The Connected Past CFP deadline 21 May and registration open now!

Registration for The Connected Past conference and workshop is now open:

Don’t forget to send in your abstracts: call for papers deadline 21 May. Further information below:

Call for papers The Connected Past 2017, August 24-25th 2017, Bournemouth University (UK)

The Connected Past 2017: The Future of Past Networks? 

August 24-25th 2017 

Bournemouth University (UK) 

August 22-23rd 2017 Practical Networks Workshop

 The Connected Past 2017 is a multi-disciplinary, international two-day conference that aims to provide a friendly and informal platform for exploring the use of network research in the study of the human past. 

 It will be preceded by a two-day practical workshop offering hands-on experience with a range of network science methods.

Deadline call for papers: May 21, 2017

Notification of acceptance: May 29, 2017

Conference registration (includes coffee breaks and lunch): £35

Workshop registration (includes coffee breaks): £20

Keynotes: Eleftheria Paliou and discussant Chris Tilley (tbc)

Organisers: Fiona Coward, Anna Collar & Tom Brughmans

Call for Papers

Five years have passed since the first Connected Past conference (Southampton 2012) brought together scholars working in archaeology, history, physics, mathematics and computer science to discuss how network methods, models and thinking might be used to enhance our understanding of the human past. Much has happened in these intervening years: applications of network analysis have expanded rapidly; a number of collected volumes dealing explicitly with network analysis of the past have been published (e.g. The Connected Past, OUP 2016; Special Issue of the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 2015; Network Analysis in Archaeology, OUP 2013); and several dedicated groups of scholars are thriving, including the Connected Past itself which hosted conferences in Paris and London, but also the Historical Network Research group, Res-Hist and others. The Connected Past 2017 will provide an opportunity to take stock of the developments of the past five years and to discuss the future of network research in archaeology and history. How will new network models, methods and thinking shape the ways we study the past? 

We welcome submissions of abstracts that address the challenges posed by the use of or apply network approaches in historical/archaeological research contexts, welcoming case studies drawn from all periods and places. Topics might include, but are not limited to: 

        Missing and incomplete data in archaeological and historical networks

        Networks, space and place

        Network change over time

        What kinds of data can archaeologists and historians use to reconstruct past networks and what kinds of issues ensue?

        Categories in the past vs categories in our analysis: etic or emic, pre-determined or emergent?

        Formal network analysis vs qualitative network approaches: pros, cons, potential, limitations

Please submit your abstract limited to 250 words before midnight (GMT) of May 21st 2017 to  

 NB. If there is sufficient demand, we will endeavour to organise a crêche for delegates’ children (under 3). An extra fee may be payable for this, although fee-waivers may be available in certain circumstances. Further details would be provided in due course. In order to allow us to assess demand, please let us know in advance if this would be useful for you.  

Archaeological and historical network analysts unite!

315px-I_Need_You_on_the_Job_Every_Day_-_NARA_-_534704Network science is becoming more commonly applied in both archaeology and history. But this is not happening without difficulties. Pioneers in both disciplines are now trying to overcome the numerous challenges that still surround their use of network techniques: how to deal with fragmentary data, performing analyses over extremely long time spans, using material data in network science to understand past human behaviour, …. I believe archaeologists and historians should face these challenges together! Through collaboration we might come to a better understanding of the use of network science in our disciplines much faster. In a recently published article in Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward, Claire Lemercier and myself show how many of the challenges that archaeologists and historians have identified are actually not discipline-specific: we CAN collaborate to tackle them together. Since this article is in French I wanted to provide an English summary of our argumentation here (written with my co-authors). The full article can be downloaded on Academia or through my bibliography page.


One of the key aspects of historical sources, compared to archaeological sources, is that the former often allow for the identification of past individuals, by name, and by role. This richness of data at the individual level means that network analytical methods can be very powerful in the illumination of past social networks and the details of particular places and times – offering, where the data are good enough, a window onto past social lives and interactions, and allowing the synchronic analysis of social networks at a particular moment in time.

However, the issues most commonly mentioned by historical network analysts also concern problematic and incomplete data. These issues are undeniably more significant for archaeology and history than for contemporary social sciences such as sociology. But we should not overestimate their potential impact. Even sociological research in contemporary populations face similar issues where full data may not be available for a variety of reasons, and although the problems are clearly more fundamental in history and archaeology, this also means that researchers in both disciplines have long been accustomed to dealing with, and developing methods at least partially compensating for, partial and biased datasets. As a result, this may be one important area where archaeology and history can contribute its expertise to other disciplines working with imperfect network data.


