We are pleased to announce a call for abstracts for our session on “Evolution of Cultural Complexity” at the annual “Conference on Complex System”. The Conference on Complex System will takes place this year in Cancun, Mexico, from the 17th to the 22nd of September. Our session will take pace on the 21st of September.Human sociocultural evolution has been documented throughout the history of humans and earlier hominins. This evolution manifests itself through development from tools as simple as a rock used to break nuts, to something as complex as a spaceship able to land man on other planets. Equally, we have witnessed evolution of human population towards complex multilevel social organisation.Although cases of decrease and loss of this type of complexity have been reported, in global terms it tends to increase with time. Despite its significance, the conditions and the factors driving this increase are still poorly understood and subject to debate. Different hypothesis trying to explain the rise of sociocultural complexity in human societies have been proposed (demographic factor, cognitive component, historical contingency…) but so far no consensus has been reached.Here we raise a number of questions:
- Can we better define sociocultural complexity and confirm its general tendency to increase over the course of human history?
- What are the main factors enabling an increase of cultural complexity?
- Are there reliable way to measure the complexity in material culture and social organisation constructs, that is?
- How can we quantify and compare the impact of different factors?
- What causes a loss of cultural complexity in a society? And how often these losses occurred in the past?In this satellite meeting we want to bring together a community of researchers coming from different scientific domains and interested in different aspect of the evolution of social and cultural complexity. From archaeologists, to linguists, social scientists, historians and artificial intelligence specialists – the topic of sociocultural complexity transgresses traditional discipline boundaries. We want to establish and promote a constructive dialogue incorporating different perspectives: theoretical as well as empirical approaches, research based on historical and archaeological sources, as well as actual evidences and contemporary theories.Submissions will be made by sending an abstract in PDF (maximum 250 words) via Easychair here: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=eec2017 . The deadline for abstract submission is on the 26th of May 2017. The contributions to this satellite will be evaluated by the scientific committee through a peer review process that will evaluate the scientific quality and the relevance to the goal of this session. Notification of accepted abstracts will be communicated by the 4th of June 2017.Please find more details on the following website: https://ccs17.bsc.es/We strongly encourage you to participatePlease help us to spread the word!on behalf of the organisers,Iza Romanowska
Simulation approaches are slowly becoming more mainstream in our discipline, rightly so! This trend will very much be supported by a new book series published by Springer: “Simulating the Past”. I would love to see some network/simulation books in the series. Have an idea for a book in this series? Get in touch with the editors! 1000229 [at] uab [dot] cat
More details here:
In collaboration with Springer Verlag, we are planning a new book series (“Simulating the Past”) to publish relevant research on the methodological and theoretical aspects of computer simulation in archaeological and historical contexts. Our goal is to adress the theoretical, technichal and technological aspects of social sciences explanation, in special those aspects related with historical time, in order to promote deeper understanding and collaboration in the study of past human behavior and history. We would like to find good monographs, PhD dissertations, or ideas for edited volumes from different disciplinary backgrounds: history, ecology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, computer science and complex systems. Contributions are welcomed on all subjects (from Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography and Political or Economic History) using different approaches to social simulation and presenting case studies from any region of the world and any prehistoric or historic period. Theoretical aspects of social and cultural evolution are also encouraged.
The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Applications of computational modeling in archaeology and history
• Social organization and change
• Cultural transmission and evolution
• Long term socio-ecology
• Human adaptation and climate change
• Cooperation and social interaction
• Trade and exchange
• Origins of State
• Origins of Agriculture
• Economic History
• History of War and Conflict
• Paleolithic, Neolithic , Ages of Metals
• Greek and Roman History
• Medieval History
• Modern History
If you have an already written text, or do you plan to write such a text in the next two years, we would like to read it and consider for publication with the imprint of Springer Verlag.
The provisional Editorial Board has the follwoing experts in the field:
Series Editor: Juan A. Barceló (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona),
Editorial Board: Michael Barton (Arizona State University), Claudio Cioffi-Revilla (George Mason University), André Costopoulos (McGill University), Sergey Gavrilets (University of Tennessee), Marco Janssen (Arizona State University), Tim Kohler (Washington State University), Steven Shennan (University College, London), Flaminio Squazzoni (University of Brescia), William J. Turkel (Western Ontario University, Canada).
