CFP archaeological and historical networks session at EUSN Mainz

February 7, 2017


The European social networks conference will host its third edition in Mainz. Historical and archaeological networks have been represented every time, and it’s a good venue to get technical feedback on your work. This year a session on historical and archaeological networks will be chaired by Aline Deicke, Martin Stark, and Marten Düring. I can definitely recommend presenting your work there.

Deadline CFP: 31 March 2017

CfP: EUSN 2017 in Mainz with session on historical and archaeological networks, deadline: March 31st
Organized session at the 3rd European Conference on Social Networks at Johannes
Gutenberg-University Mainz, 26.-29. September 2017
Call for Presentations
“Networks in Archaeology and History”
Over the last decades, network analysis has made its way from a fringe
theory to an established methodology in archaeological and historical
research that goes beyond a purely metaphorical use of the network term. A
substantial number of studies on different topics and periods have shown
that network theories and methods derived from other disciplines (e.g.
sociology, economics, physics) can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies
of historical and archaeological sources. Yet in many of these initial
studies, important methodological concerns regarding the underlying sources,
missing data, data standardization and representation of networks in space
and time have not been adequately acknowledged and sometimes even completely
In recent years, archeologists and historians – often in collaboration and
in exchange with scholars from other disciplines – have taken on the
challenge to address these methodological concerns and to adapt and refine
network methods and network theory for archaeological and historical
research. The aim of this session is to further develop such
transdisciplinary collaboration between historians, archaeologists and the
EUSN research community.
The session invites contributions from researchers applying methods of
formal network analysis in archaeological or historical research. A special
emphasis of the session will be on the unique challenges that arise in the
domain- specific application of these research methods. We welcome
submissions on any period, geographical area or topic. The authors may be
historians or archaeologists as well as scholars from other disciplines
working with historical or archeological data.
Abstract submission:
Please hand in your abstract via the conference website (http:// and indicate the name of the session: “Networks
in Archaeology and History”.
Abstract submission deadline is March 31st.
Session organizers:
Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Martin Stark (ILS Research Institute, Aachen)
Marten Düring (University of Luxembourg)

Networks session at EAA, few slots left

January 26, 2017

maastrichtAn archaeological networks session at the European Archaeology Association conference has become an annual thing. That makes me happy! This year, a discussion session is organised focusing on archaeological networks and social interaction. Carl Knappett will be the keynote presenter, and there are still a few slots available to present, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the organisers.

Where? Maastricht, Netherlands

Deadline CFP: March 1st 2017

Dear all,

For our upcoming session at the annual conference of the European Association of Archaeologists, August 30th- September, 3rd 2017 in Maastricht (NL) (see the conference website:, we have a few slots available in our session:

Archaeological networks and social interaction. Towards an application of network analysis and network concepts in social archaeology

The key note lecture for the session will be given by CARL KNAPPETT.

The session’s format is “discussion session”, which means that the participants read the key note paper, that will be made available ca. one month before the conference takes place, and the participants next engage in their own presentation with the issues outlined in the key note paper.

We are seeking contributions that present a case study which applies formal network analysis to study social interaction in the past (see the session’s full abstract below). We are especially interested in studies on the margins of the Classical World/late Antique/Medieval or early modern contexts in or outside Europe.

If you are interested in participating please send an abstract of ca. 500 words plus a short cv listing your most important recent publications to both and BEFORE MARCH 1st 2017 (late submissions will not be considered).

Please note that the session will be published afterwards and that we are seeking original and unpublished work.



Archaeological networks and social interaction. Towards an application of network analysis and network concepts in social archaeology.

