exactly their use implies for the conceptional framework of the research in question. To which kind of historical questions can we find answers through a formal network analysis? Is a more fluid approach dealing with metaphorical networks more useful? Which new perspectives on existing data can network research open up to different disciplines?

In order to provide prospective and more advanced network scholars and students in the historical sciences with a sound background and solid arguments for structuring a network-related hypothesis, a two-day workshop is organized to:

• provide basic training (day 1)

• provide in-depth discussion on the application of network theory for specific datasets and research questions (day 2)

The first day of the workshop aims at novices and prospective students in network analysis in the historical sciences and archaeology (no previous knowledge required). Participants can bring own research ideas to the workshop to receive feedback, but this is not obligatory.

The second day of the workshop is devoted to in-depth theoretical discussion for advanced scholars, who already have an understanding of network concepts and are applying it to their own case studies. A general discussion will conclude the exchange within small groups focusing on specific case studies and central issues in historical and archaeological network research. Students participating in the first day are welcome to attend the second day of the workshop to broaden their understanding.

There are three points of focus for discussion on the second workshop day:

1. Objects as Actors

2. Fragmentary data – fragmentary networks? Implications of source criticism for archaeological and historical network analysis

3. One theory fits them all? Critical reflections on theorizing about social networks across time and space

Participation in the workshop is free of charge; however, participants are required to provide for their accommodation and travel.

The number of available places in the workshop is limited. To be considered for participation, prospective participants should send an abstract of their project or a statement concerning their motivation of participation (about 300 words) to the workshop email address:


Submissions are due February 28th. As the aim of this workshop is to initiate a critical discourse across disciplines, we encourage all participants to contact us if you would like to propose further topics for discussion on the second workshop day.


Digital history fellowships in Luxembourg

The following opportunity for a research visit in Luxembourg sounds like a great opportunity. The University of Luxembourg has a huge new research group specialised in Digital History, making it an inspiring place with lots of opportunities.

Via the HNR list and Marten Düring:

C²DH offers several fellowships for visiting researchers: for PhD candidates, Post-Docs and Senior Researchers.

By Marten Düring on Dec 18, 2018 08:56 am

This might be of interest for people on this list as well, C2DH is a truly exciting and pleasant place to work. Feel free to contact me for more info,
The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) is the University of Luxembourg’s third interdisciplinary research centre, focusing on high-quality research, analysis and public dissemination in the field of contemporary history. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach with a particular focus on new digital methods and tools for historical research and teaching.To promote international exchanges and collaborations in the field of contemporary and digital history, the C²DH offers several fellowships for visiting researchers: for PhD candidates, Post-Docs and Senior Researchers. Applicants are expected to pursue their own research. However applicants whose interests relate to the research priorities of the C²DH will be preferred. Fellowship holders will be assigned to a research department and asked to present their current project in a seminar or colloquium.

The fellowships carry a monthly grant between 1500 € and 3000 € (depending on whether the applicant benefits from other institutional funding or not) and should ideally have a duration of 3 months. The funding is supposed to cover all expenses including travel, housing, and insurance. Fellows are expected to reside in Luxembourg or the Greater Region. The C²DH will provide office space and other relevant facilities.

The application deadline is 1 February 2019. Decisions will be announced not later than end of February 2019. Applications can be in English, German or French and must include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and a project proposal not exceeding 1500 words.


CFP 5th conference Réseaux et Histoire

I can definitely recommend submitting an abstract for the below conference!

Appel à communications pour la Cinquième rencontre du groupe Res-Hist (Réseaux & Histoire) « La personne en question dans les réseaux »
Rennes, 17-18 octobre 2019