In contrast to history, archaeology is much less frequently furnished with such focused evidence. In archaeology, individuals are typically identified indirectly through the material remains they leave behind, and even where they can be identified, they often remain without names or specified roles.  Not only is archaeological data typically not ‘individualized’, but it can also rarely be attributed an exact date. Most archaeological data typically has date ranges with differing probabilities attached to them, making the establishment of contemporaneity between entities/potential nodes in networks (e.g. individuals; events; settlements) highly problematic. Because of this, archaeologists have tended to focus on the synchronic study of human behavioural change over the long-term, rather than on the diachronic examination of behaviour and interaction. A further characteristic of archaeological data is that it is also likely to be more strongly geographically grounded. Indeed, the geographical location of archaeological data is often among the few pieces of information archaeologists possess. Finally, network analytical methods in archaeology tend to focus most closely on long-term changes in the everyday lives of past peoples.

Common challenges in archaeology and history

Alongside these differences, there are also a number of common challenges facing archaeology and history, as ultimately both disciplines aim to achieve similar goals relating to understanding past interactions and processes.

The most significant of these common challenges are the fragmentary datasets that often characterize both disciplines; we typically deal with bad samples drawn from populations of unknown size and/or with unknown boundaries, snapshots of the past that are heavily biased by differential preservation and/or observation effects. However we argue that this does not exclude the use network techniques in our disciplines, nor does it limit us to only those research contexts for which high quality datasets are available.

A second issue facing our disciplines is that many methodological and theoretical network approaches have been developed in other disciplines to address particular research themes. As a result, they therefore function according to certain rules and/or have certain specific data requirements that might prevent straightforward applications in our disciplines.

Furthermore,  using a network approach to study a past phenomenon necessarily requires a researcher to make a series of decisions about how the parameters of that phenomenon should be represented – for example, what entities to use as nodes and what forms of relationship to model as vertices. Archaeologists and historians familiar with the analytical and visualization techniques used by researchers studying modern phenomena may find many analytical approaches and visualization techniques that are not appropriate or achievable. The past phenomena we are interested in, the kinds of questions our data allows us to ask, and the often very specific parameters of human behaviour assumed by archaeologists and historians for investigating the past, are likely to mean we will ultimately need to develop purpose-made visualization and analysis techniques. At the least we will need to acquire a critical understanding of the various methods available if we are to represent archaeological and historical network  data in appropriate ways – and indeed, to ‘read’ such visualizations and analysis results correctly.

Finally, the poor chronological control characteristic to a certain extent of historical and to a much greater extent of archaeological datasets, limits our knowledge regarding the order in which nodes and links in networks became salient and also the degree of contemporaneity between nodes. This is likely to have significant ramifications for the ways in which archaeologists and historians visualize and analyse networks, driving a need to consider ‘fuzzy’ networks, margins of error and probabilistic models, as well as the consideration of complex processes of network change and evolution over time.

Unite! Meeting the challenges together

In the recent surge of network applications in archaeology and history, it would seem that the two disciplines have thus far focused their efforts on the more obvious potential applications which mirror those most common in other disciplines, such as the identification and interpretation of ‘small-world’ network structure or the choice of datasets that are readily envisaged as or translated into network data (e.g. road and river networks). Such analyses have demonstrated the potential of the methods for archaeological and historical datasets; however, we believe that potential applications go far beyond this, and that network approaches hold a wealth of untapped potential for the study of the past. To achieve this potential, we will need to become more critical and more creative in our applications, and explore not simply what network science can offer the study of the past, but also what our disciplines offer in terms of developing that science – firstly to tackle specifically archaeological and historical questions, but ultimately to broaden the scope of the science itself as methodologies specifically developed for use in archaeological and historical contexts are taken up for use in tackling similar questions in other disciplines.

TCP (2013_05_12 19_17_14 UTC)Initiatives like The Connected Past and Historical Network Research offer a platform that would allow for exactly this kind of interaction between network scientists and those applying network science to the study of the past. The challenges individual members were encountering in our own research across archaeology and history encouraged us to consider developing a mutually supportive space in which to share concerns and problems, and to discuss ideas and approaches for moving beyond these.