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
Time to announce the next in our series of The Connected Past conferences. This time we will go to Imperial College London where Tim Evans and Ray Rivers will host us at the physics department. This edition of The Connected Past will focus in particular on how the challenges archaeologists are faced with when trying to understand human behaviour using fragmentary material data might be of interest to physicists. We hope this event will be another great opportunity for scholars from different disciplines to meet, share their ideas and problems, and hopefully collaborate to try to solve these issues. We will also organise a half-day hands-on workshop on network science for archaeologists. Keep an eye out for the announcement next month.
The Connected Past: archaeological challenges and complexity – a one and a half day multi-disciplinary meeting to explore how concepts and techniques from network- and complexity science can be used to study archaeological data. These challenges include the use of material data as proxy evidence for past human behaviour, questions about long-term processes of social change, and the fragmentary nature of archaeological data. We aim to bring together physical scientists and archaeologists in order to highlight the challenges posed by archaeological data and research questions, and explore collaborative ways of tackling them using perspectives drawn from network and complexity science.
The meeting will take place on the afternoon of Monday 8th September and all day Tuesday 9th September at Imperial College London. A hands-on introductory workshop is planned for the morning of Monday 8th September – details to be announced.
Call for Papers. We are looking for 20 to 30 minute contributions and are inviting researchers from any relevant field to submit a one page abstract in pdf format. This should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The abstract should contain the title, name of proposed speaker and names of any additional authors and their associated institutions, along with a brief abstract (200-500 words). Any additional information (figure, links, bibliography, etc.) may be included within the one page limit.
Submission deadline: 20th June 2014
Decisions announced: 4th July 2014
Keynote talks. The meeting will feature keynote talks by Alan Wilson, University College London, and Ulrik Brandes, University Konstanz (a further additional keynote will be announced soon). Shorter talks will be given by other invited speakers and from researchers submitting abstracts. Finally, at a later date we will issue a call for some quick fire (five minute) talks to allow researchers at all stages of their career to participate.
Registration Fee. The registration fee is £45 (£22.50 for students) as a contribution towards local expenses. This will cover lunch on the Tuesday, coffee/tea breaks plus drinks at the informal social event on the Monday evening. Registration will open in June.
Travel Bursaries. Some support is available to cover travel and other costs of UK-based researchers attending the meeting. If you wish to be considered for such support, please send a request explaining why you should be considered for a bursary to the same address as for papers with the subject “Bursary application [your name]” (email@example.com). Bursaries will be given out from 20th June 2014 onwards while funds remain.
Further Information. The meeting is organised as part of The Connected Past series of events, funded in part by EPSRC. Full details are available on the web site at
On Twitter follow the hashtag #tcp2014
Organisers. Tim Evans (Chair), Ray Rivers, Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward.
The second call for papers is out for the ‘Simulating the past to understand human history’ conference, with further information on the pre-conference published proceedings and post-conference publication plans. More info here:
From September 1st to 5th, 2014, the European Social Simulation Association (http://www.essa.eu.org/) will celebrate its annual meeting in Barcelona (Spain), at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (www.uab.cat):
On that occasion there will be the satellite conference, organized in collaboration with the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Society (http://caaconference.org/about/):
SIMULATING THE PAST TO UNDERSTAND HUMAN HISTORY
The conference is organized with the contribution of the SimulPast project (www.simulpast.es), a 5-year exploratory research project funded by the Spanish Government (MICINN, CSD2010-00034) that aims at developing an innovative and interdisciplinary methodological framework to model and simulate ancient societies and their relationship with environmental transformations. To achieve these aims, SimulPast integrates knowledge from diverse fields covering humanities, social, computational and ecological sciences within a national and international network.
The conference intention is to showcase the result of the SimulPast project together with current international research on the methodological and theoretical aspects of computer simulation in archaeological and historical contexts. The conference will bring together scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds (history, ecology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, computer science and complex systems) in order to promote deeper understanding and collaboration in the study of past human behavior and history.
Invited Keynote speakers:
Dr. Timothy A. Kohler (Washington State University) (http://libarts.wsu.edu/anthro/faculty/kohler.html), and
Joshua M. Epstein (Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences (CAM) at Johns Hopkins University) (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/emergencymedicine/Faculty/JHH/EPSTEIN_joshua.html)
Applications are welcomed on all subjects (from Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography and Political or Economic History) using different approaches to social simulation and presenting case studies from any region of the world and any prehistoric or historic period. Theoretical aspects of social and cultural evolution are also encouraged.