Créé en 2013, le groupe Res-Hist est un collectif destiné à favoriser les échanges scientifiques des historien·ne·s travaillant sur les réseaux. Il organise des rencontres qui réunissent, autour d’une thématique donnée, les chercheur·se·s qui mettent en œuvre des analyses de réseaux dans leurs travaux, quels que soient les périodes étudiées, les objets d’analyse, l’état d’avancement des travaux ou le niveau d’études. Les précédentes rencontres à Nice (en 2013 puis en 2016), Toulouse (2014) et Paris (2015) ont permis à des spécialistes venus de différents horizons de se rencontrer et d’échanger, à la fois en termes épistémologiques, méthodologiques et techniques.
Dans le sillage de ces premières manifestations, nous organisons une cinquième rencontre du groupe Res-Hist les 17 et 18 octobre 2019 à l’Université Rennes 2, en partenariat avec la MSHB et l’URFIST, trois institutions qui valorisent les recherches sur les humanités numériques. Notre initiative est également soutenue par le GDR Analyse de réseaux en Sciences humaines et sociales. Nous proposons que les contributeurs et contributrices de ces journées discutent une thématique précise : « La personne en question dans les réseaux ». Les travaux historiques qui mobilisent les techniques spécifiques d’analyse de réseaux envisagent en effet souvent dans leurs analyses des « personnes ». Dans la majorité de ces travaux, ces personnes – comprises comme des individus – interviennent en tant qu’entités (réseaux de correspondance, d’intellectuels et de savants, de marchands, d’évêques, de nobles ou de paysans, réseaux égocentrés), une démarche aujourd’hui intuitivement compréhensible par référence aux réseaux sociaux numériques (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
Depuis quelques années toutefois, certains types de recherche s’interrogent davantage sur l’usage historique que l’on peut faire des « personnes ». Depuis les travaux précurseurs de John Padgett sur les Médicis, plusieurs historien·ne·s diluent ou dépassent en effet ces personnes, en focalisant leur analyse sur des entités-groupes (familiaux, religieux, économiques, associatifs) : les individus sont ainsi réduits à  représenter une entité plus globale, que certain.e.s sociologues qualifient de « cercles sociaux ou collectifs » qui dépassent les relations interpersonnelles qui le forment. Dans une perspective prosopographique, d’autres chercheur.se.s travaillent moins sur des « personnes » que sur des réseaux de « noms », de « titres » ou d’« attributs » qui renvoient certes parfois à des individus précis, mais qui ne peuvent être identifiés qu’en passant par les occurrences, c’est-à-dire par des réseaux de mots. Dans certains de ces travaux, consacrés à des sociétés polythéistes, les noms ne renvoient d’ailleurs pas toujours à des individus, mais à des puissances divines formant un système que le réseau permet d’analyser (réseaux de dieux et déesses scandinaves ou réseaux d’épithètes divines largement répandues dans le monde antique). Dans d’autres études, qui portent sur les situations de clandestinité à la période contemporaine, on peut s’interroger sur la manière adéquate d’associer ou de distinguer l’individu et son nom de couverture pour rendre compte au mieux des liens sociaux vécus ou supposés par les autorités. Enfin, dans certains travaux plus spatialisés, les personnes ne sont plus des entités, mais interviennent en tant que liens, par exemple dans les flux entre deux lieux (flux d’intellectuels, de marchands ou d’ambassadeurs).
Nous souhaiterions que les intervenant.e.s s’interrogent ainsi sur l’usage qu’ils/elles font des « personnes » dans les réseaux qu’ils/elles reconstituent et analysent. Quelle place leur réservent-ils/elles, en tant qu’entités ou liens ? L’analyse se situe-t-elle au niveau de la personne/individu, la dépasse-t-elle parfois pour s’intéresser plutôt à des « cercles sociaux » ? Qu’est-ce qui justifie de choisir un autre niveau d’analyse : en quoi est-ce un gain et/ou une perte d’informations ? Comment mettre en œuvre concrètement – c’est-à-dire d’un point de vue méthodologique et pratique, grâce à certains outils – la prise en compte d’entités-personnes et d’entités-cercles sociaux ? Dans les enquêtes prosopographiques ou dans les études des relations de parenté à partir des noms (A, fils de B), quels sont les arguments qui autorisent à passer des occurrences à l’individu sur le plan méthodologique ? Quand on traite les sources enfin, comment tenir compte des identités personnelles duales, associant un nom de naissance et un nom choisi au cours de la vie – que l’on songe aux changements de noms des candidats à la cléricature dans le christianisme, aux résistant.e.s souvent évoqué.e.s à travers un pseudonyme, ou encore aux personnes contraintes à changer d’identité pour échapper à la mort ?
Ce sont ces interrogations, et sans doute beaucoup d’autres, que soulève le thème de « la personne en question dans les réseaux ». Il s’agit en effet par là de poser plus largement le problème de l’accès à l’individu à travers des sources distinctes et des époques diverses, en valorisant les réponses que l’analyse de réseaux et les approches quantitatives peuvent y apporter. En définitive, le thème soulève la question fondamentale de la manière dont on pense, à travers un réseau, certaines catégories, qu’elles soient sociales, économiques, juridiques, onomastiques, familiales, etc., en articulation avec les types documentaires auxquels on est confronté.e.