We suggest that simply bringing people together through conferences, workshops, conference sessions and more informal groupings is key to fostering the dialogue between the disciplines that is so important to move forward applications of network analysis to the study of the past. Talking to each other across traditional disciplinary boundaries is vital in the ongoing development of network perspectives on the past. However, as noted above, at the same time we also need to be more sensitive to the specific demands of our disciplinary goals and our datasets and develop new network methods that suit our disciplines better. The sociological roots of most social network analysis software packages means that these are often designed and engineered to address discipline-specific research concepts that may not be appropriate for archaeology and history. SNA software has generally been created to deal with interactions between people in a modern setting – where the individual answers to questions about interactions can be documented with a degree of accuracy. As such, this software and network methodologies in general will need to be applied with care and ideally even developed from scratch for use with networks comprised of nodes which are words, texts, places or artefacts, for the characteristically fragmentary and poorly chronologically controlled datasets of archaeology and history, and for research that aims to go beyond the structuring of individual networks of contemporary nodes to investigate questions of network evolution and change. While interdisciplinary dialogue is crucial, we will need to be sensitive to the discipline-specific idiosyncracies of our data and to critique rather than adopt wholesale practices used in other fields. In this way, rather than apologizing for the ‘deficiencies’ of our datasets in comparison with those characteristic of other disciplines, we will also be able to make novel contributions to the wider field based on the new questions and challenges the study of the past offers network science.

Connected Past London: extended call for papers deadline

TCPThe deadline for submitting papers to the most amazing The Connected Past London 2014 conference has been extended until 4 July 2014. So don’t hesitate and send in your awesome research 🙂 There are bursaries available for presenters and delegates. More information can be found below or on the website:

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:

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.

Extended submission deadline: 4th July 2014 Decisions announced: 11th 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]” ( Bursaries will be given out from 4th July 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.

Few tickets still available Connected Past Paris

TCPThe free tickets to attend The Connected Past conference in Paris on 26 April are going fast but a few of them are still available. So if you would like to attend this event then grab your ticket soon via the registration page.

The Connected Past 2014 Paris is a free one-day satellite conference to CAA 2014 that brings together historians and archaeologists to discuss common themes in network analysis. The full programme with abstracts can be found on the conference website. More info and a short programme are included below.

Hope to see many of you there!

Tom, Claire, and The Connected past steering committee

The Connected Past
A satellite conference at CAA 2014, Paris

Held Saturday April 26th 2014 in Sciences Po, rooms Albert Sorel and Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, 75007 Paris (metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Rue du Bac). Building A on this map.

With the Support of Sciences Po, the DYREM research program, Médialab, the CAA committee, and the French network of historical network analysis.

Organisers: Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris), Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton), The Connected Past steering committee.

The conference will be held immediately after the CAA conference (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology), also happening in Paris, allowing participants to easily attend both – but participants from other disciplines, especially history, are also most welcome.

The conference aims to:

  • Provide a forum for the presentation of network-based research applied to archaeological or historical questions
  • Discuss the practicalities and implications of applying network perspectives and methodologies to archaeological and historical data in particular
  • Strengthen the group of researchers interested in the potential of network approaches for archaeology and history
  • Foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaborative work towards integrated analytical frameworks for understanding complex networks
  • Stimulate debate about the application of network theory and analysis within archaeology and history in particular, but also more widely, and highlight the relevance of this work for the continued development of network theory in other disciplines

There are no attendance fees. Although this event is free of charge, registration is required and the number of places is limited. Registration to the event will open once the final programme is advertised in late November, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

A “The Connected Past” practical workshop, “Introduction to network analysis for archaeologists” will also be organized during CAA2014 in Paris (see the CAA programme).

All the presentations and posters have been confirmed, but the exact programme is still subject to minor changes

Saturday 26 April

9-9.45 Welcome coffee and introduction

9.45-11 First session: Mobility through networks
Eivind Heldaas Seland: Tracing trade routes as networks: From Palmyra to the Persian Gulf in the first three centuries CE
Henrik Gerding and Per Östborn: Network analyses of the diffusion of Hellenistic fired bricks
Marie Lezowski: Cohesion through mobility : the networks of relics in 17th-century Lombardy

11-11.15 Coffee break

11.15-12.30 Second session: Dynamics and cross-period comparisons
Habiba, Jan C. Athenstädt and Ulrik Brandes: Inferring Social Dynamics from Spatio-Temporal Network Data in the US Southwest
Ana Sofia Ribeiro: Resilience in times of Early Modern financial crises: the case study of Simon Ruiz network, 1553-1606
Marion Beetschen: Scientists in Swiss Committees of Experts (1910-2010): Power and Academic Disciplines Through Networks

