July 22, 2015
I find support and assistance networks extremely interesting! Mainly because they pose so many interesting missing data problems, and as an archaeologist I like a good data problem from time to time. These kinds of networks are very much based on trust, since once a person or connection is compromised it will have disastrous, often murderous, consequences for many in the network. This topic is explored for the case of persecuted Jews in National Socialism during World War II in Marten Düring’s work. He traced a number of different groups of people, how they got in touch with each other, and how they provided assistance to persecuted Jews. Marten told me in most cases the support networks grow slowly and are built on strong trusted relationships. Often new individuals will be introduced to the network through a common contact who has received assistance before and vouches for the individual. However, there are a few cases when individuals gambled and got in touch without a pre-existing well-trusted connection. Such decisions could be disastrous, sometimes leading to the entire network being rounded up by the Gestapo, questioned and sentenced (which is often why these support networks are documented and why Marten was able to reconstruct them). The ‘data problems’ I mentioned are a consequence of the sheer secretive nature of the support network: hiding the fact you offered support to persecuted Jews was a question of life or death. It is particularly hard to reconstruct support networks that were not caught by the Gestapo, and one can only assume that those that were caught are not entirely documented, that there are a lot of missing nodes and links. Marten Düring offers us an in-depth look at a few cases which are particularly well-known, thanks to his rummaging around in archives for years.
I believe this study will prove invaluable for better understanding support networks and the missing data problems they pose. I see particular similarities with networks of the trade in licit antiquities, organized crime and really any type of so-called ‘dark network’. This work offers a reminder of how the study of the past can help us tackle challenges in the present.
Marten’s work was recently published by De Gruyter as a book, check it out here and find the abstract below.
Also keep an eye out for Marten’s chapter in the forthcoming ‘The Connected Past’ edited volume to be published by Oxford University Press early in 2016 :)
Why did people help Jews hide from the Nazis? This study examines interactions between helpers and aid recipients using the methods of social network research. Based on six Berlin case studies, the author looks at the social determinants for willingness to help, trust formation, network effects, and the daily practice of providing help from the perspectives of helpers and aid recipients.
July 14, 2015
Those trained in the ways of Classics and fearless of the computer beast: submit your abstracts now to the Digital Classicist Berlin seminar series. The deadline for the call for this year’s edition is in three days, at midnight 17 July. I had the pleasure of presenting my work at this venue once (see the video on my bibliography page). Aside from giving the talk in the lovely fancy hall of the German Archaeological Institute which makes you feel like a little Schliemann, it does attract a good audience of experts who are not afraid to ask you the difficult questions (which is exactly what you want by the way). There is plenty of time for discussion after your talk, and I definitely gained some unique insights and new contacts through the experience. Definitely consider applying.
Deadline 17 July
Digital Classicist Berlin website
We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the fourth series of the Digital Classicist Seminar Berlin . This initiative, inspired by and connected to London’s Digital Classicist Work in Progress Seminar , is organised in association with the German Archaeological Institute and the Excellence Cluster TOPOI. It will run during the winter term of the academic year 2015/16.
We invite submissions on any kind of research which employs digital methods, resources or technologies in an innovative way in order to enable a better or new understanding of the ancient world. We encourage contributions not only from Classics but also from the entire field of “Altertumswissenschaften”, to include the ancient world at large, such as Egypt and the Near East.
Themes may include digital editions, natural language processing, image processing and visualisation, linked data and the semantic web, open access, spatial and network analysis, serious gaming and any other digital or quantitative methods. We welcome seminar proposals addressing the application of these methods to individual projects, and particularly contributions which show how the digital component can facilitate the crossing of disciplinary boundaries and answering new research questions. Seminar content should be of interest both to classicists, ancient historians or archaeologists, as well as to information scientists and digital humanists, with an academic research agenda relevant to at least one of these fields.