Nous invitons donc les chercheur.se.s qui mettent à profit la notion de réseaux dans leurs recherches à participer à ces rencontres. À côté de l’objet de l’étude et des résultats obtenus, il s’agit de placer au cœur de la réflexion la manière dont ils/elles traitent les personnes dans leurs analyses (en tant qu’entités – globales ou pas –, en tant que liens, etc.,). Les propositions d’intervenant.e.s des précédentes rencontres Res-Hist tout comme celles de chercheur.se.s qui n’y ont pas assisté sont les bienvenues.
Selon la formule consacrée lors des précédentes journées Res-Hist, les intervenants fourniront un texte (déjà publié ou non) qui sera mis en ligne à l’avance et présenteront leurs propos oralement en 20 minutes maximum, qui seront suivies par 30 minutes de débat et d’échange avec la salle. Des présentations par des invité.e.s et des ateliers de formation à l’analyse de réseaux et à ses logiciels seront également proposés avant les rencontres.
Les propositions de communication, d’une longueur d’une page et accompagnées des nom, statut et adresse mail, devront être adressées avant le 31 mars 2019 par courriel à Karine Karila-Cohen (karine.karila-cohen@univ-rennes2.fr) et à Isabelle Rosé (rosisa@wanadoo.fr). Le résultat de la sélection sera communiqué à la fin du mois de mai 2019, après examen par le conseil scientifique. Les textes présentés seront fournis avant le 1er  septembre 2019. L’organisation prendra en charge une à deux nuitées, dans certains cas, et la plupart des repas au cours de la rencontre. Les frais de transport sont à la charge des intervenant.e.s ou de leur laboratoire.
Cette initiative est possible grâce au soutien du LAHM-CReAAH (Université Rennes 2 / UMR 6566), de Tempora (Université Rennes 2), de l’UFR Sciences sociales et l’Université Rennes 2, de l’URFIST, de la MSHB et du GDR CNRS Analyse de réseaux en SHS.

Comité scientifique
L. Beauguitte (CNRS-GDR Analyse de réseaux en SHS)
P.-Y. Beaurepaire (Université Côte d’Azur, CMMC)
M. Gasperoni (CNRS-Centre Roland Mousnier)
J. M. Imízcoz (Universidad del País Vasco)
K. Karila-Cohen (Université Rennes 2, Lahm-CReAAH, UMR 6566)
C. Lemercier (CNRS-Sciences Po Paris)
S. Marzagalli (Université Côte d’Azur, CMMC)
I. Rosé (Université Rennes 2, Tempora)
L. Van Hoof (Université de Gand)

Comité d’organisation
Karine Karila-Cohen, Université Rennes 2, LAHM-CReAAH (UMR 6566)
Isabelle Rosé, Université Rennes 2, Tempora (EA 7468)
Audrey Colloc, Université Rennes 2, Gestion/secrétariat de Tempora (EA 7468)
Alison Tribodet, Université Rennes 2, secrétariat de la cellule recherche pour le LAHM (UMR 6566)

Second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research

The Journal of Historical Network Research is a young but important element of our growing community of network researchers. Its second issue is now out with some excellent papers. I strongly recommend archaeologists and historians alike to consider this publication venue for their work. Importantly, it is completely open access without paying a fee! And from personal experience I know that the editorial and review process are very professional. Go JHNR! 🙂