The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
Applications of computational modeling in archaeology and history
Social organization and change
Cultural transmission and evolution
Long term socio-ecology
Human adaptation and climate change
Cooperation and social interaction
Trade and exchange
Origins of State
Origins of Agriculture
History of War and Conflict
Ages of Metals
Greek and Roman History
The Conference submission policy is:
Abstracts for oral presentations and posters (1000 words), Deadline: April, 11th., 2014 https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=socialsimulation2014
Once accepted, authors can submit full papers for the digital publication as a CEUR Workshop Proceedings Online for Scientific Workshops (with ISBN), and will be available before the Conference begins. Abstracts for oral presentations, posters and papers will also be freely available through Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Digital Repository, and will be submitted for indexation by Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index (ISI) – Web of Science. Published contributions must have at least one author who has registered for the conference with payment by July 31th 2014 for the paper to appear in the proceedings. The proper link will be available in the next days. We apologize for the delay in updating the website!
There are three kinds of published contributions:
Full papers (10000 words)
Extended abstracts (4000 words
Posters (A3 format)
Deadline for Full papers, Extended Abstracts and Posters, June 15th.2014.
After the conference, a selection of the most relevant papers will be published as a book or special issue of a specialized journal. We are in the process of selecting the most suitable publisher: Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, Routledge, Francis & Taylor, Springer, etc.
For more information do not hesitate to contact the local organizers (firstname.lastname@example.org). Detailed information, templates for submitting papers and EasyChair links for submissions and registration will be available at: http://www.essa2014.eu/. Simulating the Past to Understand Human History is a special track of the SOCIAL SIMULATION-2014 Conference, so you should register at this conference to attend our special workshop. Deadlines, registration and submission procedures are the same for all satellite conferences at this event.
Given the coincidence with Union Internationale des Sciences Prehistoriques et Protohistoriques Meeting in Burgos (Spain) (http://www.burgos2014uispp.com), every effort will be made in order to allow interested researchers to assist to both Conferences. Burgos is well connected with Barcelona by plane (from Valladolid) or by train.
Juan A. BARCELO Associate Professor of Quantitative Archaeology Dept. Prehistory. Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona E-08193 Bellaterra Spain tel. +34935814335 personal web page: http://gent.uab.cat/barcelo
Next Tuesday (21-01-2014) Stefani Crabtree will give a talk entitled ‘A Tale of Two Villages: How Food Exchange Led to Aggregation in the American Southwest’ in the Archaeological Computing Research Group here in Southampton. This talk will be livestreamed via this URL, so no reason not to watch this promising talk! Stef’s work will be of interest to all of us who love their networks, adore agent-based-modelling, have a passion for the archaeology of the US Southwest … or those who just enjoy a great talk by an inspiring researcher.
When? Tuesday 21 January 2014 5pm GMT
Where? Southampton and online!
Stefani’s abstract is attached below, and have a look at the poster for her talk by clicking on the image above.
Want to know more about the research done at the Archaeological Computing Research Group? We’ve been pretty good in sharing our work on our group’s blog lately, so check it out there!
In this talk I use computer simulation to explore the extent to which food-sharing practices would have been instrumental for the survival of Ancestral Pueblo people across the patchy landscape of the Prehispanic American Southwest. Social networks would have created stable bonds among these exchanging individuals, further helping the survival of those individuals and their progeny. Specifically, I engage Sahlins’s notion of balanced reciprocal exchange networks (BRN; when unrelated individuals rely upon reputation building to inform exchange relationships) within the experimental test-bed of the Village Ecodynamics Project’s agent-based simulation.
Southampton has a great centre for Complexity Science, and this summer they will be hosting the ‘Student Conference on Complexity Science‘! This is the fourth edition of the conference (I think) but this is the very first time with an open call for papers and sessions! The conference is organised in turn by one of the UK Complexity Science Doctoral Training Centres, and it features an extremely eclectic mix of student papers and disciplines. Including archaeology of course. In fact, archaeologist Iza Romanowska is one of the co-ordinators of the event. The SCCS is all over the social-media channels, for more info you can check out their website, Facebook page, follow them on Twitter or Youtube channel. Keynotes include Nigel Gilbert (sociologist, editor of Journal of Social Systems Simulation) and Eörs Szathmáry (evolutionary biologist).
Dates for your calendar:
Call for Sessions: 12 p.m. (UTC) 27th Jan 2014
Call for Papers opens: 17th Feb 2014
Call for Papers: 12 p.m. (UTC) 26th May 2014
Papers announced: 16th Jun 2014
SCCS 2014: 19th-22nd Aug 2014
We would like to draw your attention to a session on complex systems simulation in archaeology as part of the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference in Paris, France, this April.