12.30-13.45 Lunch break

13.45-15 Third session: Cross-cultural networks
Angus A. A. Mol and Floris W. M. Keehnen: Tying up Columbus: A historical and material culture study of the networks that resulted from the first European voyages into the Caribbean (AD 1492-1504)
Francisco Apellaniz: Cooperating in Complex Environments: Cross-cultural Trade, Commercial Networks and Notarial Culture in Alexandria (Egypt) : 1350-1500
Florencia Del Castillo and Joan Anton Barceló: Inferring the intensity of Social Network from radiocarbon dated Bronze Age archaeological contexts

15-15.15 Coffee break

15-15.50 Fourth session: Political interactions
Stanley Théry: Social network analysis between Tours notables and Louis XI (1461-1483)
Laurent Beauguitte: Models of historical networks: A methodological proposal

15.50-16.45 Final session, including a very short (2 minutes) oral presentation for each poster, discussion of the posters and final general discussion
Posters by:
Thibault Clérice and Anthony Glaise: Network analysis and distant reading: The Cicero’s Network
Damian Koniarek, Renata Madziara and Piotr Szymański: Towards a study of the structure of the business & science social network of the 2nd Polish Republic
Susana Marcos: Familial alliances, social links et geographical network. The example of the province of Lusitania in the Roman Empire (to be confirmed)
Stefania Merlo Perring: The ChartEx Project. Reconstructing spatial relationships from medieval charters: a collaboration between Data Mining and Historical Topography
Sébastien Plutniak: Archaeology as practical mereology: an attempt to analyze a set of ceramic refits using network analysis tools
Grégoire van Havre: Interactions and network analysis of a rock art site in Morro do Chapéu, Bahia, Brazil

16.45 Drinks and informal discussion

Second Connected Past conference in Paris!

TCPI’ve got some very exciting news! On 26 April 2014 we will organise the second ‘The Connected Past’ conference! As we did in 2012 it will be a satellite event to the CAA conference, which will be held in Paris in April 2014. The Connected Past conference will be held in Paris Sciences Po and the organisation is led by Prof. Claire Lemercier. Our call for papers is now open and we welcome short abstracts by the 12 November.

We thank the CAA for supporting this initiative!
See the full call for papers below or on the Connected Past website.

Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

(French version below)


The Connected Past
A satellite conference at CAA 2014, Paris
26 April 2014 in Paris Sciences Po. Deadline abstract submission: 12 November 2013.

With the Support of Sciences Po, the DYREM research program, Médialab, and the French network of historical network analysis.

Held Saturday April 26th 2014 in Sciences Po, rooms Albert Sorel and Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, 75007 Paris (metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Rue du Bac)

Organisers: Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris), Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton), The Connected Past steering committee.

The Connected Past is a community led by a multi-disciplinary international steering committee. It aims to provide discussion platforms for the development of original and critical applications of network and complexity approaches to archaeology and history. To this purpose The Connected Past organises international conferences, focused seminars and practical didactic workshops.

Over the past decade ‘network’ has become a buzz-word in many disciplines across the humanities and sciences. Researchers in archaeology and history in particular are increasingly exploring network-based theory and methodologies drawn from complex network models or social network analysis as a means of understanding dynamic social relationships in the past, as well as technical relationships in their data. This series of conferences aims to provide a platform for pioneering, multidisciplinary, collaborative work by researchers working to develop network approaches and their application to the past.

The conference will be held immediately after the CAA conference (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology), also happening in Paris, allowing participants to easily attend both – but participants from other disciplines, especially history, are also most welcome.

The conference aims to:

  • Provide a forum for the presentation of network-based research applied to archaeological or historical questions
  • Discuss the practicalities and implications of applying network perspectives and methodologies to archaeological and historical data in particular
  • Strengthen the group of researchers interested in the potential of network approaches for archaeology and history
  • Foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaborative work towards integrated analytical frameworks for understanding complex networks
  • Stimulate debate about the application of network theory and analysis within archaeology and history in particular, but also more widely, and highlight the relevance of this work for the continued development of network theory in other disciplines

We welcome contributions addressing any of (but not restricted to) the following themes:

  • The diffusion of innovations, people and objects in the past
  • Social network analysis in archaeology and history
  • The dynamics between physical and relational space
  • Evolving, multilevel and multiplex networks
  • Emergent properties in complex networks
  • Agency, structuration and complexity in network approaches
  • Future directions for network approaches in archaeology and history

Please email proposed titles and abstracts (max. 250 words) by November 12th 2013 to:

Complete papers will not be required. Oral presentations will be limited to 15 minutes so as to leave room for discussion. The abstracts should be written in English, but French talks accompanied by an English presentation, or vice versa, will be admitted, and French questions or answers will be welcome during the debates. Lunch will be offered to presenters and hopefully to all participants, but the organizers cannot fund travel or lodging.