We are happy to announce the second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research:

Searching for hidden bridges in co-occurrence networks from Javanese wayang kulit
Andrew Johnathan Schauf, Miguel Escobar Varela

Family network of emerging Jewish intelligentsia (Cracow 1850-1918)
Marek Jerzy Minakowski

Artist migration through the biographer’s lens
Maximilian Kaiser, Katalin Lejtovicz, Matthias Schlögl, Peter Alexander Rumpolt

Netzwerke des Wissens – Thematische und personelle Relationen innerhalb der halleschen Zeitungen und Zeitschriften der Aufklärungsepoche (1688-1818)
Anne Purschwitz

Geospatial Social Networks of East German Opposition (1975-1989/90)
Kimmo Elo

Networks and the study of religions CFP

The below call for papers will be of interest to readers of this blog. Please note that the deadline is 15 December!

CfP “Network Analysis, Computational Modelling and Simulation in the Study of Religions”

via David Zbíral:

Dear colleagues,

at the EASR 2019 conference, to be held in Tartu, Estonia, 25-29 June 2019 (see https://easr2019.org/), Aleš Chalupa and myself organize an open panel entitled “Network Analysis, Computational Modelling and Simulation in the Study of Religions”, which focuses on demonstrating the potential of these methods and discussing them. In continuation with having hosted, in September 2018, the annual conference on “Historical Network Research” (http://historicalnetworkresearch.org/) at the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno, we want to help developing these approaches within the European study of religions.

We welcome proposals for papers discussing any historical period and geographical area. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

* Modelling of the social dynamics of religious groups and interactions between religious communities

* Modelling of the spread of religious traditions on networks (transportation, commercial, social, ethnic etc.)

* Agent-based modelling of the transmission of different types of ritual in a diachronic perspective

* Extraction of networks from texts, computer-assisted text mining

* Social network analysis of actors in specific historical events important for the history of religions

* Usability of conceptual and methodological frameworks of complex adaptive system science towards the study of religions

* Inter- and transdisciplinarity in the study of religions concerning computational methods

* Preparing “computational data”; tools and methods for creating and managing datasets and databases aiding research into religions

* Comparison of close and distant reading in the study of religions

We are looking forward to receiving your paper proposals! The submission should be made through the online registration at the official website of the conference as a submission of an individual paper, where you choose “Network Analysis, Computational Modelling and Simulation in the Study of Religions” as the panel in which you propose the paper. General information about the submission of individual papers can be found here: https://easr2019.org/call-for-individual-papers/ . The submission deadline is 15 December 2018. Review results will be announced on 15 January 2019. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words long. If you have any queries concerning the panel, please get in touch with me at david.zbiral@post.cz .

Thanks for considering our panel and/or forwarding it to those who could be interested in participating, and hopefully see many of you in Tartu in June 2019!

With all best wishes,

David Zbíral.

Visualising networks with The Vistorian. A new tutorial

When I talk to archaeologists and historians about what they want from a network software the following things usually come up:

  • I want to see spatial maps!
  • I want to have a slider to move through time!
  • I want to put as many different types of relationships in there as I can!
  • It has to be easy!

A software that does all that simply does not exist. Mainly because these are pretty demanding features for a piece of software and are not things that have been at the core of research in network science.

Until now that is!

Introducing The Vistorian: Interactive Visualizations for Dynamic and Multivariate Networks. Free, online, and open source.

The tool fills a gap in the market that delivers loads of functionality Humanities scholars crave. In fact, it was developed partly with humanities, history and archaeology scholars in mind. It allows you to deal with space, to explore your nodes and links on an interactive map. It allows you to slide through different time slices of your data. It allows you to add different layers of relationships. It allows you to stay on top of all that complexity and explore it intuitively through a range of different visualisation format: node-link, matrix, combined, map, time curves.

Benjamin Bach and I developed a step-by-step tutorial teaching archaeologists how to use The Vistorian, using a real archaeological dataset of Roman tableware distributions. Try it out! You can find it on the resources tab of this website.



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