Formal network analysis has been increasingly applied during the last decade in archaeology, and made important contributions to understanding a variety of regional phenomena and inter-site interaction. Archaeological sites or contexts form natural nodes and allow 1 for a relatively easy conceptualisation of a research question in network terms. However, as acknowledged in one of the latest major contributions to network analysis in archaeology,2 network studies that focus on interaction between individuals or groups of people, rather than sites or settlements are much more scarce. Most current archaeological network analysis is either spatial in nature, or has a major spatial component in its analysis. Archaeology is, of course, as much a social science as it is a discipline that studies past uses of space and landscape. We claim that, with regards the former , the potential of network analysis to contribute to the study of past societies, past social interaction and social change has not yet been fully explored. We aim to fill the gap by discussing how network analysis can contribute to understanding past human societies. The use of formal network approaches to study larger datasets, e.g necropoleis, settlements, or cultic contexts, allows a move away from the typochronological focus that has dominated archaeology.
However, interaction between humans and of humans with their material world is more complex and cannot be plotted as easily on a map as is normally done for artefact distributions. Assumptions about the meaning of material culture and its role in society need to be made, in order to study the meaning of changes behind their particular configurations.
This session explores the theoretical and practical aspects of using network analysis for studying past human societies, social interaction, power, and social change. Contributors discuss what social questions they are trying to address, what datasets they use, how they translate them into a network, and what conclusions they draw from the analysis of the network. The goal of the session is to pre-discuss contributions that, after revision based on the feedback during the session, will constitute a book – to be published with an international publishing house.

MANIFESTO! for the study of ancient Mediterranean maritime networks

December 12, 2014


MANIFESTO! Somehow I feel like this word should always be written in capitals and accompanied by an exclamation mark. I feel the same about the word REVOLUTION! I recently co-authored a manifesto for the first time, but the feeling was less revolutionary than I thought it would be. In November 2013 I attended a meeting at the University of Toronto, hosted by Justin Leidwanger and Carl Knappett. The meeting aimed to discuss network approaches to the study of maritime connectivity in the ancient Mediterranean. It brought together a group of archaeologists, historians and physicists working either in the Mediterranean or experienced with network approaches to the study of the past. An edited volume collecting all papers presented at this meeting is being prepared. But the key findings of our discussions were recently published in Antiquity+ as ‘A manifesto for the study of ancient Mediterranean maritime networks‘.

The manifesto has a very clear focus on the past phenomena that fall under the rather generic term ‘maritime connectivity’. A useful but simplifying definition of this term would be: ways in which people, places, and things separated by water were related. The manifesto makes methodological and theoretical suggestions that can be assembled into a research framework that will allow us to better understand past maritime connectivity. It is important to stress again that connectivity and past networks are referred to and treated in the manifesto as past phenomena, as things that actually happened or existed in the past. Although the authors see potential for approaches that conceptualise and formalise past connectivity as network concepts and data, it is not our main aim to understand these concepts and data. We hope to better understand the past social phenomena we are interested in, and we argue that network methods and theories offer some potential to help us do so. Two quotes from the manifesto (which raise discussion points I am particularly passionate about) should suffice to illustrate this focus: “formulating explicitly social questions should necessarily precede examination of spatial networks” and there is a “need to review critically our assumptions concerning the social function of maritime connectivity and the actors involved in these networks”.

The manifesto concludes by stressing the virtue of multi-vocality: there is no need for a single homogeneous maritime network studies approach. I believe this is a cautious and constructive attitude, in particular in light of the novelty of applying network methods and theories in our disciplines. We really have not yet discovered the full potential of these approaches for our disciplines. Until we have, we need to think and do creatively! And most importantly, evaluate critically and constructively! MANIFESTO!

The full manifesto is available for free on the Antiquity website.

In this oneoff, extended Project Gallery article, the participants of a recent workshop jointly present a manifesto for the study of ancient Mediterranean maritime connectivity. Reviewing the advantages and perils of network modelling, they advance conceptual and methodological frameworks for the productive study of seaborne connectivity. They show how progressive research methods can overcome some of the problems encountered when working with uneven datasets spanning large geographical regions and long periods of time. The manifesto suggests research directions that could better inform our interpretations of human connections, both within and beyond the Mediterranean. All references to the authors’ workshop papers in the text denote their oral presentations at the ‘Networks of Maritime Connectivity in the Ancient Mediterranean’ workshop held at the University of Toronto in November 2013.