There are no attendance fees. Although this event is free of charge, registration is required and the number of places is limited. Registration to the event will open once the final programme is advertised in late November, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis.

A “The Connected Past” practical workshop, “Introduction to network analysis for archaeologists” will also be organized during CAA2014 in Paris (see the CAA programme).

—- French version —–

The Connected Past
Dans le cadre du congrès CAA 2014 (informatique et méthodes quantitatives en archéologie) à Paris

Un événement organisé par le réseau “The Connected Past”

Avec le soutien de Sciences Po Paris, du programme de recherche DYREM, du Médialab et du groupe Res-Hist, Réseaux et Histoire

Samedi 26 avril 2014 à Sciences Po, amphithéâtres Albert Sorel et Anatole Leroy-Beaulieu, 27 rue Saint-Guillaume, 75007 Paris (métro Saint-Germain-des-Prés ou Rue du Bac)

Organisation : Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris), Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton), The Connected Past comité scientifique

“The Connected Past” est un groupe de chercheurs doté d’un comité scientifique international et interdisciplinaire. Son objectif est d’offrir des lieux de discussion autour du développement d’applications originales des approches en termes de réseaux et de complexité en archéologie et en histoire. Pour cela, il organise depuis 2011 des colloques, séminaires et ateliers de formation.

Le mot “réseau” est de plus en plus à la mode depuis maintenant plusieurs décennies, dans la plupart des disciplines, y compris de sciences humaines et sociales. En histoire et en archéologie notamment, les théories et méthodes centrées sur les réseaux, souvent inspirées de l’analyse de réseaux sociaux ou des sciences de la complexité, sont de plus en plus souvent mobilisées, que ce soit pour parler des liens sociaux du passé ou pour traiter des données empiriques portant sur d’autres types de relations (impliquant des lieux, objets, etc.). La série de journées “The Connected Past” propose un lieu commun pour discuter de travaux de ce type, appliquant des approches des réseaux au passé, quelle que soit leur discipline d’origine.

La journée de Paris se tiendra dans la foulée du congrès d’archéologie CAA, afin de permettre à ses participants d’être présents s’ils le souhaitent ; mais les propositions pour la journée émanant d’autres disciplines et notamment de l’histoire sont tout à fait bienvenues, indépendamment de toute participation au congrès CAA.

Les objectifs de la journée sont de :

  • Proposer un lieu commun de présentation pour des recherches appliquant des approches des réseaux à des questions archéologiques ou historiques
  • Discuter les spécificités et les implications de ces approches pour ces questions et types de données particuliers
  • Contribuer à la constitution d’un groupe de intéressé.e.s par le potentiel de ces approches en archéologie et en histoire
  • Encourager le dialogue interdisciplinaire et la recherche collective dans le domaine des réseaux complexes
  • Faire vivre les débats sur l’application des théories et méthodes sur les réseaux, en histoire, archéologie, et en retour dans d’autres disciplines.

Les propositions pour la journée de Paris peuvent notamment se rattacher aux thèmes suivants (liste non limitative) :

  • La diffusion ou la migration d’innovations, de personnes, d’objets dans le passé
  • L’analyse de réseaux sociaux en archéologie ou en histoire
  • Les dynamiques liées d’espaces physiques et relationnels
  • Les réseaux multiplexes, multiniveaux, longitudinaux
  • Les propriétés émergentes des réseaux complexes
  • Agency, structure et complexité dans les approches des réseaux
  • L’avenir possible des approches des réseaux en histoire et en archéologie

Merci d’envoyer vos propositions (titre et résumé de 250 mots maximum, en anglais) à pour le 12 novembre 2013.
L’envoi d’articles complets ne sera pas demandé. Les présentations orales seront limitées à 15 minutes, de manière à laisser un temps important aux discussions. Les propositions doivent être envoyées en anglais pour permettre un examen incluant l’équipe non francophone de “The Connected Past”. En revanche, il sera possible de donner une communication orale en français accompagnée d’une présentation projetée en anglais, ou l’inverse, et d’intervenir en français dans les discussions.