Anonymised abstracts  of **300-500 words max.** (bibliographic references excluded) should be uploaded by **midnight (CET) on 17 July 2015** using the special submission form . Although we do accept abstracts written in English as well as in German, the presentations are expected to be delivered in English. When submitting the same proposal for consideration to multiple venues, please do let us know via the submission form. The acceptance rate for the first three seminar series was of 41% (2012/13), 31% (2013/14), and 40% (2014/15).
Seminars will run **fortnightly on Tuesday evenings (17:15-19:00)** from October 2015 until February 2016 and will be hosted by the Excellence Cluster TOPOI and the German Archaeological Institute, both located in Berlin-Dahlem. The full programme, including the venue of each seminar, will be finalised and announced in September. As with the previous series, the video recordings of the presentations will be published online and we endeavour to provide accommodation for the speakers and contribute towards their travel expenses.
 The anonymised abstract should have all author names, institutions and references to the authors work removed. This may lead to some references having to be replaced by “Reference to authors’ work”. The abstract title and author names with affiliations are entered into the submission system in separate fields.
June 25, 2015
It’s been three years since the first edition of the international Historical Network Research conference, in Hamburg. The success of the first edition sparked an awesome second edition in Ghent, set in an amazing restored abbey complex. Now it’s time for episode III in Lisbon. The call for papers is open, please note the submission deadline of 30 June, details below. The Historical Network Research community is going strong and growing, along these conferences they promised to keep on organizing the smaller workshops they’ve been hosting in Germany for years now, so keep an eye out for that. I can definitely recommend attending the conference, I found the Ghent edition I attended a great experience.
CFP deadline: June 30 2015
Call for papers
The Historical Network Research is pleased to announce its 3rd Annual conference. Having been held in Hamburg in 2013 and Ghent in 2014, this year it will be held in Lisbon, on 15-18 September 2015.
This will be an opportunity to present historical research embedded in the field of social network analysis, as well as a chance to benefit from workshops designed to acquire analytic and visual tools.
Naturally, the Conference will be open not only to arts and humanities researchers, but also to social, formal, applied and natural scientists, who are interested in historical research and processes.
We welcome proposals for individual papers discussing any historical period and geographical area. Some of the topics include but are not limited to: Economic and business history; Scientific networks and collaborations; Technological and research networks; Social movements and political mobilization; Social network theory and historical research; Policy networks; Social network analysis, war and conflict; Kinship and community; Social networks and health; The geographical scope of networks; Cultural and intellectual networks; Methodological explorations
Papers for presentation will be selected, after peer review, on the basis of abstracts (up to 500 words). To apply please also include the title, 3 keywords, institutional affiliation, contact details and a brief CV or bio.
Each presentation will last no more than 15 minutes. The default language is English.
May 12, 2015
The last CAA meeting in Siena saw the creation of a new special interest group in complex systems simulation. This new group will be of interest to network fans as well. The chairs Iza Romanowska, Florencia del Castillo and Juan Antonio Barceló have plans to organise sessions, workshops and networking events around the CAA conferences and independently. They will use the Simulatingcomplexity blog as well as their mailing list to keep you informed on their activities and to offer help to those who wish to apply complex systems simulation techniques to their work. Subscribe!
Want to know what it’s all about? A word from the chairs:
The staggering complexity of past societies is well recognised in archaeology. Human groups often built intricate social systems, which consist of numerous individual elements interacting with each other and with the environment and producing phenomena that are not easy to anticipate or understand using non-quantitative methods. The standard scientific answer to the challenges of investigating such systems is the large family of simulation techniques and the theoretical paradigm known as Complexity Science. In the last few years these approaches (agent-based and equation-based modelling, systems dynamics, cellular automata, network analysis etc.), have become increasingly popular among the practitioners of archaeological computing, suggesting that the time is right to bring this growing community together.
Therefore, the aim of the new Special Interest Group in Complex Systems Simulation is to provide a strong communication platform for present and future researchers working in the complex systems simulation domain. In particular, we will strive to:
- provide continuity to the sessions and workshops concerned with computational modelling at the annual CAA conference and beyond,
- organise, coordinate and inform the members of other events related to complexity science and simulation,
- organise events aimed at training future complex systems modellers and the general archaeological audience,
- define and promote good practices in archaeological computational modelling,
- and, in the long term, we hope to bring simulation and other complexity science methods into mainstream archaeological practice.