If you have created a computational model (Agent-based, mathematical, statistical, network analysis) within the broad topic of complex systems in archaeology, developed a new technique or particularly innovative solution to one of the recurrent issues in modelling, if you think you might have some new insights into the theoretical underpinnings of using simulations and complexity science in archaeology then we would like to hear more about it
We are organising a session on complex systems and computational models in archaeology: “S25. Agents, Networks, Equations and Complexity: the potential and challenges of complex systems simulation”. We hope to bring together a wide variety of researchers working on a diverse case studies using techniques from all spectrum of complexity science. The goal of this session is to showcase the best applications, discuss the potential and challenges and sketch out the long-term outlook for applications of simulation techniques in archaeology. For further information see the abstract below.
The call for papers closes on the 31st of October 2013. To submit an abstract, please, go to this website, create your user account, click on ‘submissions’ under the heading ‘My Space’ in the left hand side menu and follow the instructions on screen. Please do not forget to choose “S25. Agents, Networks, Equations and Complexity: the potential and challenges of complex systems simulation” from the dropdown menu “Topic”.
We will also be running a workshop on computational modelling in archaeology, which you are all welcome to join. More information about the workshop will follow in January when the workshop registration will open.
Hope to see you in Paris.
Ben, Iza, Enrico, Tom
Ben Davies (Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland)
Iza Romanowska (Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, University of Southampton)
Enrico Crema (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)
Tom Brughmans (Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton)
S25 Agents, Networks, Equations and Complexity: the potential and challenges of complex systems simulation
Chairs : Benjamin Davies 1, Iza Romanowska 2, Enrico Crema 3, Tom Brughmans 2
1 : The University of Auckland – Website
2 : University of Southampton – Website
3 : University College London – Website
Simulation is not new in archaeology. However, the last decade knew an increased focus among archaeologists in the use of simple computational models used to evaluate processes which may have operated in the past. Rather than all-encompassing reconstructions of the prehistoric world, models have been used as ‘virtual labs’ or ‘tools to think with’, permitting archaeologists to explore hypothetical processes that give rise to archaeologically attested structures. Computational modelling techniques such as equation-based, statistical, agent-based and network-based modelling are becoming popular for quickly testing conceptual models, creating new research questions and better understand the workings of complex systems. Complexity science perspectives offer archaeology a wide set of modelling and analytical approaches which recognise the actions of individual agents on different scales who collectively and continually create new cultural properties.
This session aims to bring together complex systems simulation applications in archaeology. We invite innovative and critical applications in analytical and statistical modelling, ABM, network analysis and other methods performed under the broad umbrella of complexity science. We hope this session will spark creative and insightful discussion on the potentials and limitations of complexity science, its many simulation techniques and the future of modelling in archaeology.
The CAA (computer applications and quantitative methods in archaeology) conference submission system has just opened and the deadline to submit papers is 10 October. Download the CFP and list of sessions here. I am involved in one session and one workshop this year, both with Iza Romanowska, Carolin Vegvari and Eugene Ch’ng. Our papers session is entitled “S9. Complex systems simulation in archaeology” and our hands-on workshop “W1. Complex Systems and Agent-Based Modelling in Archaeology”. Feel free to submit an abstract to the session. We hope we will spark some interest in complexity and good discussion with both the session and workshop. We invite innovative and critical applications in analytical modelling, ABM, network analysis and other methods performed in a complexity science approach. So do not hesitate to submit an abstract and join discussions in Perth!
Here you can read the abstract of the paper session and of the workshop (below):
S9. Complex systems simulation in archaeology. Chairs: I. Romanowska, T. Brughmans. Discussants: E. Ch’ng, C. Vegvari Format: Paper presentation (LP)
A complex system is “a system in which large networks of components with no central control and simple rules of operation give rise to complex collective behaviour, sophisticated information processing, and adaptation via learning or evolution.” Mitchell 2009: 14. Complexity has been proclaimed as a new paradigm shift in science almost half a century ago. It developed as a response to the reductionist approach of René Descartes and the idea of a ‘clockwork universe’ that dominated past thinking for many centuries. Complexity brings a fresh alternative to this mechanistic approach. Complex Systems exist in every hierarchy of our world, from the molecular, to individual organisms, and from community to the global environment. This is why researchers in many disciplines, including archaeology, found particularly appealing the idea that global patterns can emerge in the absence of central control through interaction between local elements governed by simple rules (Kohler 2012). As a result, the unifying phrase ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ (Aristotle, Metaphysica 10f-1045a) became the common ground for scholars in many disciplines.