Le repas de midi sera offert aux auteurs de communications et, nous l’espérons, à l’ensemble des participants. En revanche, les éventuels trajets et nuits d’hôtel resteront à la charge des auteurs de communications.
Il n’y a pas de frais d’inscription, mais, du fait de la taille des amphithéâtres, il sera demandé de s’inscrire auprès des organisateurs (en cas d’inscriptions trop nombreuses, seuls les premiers pourront entrer !). Fin novembre, la liste des communications acceptées sera annoncée et l’adresse d’inscription sera indiquée dans le même temps.

Notez enfin deux autres événements connexes auxquels nous vous encourageons également à participer

  • Un atelier pratique “The Connected Past” dans le cadre de la CAA : introduction aux réseaux sociaux pour archéologues (en anglais), voir CAA.
  • Les 9-11 avril 2014 à Toulouse, les secondes rencontres Res-Hist sur l’analyse de réseaux en histoire, avec des invités étrangers, des présentations de recherches en cours et des ateliers pratiques de formation.


Hestia2 seminar: registration open

hestiaThe Hestia project is pleased to announce “HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources”, a one-day seminar on spatial network analysis and linked data in Classical studies, archaeology and cultural heritage.

The seminar will be held at The University of Southampton on 18 July. Registration for this event is free, but we do recommend registering as early as possible since the number of available places is limited. More information, including abstracts and registration, can be found on The Connected Past website.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Southampton!

Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans

HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources

University of Southampton 18th July 2013
Organisers: Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans
In collaboration with The Connected Past

A free one-day seminar on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology.

Spatial relationships appear throughout our sources about the past: from the ancient roads that connect cities, or ancient authors mentioning political alliances between places, to the stratigraphic contexts archaeologists deal with in their fieldwork. However, as datasets about the past become increasingly large, spatial relationships become ever more difficult to disentangle. Network visualization and analysis allow us to address such spatial relationships explicitly and directly. This seminar aims to explore the potential of these innovative techniques for research in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors.

The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded initiative ‘Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories’ (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.


Registration for this event is now open. Please follow the instructions on the HESTIA2 Eventbrite page to obtain your ticket (no payment card needed).

The HESTIA2 seminar is free to attend but registration is required. Since places are limited we suggest you register as soon as possible.


11:00 Registration and coffee

11:30 HESTIA-team

  • Welcome and introduction to HESTIA and HESTIA2

12:00 Maximilian Schich (The University of Texas at Dallas)

12:25 Alex Godden (Hampshire County Council)

12:50 John Goodwin (Ordnance Survey)

13:15 Discussion

13:35 Tea and coffee break

13:55 Terhi Nurmikko (University of Southampton)

14:20 Kate Byrne (University of Edinburgh)

14:45 Giorgio Uboldi (Politecnico di Milano)

15:10 Discussion

15:35 Tea and coffee break

16:00 Keith May (English Heritage)

16:25 Paul Cripps (University of South Wales)

Connected Past @ SAA 2013

Screen shot 2013-02-10 at 12.06.10I have some big news! You might remember that last year we organised The Connected Past conference here in Southampton. The event was very well received and it seemed very timely given the increased interest in network approaches in archaeology and history. Some suggested we should build on this momentum to foster a wider community of scholars that could share and discuss network-related ideas at future events. Since then we have been busy setting up an international steering committee and planning future events and publications. I am now delighted to announce the second Connected Past event: a session at the Society for American Archaeologists conference (SAA) 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. I will chair this session together with Prof. Barbara Mills (University of Arizona), a member of The Connected Past international steering committee who also gave a great presentation about her research group’s network analysis work at last years Connected Past conference. Prof. Ian Hodder (Stanford University) will act as a discussant for the session. His recent book ‘Entangled’ discusses many approaches to relationships between people and material culture, and I am sure he will stimulate a critical discussion at the session.

The abstract of the SAA session can be found below, along with a full list of presenters. More information including all abstract of the presentations can be found on The Connected Past website and on the SAA2013 page of this blog. We are delighted that this list of presenters includes many scholars that were not able to attend last year’s event. The presentations range from practical archaeological case studies, to critical discussions of theoretical and methodological issues.

Session 57: Evening Thursday April 4 at SAA 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii
Download the full SAA programme here.