To join the SIG simply sign up to the mailing list and join us at the sessions and workshops dedicated to simulation and complexity science at CAA 2016 in Oslo!
— posted on behalf of SIG leaders Florencia del Castillo, Iza Romanowska and Juan Antonio Barceló
April 15, 2015
A beautiful day in sunny San Francisco, and the lobby of the Hilton hotel is packed with thousands of archaeologists. Can you think of anything more unusual? This must be the SAAs: the annual meeting of American archaeologists. The biggest archaeology conference in the world as far as I know, with a bible-sized program book. Do you find it difficult to navigate your way through the three days of millions of parallel sessions? Don’t worry, just follow my selection of sessions and you’ll be guaranteed to see the best SAA has to offer (read: everything even vaguely related to networks and computers with a hint of archaeology, and some gender studies too).
Thursday April 16:
5: Forum: diverse digital archaeologies – A CAA-NA and DDIG event (8AM)
48: General session: contributions to modelling in Archaeology (10:30AM)
71: Forum: Gender disparities in research grant submissions (1PM)
73: Symposium: SimulPast – Simulating the past to understand human behaviour (1PM)
84: Symposium: simulating social complexity to understand the archaeological past (1PM) I’m in this one! Shawn Graham and I will present on modelling the Roman economy –> fascinating!
103: General session: GIS, remote sensing, and archaeological mapping studies (2:30PM)
Friday April 17:
200: Symposium: macroscopic approaches to archaeological histories: insights into archaeological practice from digital methods (10:30AM) I am in this session as well! Will be talking about citation networks.
221: Electric symposium: open methods in archaeology: how to encourage reproducible research as the default practice (1PM)
Lightning talks on Digital Archaeology (8PM)
Saturday April 18:
289: Mind the gap: archaeological approaches to null data spaces (8AM)
April 7, 2015
The Pelagios project has been providing the Humanities with linked data goodness for a few years now. This year the project will host a two-day colloquium that will be of interest to those reading this blog. More details below.
When? 20-21 July 2015
Where? King’s College London
The Pelagios project is pleased to announce a two-day colloquium on the subject of “Linked Pasts”. Bringing together leading exponents of Linked Data from across the Humanities and Cultural Heritage sector, we address some of the challenges to developing a digital ecosystem of online open materials, through two days of position papers, discussion and breakout group activity. Day 1 will tackle the themes of Time, Geo and People, and issues of Open Data, Classification Schemes and Infrastructure. Day 2 will be devoted to two parallel structured activities, one exploring Niches (space, time, people), and the other Nutrition Cycles (open data, classification, infrastructure). For details of the line up of talks and contributors, see below.
Venue and date: The Great Hall, KCL (Strand Campus), 20-21 July 2015
Welcome – Pelagios: A Linked Pasts Ecosystem?
Keynote – Sebastian Heath (NYU), TBA
Time – Ryan Shaw (UNC), An Ecosystem of Time Periods: PeriodO (http://perio.do/
Geo – Ruth Mostern (UC Merced), An Ecosystem of Places: Gazetteers
Open Data – Mia Ridge (OU), Trends and Practice within Cultural Heritage
Session 3: Towards an Infrastructure
Structured Activity 1: Niches (Space, Time, People)
Structured Activity 2: Nutrition Cycles (Open Data, Classification, Infrastructure)
Wrap up: feedback, next steps + community actions
April 4, 2015
The awesome team at the ‘Six degrees of spaghetti monsters’ blog have recently published an interview with myself. You’ll notice from the questions that it’s not your average interview, for a start there is way too much talk about networks for it to be average. But the questions also ranged from Harry Potter to centrality measures, and the blog’s editors’ replies touched on James Bond, Hitler and Caribbean beer. So if you wanna know some stuff about me that you actually don’t wanna know, read the interview here.