Due to the complex nature of interactions, the study of complex systems requires computational tools such as equation-based modelling, agent-based modelling (ABM) and complex network analysis. In recent years the number of archaeological applications of complex systems simulation has increased significantly, not in the least due to a wider availability of computing power and user-friendly software alternatives. The real strength of these tools lies in their ability to explore hypothetical processes that give rise to archaeologically attested structures. They require archaeological assumptions to be made explicit and very often force researchers to present them in quantifiable form. For example, vague concepts such as ‘social coherence’, ‘connectivity’ or even seemingly explicit ‘dispersal rates’, often have to be given numeric values if they are to be integrated into computational models. Computational tools also allow for testing alternative hypotheses by creating ‘virtual labs’ in which archaeologists can test and eliminate models which, although superficially logical, are not plausible.
The main contribution that complexity science perspectives have to offer archaeology is the wide set of modelling and analytical approaches which recognise the actions of individual agents who collectively and continually create new cultural properties. Indeed, it has been argued that a complexity science perspective incorporates the advantages of culture historical, processual and post-processual paradigms in archaeology (Bentley and Maschner 2003; Bintliff 2008). Quantifiable complex systems simulations and mathematical modelling can provide a way to bridge the gap between the reductionist approach and the constructionist study of the related whole (Bentley and Maschner 2003).
This session aims to reflect upon and build on the recent surge of complex systems simulation applications in archaeology. Innovative and critical applications in analytical modelling, ABM, network analysis and other methods performed in a complexity science approach are welcomed. We hope this session will spark creative and insightful discussion on the potential and limitations of complexity science, possible applications, tools as well as its theoretical implications.
W1. Complex Systems and Agent-Based Modelling in Archaeology. Chairs: E. Ch’ng, C. Vegvari. Discussants: I. Romanowska, T. Brughmans
Modelling in various forms has always been an integral part of archaeology. In the broadest sense, archaeology is the study of human activities in the past, and a model is a simplified representation of reality. As a map is a useful abstract of the physical world that allows us to see aspects of the world we chose to, so a computational model distils reality into a few key features, leaving out unnecessary details so as to let us see connections. Human societies in their environmental context can be considered as complex systems. Complex systems are systems with many interacting parts, they are found in every hierarchy of the universe, from the molecular level to large planetary systems within which life and humanity with its cultural developments occur. Formal modelling can help archaeologists to identify the relationships between elements within a complex socio-environmental system in that particular hierarchy. Simulating large populations and non-linear interactions are computationally expensive. In recent years, however, the introduction of new mathematical techniques, rapid advances in computation, and modelling tools has greatly enhanced the potential of complex systems analysis in archaeology. Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) is one of these new methods and has become highly popular with archaeologists. In Agent-Based Modelling, human individuals in ancient societies are modelled as individual agents. The interaction of agents with each other and with their environment can give rise to emergent properties and self-organisation at the macro level – the distribution of wealth within a society, the forming of cohesive groups, population movements in climate change, the development of culture, and the evolution of landscape use are among the examples. Thus, the application of Agent-Based Models to hypothesis testing in archaeology becomes part of the question. The ability to construct various models and run hundreds of simulation in order to see the general developmental trend can provide us with new knowledge impossible in traditional approaches. Another advantage of agent-based models over other mathematical methods is that they can easily model, or capture heterogeneity within these systems, such as the different characteristics (personalities, gender, age, size, etc), preferences (coastal, in-land, food, fashion), and dynamics (microstates of position and orientation).
We would like to invite archaeologists new to complex systems and Agent-Based Modelling for an introductory workshop on Complex Systems and Agent-Based Modelling in archaeology. The workshop introduces the concept of Complexity in archaeology, drawing relationships between Information, Computation and Complexity. The practicality of the workshop leads beginners in building simple agent- based models and provides a means to build more complex simulations after. Participants knowledgeable in Complexity wishing to gain insights on real-world applications of Complexity will benefit from this workshop. Participants will get the opportunity to experiment with simple models and draw conclusions from analysis of simulations of those models. Programming experience is not required as the workshop leads beginners from the ground up in modelling tools.