Chaired by Tom Brughmans (University of Southampton) and Barbara Mills (University of Arizona)

Discussant: Ian Hodder (Stanford University)

Mark Golitko and Gary Feinman
Herb Maschner, Jennifer Dunne and Spencer Wood
Ethan Cochrane
Shawn Graham
Barbara Mills, Matthew Peeples, Wm. R. Haas, Jr., Lewis Borck, and Jeffery Clark
Tom Brughmans, Simon Keay and Graeme Earl
Tim Kohler, Stefani Crabtree and Michael Berry
Angus Mol, Corinne Hofman and Menno Hoogland
Fiona Coward
Koji Mizoguchi

Session Abstract

Over the last decade the number of published archaeological applications of network methods and theories has increased significantly. This session will build on this increasing interest in networks among archaeologists by highlighting a number of research themes that deserve further exploration. Firstly, it aims to illustrate how particular archaeological research contexts can drive the selection and adaptation of formal network methods from the wide range of existing approaches, where possible through interdisciplinary collaboration. Secondly, papers in this session will address the role archaeological data can play in network methods, the decisions we are faced with when defining nodes and ties, and how our theoretical approaches can be expressed through formal methods incorporating empirical data. Thirdly, the session will address the compatibility of network theories and methods. Lastly, the potential of incorporating materiality within existing network approaches and the study of long-term network evolution will be discussed.

This session will address these themes through methodological or theoretical papers, and will further illustrate the potential of a networks perspective for archaeology in a number of innovative case-studies. It hopes to illustrate that approaches with an interdisciplinary scope but dominated by archaeological research contexts yield the most critical and useful archaeological network studies.

Connected Past Videos online!

Two months ago Anna Collar, Fiona Coward and myself organised a conference about networks in archaeology and history, called The Connected Past. The event was great (or at least that is how I experienced it). But if you were not able to be there you will be happy to know that the recorded talks are now available online. The recorded talks are illustrative of the wide range of topics by scholars from an equally diverse range of disciplines. There are videos with a methodological focus, some with a theoretical focus and a number of applied case studies. If these talks taught us anything it would be that ‘Thinking through networks’ might provide innovative and useful approaches to understand the past, but some methods are more promising than others and the theoretical implications deserve our attention. Networks are not everything but they might be useful and we hope that The Connected Past allowed for this idea to emerge and will continue to provide a multi-disciplinary discussion platform.

So you will hear more about The Connected Past in the future!

An overview of The Connected Past

Over the weekend of 24-25 March 2012 a group of 150 archaeologists, historians, mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists and others from 19 different countries met at The University of Southampton. Their objective: to discuss the critical application of network and complexity perspectives to archaeology and history. The result: a stimulating and friendly gathering of academics from very diverse backgrounds who collectively created the exciting discussion platform the organisers believe is crucial to the development of future critical applications in our disciplines.

The last few weeks were hectic for Anna Collar, Fiona Coward and myself. There were many last-minute decisions to be made and problems to be solved. But in the end everything and everyone arrived on time to kick-start the symposium. Most delegates arrived from all over Europe and North America, and some joined us from as far as Australia and Japan. We were happy to welcome delegates from over 60 different universities. The most important work during the symposium took place behind the scenes by Lucie Bolton and her great team of volunteers who were there to welcome all delegates at 8am and make sure they were fuelled with lunch, coffee and cakes throughout the day. The Connected Past would not have been possible without them.

Jon Adams, head of the Department of Archaeology here in Southampton, opened the symposium and introduced our first keynote speaker Alex Bentley. Alex discussed in what cases certain types of network approaches are useful when exploring complex social systems. His paper provided a great start of the conference by setting out a framework for complex systems simulation and identifying the role networks could play within this. A first session of the symposium followed with a very diverse group of papers discussing a range of theoretical and methodological issues. Tom Brughmans explored the evolution of formal archaeological network analysis through a citation network analysis. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller argued for the incorporation of Luhmann’s systems theory in historical network approaches. Andy Bevan explored the issues involved in tracing ancient networks in geographical space. After a coffee break Astrid Van Oyen presented us with the Actor-Network-Theory perspective and how this might be usefully applied in an archaeological context. Søren Sindbæk made some very critical remarks concerning a direct mapping of exchange networks from distributions of archaeological data. Finally, Marten Düring presented a particularly fascinating approach of support networks for persecuted Jews in World War II and compared the usefulness of different centrality measures on it.

After lunch we reconvened for a session called ‘Big data and archaeology’, which included presentations of big datasets that showed particular potential to explore using networks on the one hand and archaeological applications of network analysis on the other. The session was opened by Barbara Mills who presented the work of her team on exploring distribution networks of a large archaeological dataset from the US southwest. Caroline Waerzeggers presented a dataset of tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets which hold a large variety of past relationships that can be usefully explore with network techniques. Mark Depauw and Bart Van Beek similarly presented an impressive dataset which includes references to almost half a million people living in Graeco-Roman Egypt. After tea Eivind Heldaas Seland introduced us to a highly qualified view of networks of travel and religion in late antiquity. Alessandro Quercia and Lin Foxhall presented their networks of loom weights, which is part of the wider Tracing Networks project. Angus Mol took us to the Caribbean with his network approach of a rather small but fascinating lithic assemblage. Finally, Craig Alexander discussed his study of visibility networks in Iron Age Valcamonica.

At the end of the day we had the pleasure of listening to Carl Knappett live from Toronto via a Skype call. We decided to go for this low-tech option because sadly we could not guarantee tech-support during the weekend and wanted to avoid complications. I am sure this is the first time Carl had a Skype meeting with 150 people at the same time. Carl Knappett suggested that in order for network approaches to be usefully applied in archaeology we need be aware of the diversity of available approaches and preferably work in collaboration with network specialists. In some cases, however, networks are not the best perspective to approach our archaeological questions. In his recently published ‘An archaeology of interaction’ Carl points to a wide range of theories and methods that may or may not work within the same framework, but knowledge of this diversity might lead to their more critical and useful applications. This second keynote presentation was followed by a wine reception and a visit to our local pub The Crown.

After a long night out and a nights-sleep further shortened by daylight savings time we were surprised to see almost all delegates appear at 9am to listen to our third keynote Irad Malkin. Irad recently published ‘A small Greek world’ in which he sees the emergence of Greek identity through network goggles by using a vocabulary adopted from complex network analysis to describe the processes he identified in ancient sources. Irad’s keynote address stressed how a networks approach allows us to revisit old questions and how it allows for spatial structure to be compared with other types of relationships. The subsequent session titled ‘Dynamic networks and modelling’ began with a great presentation by Ray Rivers stressing that archaeologists need to be aware of the implications of decisions made when modelling the past and selecting ‘Goldilocks’ networks that seem just right. Next, Anne Kandler presented her network model for exploring the transmission of ideas, which shows how the structure of complex networks influences cultural change. Caitlin Buck presented the work by her team on a new (and very robust looking) model for the spread of agriculture in Britain and Europe at large. After the break Tim Evans presented a much needed paper comparing different network models and their potential uses. The discussions after this paper revealed that such a comparison along with archaeological case studies would be a very welcome resource to archaeologists interested in networks. Juan Barceló presented a Bayesian network approach to explore causal factors determining the emergence and the effects of restricted cooperation among hunter-gatherer societies. Marco Büchler presented his fascinating work on text re-use graphs he and his team in of the eTraces project in the Leipzig centre for eHumanities are working on.

After lunch we had the pleasure of listening to papers in our last session ‘Personal, political and migration networks’. Wilko Schroeter presented on marriage networks of Europe’s ruling families from 1600-1900. Ekaterini Mitsiou moved our attention to the Eastern Mediterranean in her discussion of aristocratic networks in the 13th century. Evi Gorogianni made us look at dowry in a new way by stressing the relationships they establish and express. After tea Elena Isayev made us explore the early 3rd century BC networks of Italy outside the Italian peninsula. Claire Lemercier provided us with some critical comments on the historical use of formal network techniques and illustrated this through a case study on migration in northern France. Amara Thornton traced networks of individuals linked to the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Finally, Katherine Larson showed us a particularly creative way of seeing networks in the archaeological record by linking sculptors’ signatures on ancient statues.

In our eyes The Connected Past was a great success. We enjoyed the experience of organising the event and were delighted with the overwhelming response to our call for papers and registration. We received some great reviews from Tim Evans and Matteo Romanello. In the end, however, it was the delegates themselves who seized the opportunity to engage in multi-disciplinary discussions and to consider future collaborations in innovative research directions.

The Connected Past does not end here! In some time we will make some of the recorded talks available online, we will publish the proceedings and we have plans for future meetings. All to be revealed in time. For now all we want to say is: thank you for a fascinating weekend and keep up the multi-disciplinary discussions!

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