Loads of networks in Oxford Classical seminar series

February 1, 2016


Classics and archaeology are fiercely complimentary disciplines and I love playing a balancing act between the two. This of course means: playing with networks by drawing on both written and textual sources of the ancient world. The use of network science in Classics is really taking off, as much as it is in Archaeology. This is reflected in work by Irad Malkin in his book ‘A Small Greek World‘ and by the HESTIA team including Elton Barker who just published a volume entitled ‘New Worlds from Old Texts‘. Both will present in the series, as will I. So do come along if you can.

When? Weekly 5pm, 27 January – 9 March 2016

Where? Corpus Christy College, Oxford (UK)

Networks in the Ancient World
27th January

Elton Barker (Open): Network thinking: textual maps, conceptual frameworks, scholarly practice


3rd February
Eivind Heldaas Seland (Bergen): Rome and the not so friendly king: The social networks of local rulers in the Roman Near East

10th February
Tom Brughmans (Konstanz): The potential of network science for archaeology illustrated through a network study of the Roman economy

17th February
William Mack (Birmingham): Social Networking for Poleis

24th February
Irad Malkin (Tel Aviv): title tbc

2nd March
John Tully (Cardiff): Social Proxenoi: SNA in the Hellenistic Cyclades

9th March
Esther Eidinow (Nottingham): ‘What Will You Give Me?’: Networks, Narratives and the Sacred

For a printable poster for the series or any other enquiries please contact: virginia.campbell@classics.ox.ac.uk

Hestia2 videos on Youtube

December 16, 2014

hestiaA while ago we at The Connected Past co-organised an event in Southampton called ‘Hestia2: exploring spatial networks through ancient source’. I published a review of the event on this blog before, read it here. We managed to record quite a few talks presented during this event. But this was not the only Hestia2 conference: there were four in total and most talks were recorded. You can now access all videos of the Hestia2 events on our Youtube channel. The topics of the videos are very diverse, with something on every aspect of Digital Classics represented. If you like this blog, then you WILL find something of interest in the Hestia2 Youtube channel 🙂

Click here for the Hestia2 Youtube channel.

More info on Hestia2.

Registration: Telling stories with maps

April 10, 2014

Hestia_logo_whtTime for the third in the series of Hestia2 conferences! After great meetings in Southampton and Stanford we now move to Birmingham for ‘Telling stories with maps: the geoweb, qualitative GIS and narrative mapping’. The prgramme is included below. You can register for this meeting via eventbrite.

Telling stories with maps: the geoweb, qualitative GIS and narrative mapping
Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham, 30 April 2014

Free registration is now open <http://tinyurl.com/ptdogvz> for this one-day workshop, organized as part of the HESTIA 2 initiative – a public engagement project based on the spatial reading and visualizing of texts. This workshop will examine the role of GIS as a tool for mapping texts of different kinds.

As Caquard (2013, 135) has noted, there has been considerable interest in ‘the relationship between maps and narratives’, especially in the context of the spatial turn among literary and film scholars.  In many ways this field is being driven by technological innovation, particularly the rise of easy-to-use online mapping tools developed by companies like Google to exploit location-based data; everyone can now map their story.  Nonetheless, the standard critique of GIS is that it replicates a Cartesian, positivist conception of the world through allocating geospatial coordinates to objects.  This brings the temptation to ignore a technology closely associated with domination and control, to see mapping purely as metaphor rather than geospatial ‘grid’.  Geographers, particularly those working in critical and qualitative GIS (e.g. Cope and Elwood 2009) have dissected this critique and highlight the analytical potential of GIS for those interested in qualitative data.  Just what does it mean then, to use geospatial technologies to map people’s stories?

The event runs from 10.30-16.30 (with coffee and registration from 10.00) and includes a free lunch.
Register now at Eventbrite http://tinyurl.com/ptdogvz

There are a small number of UK travel bursaries available for postgraduate students – email p.i.jones@bham.ac.uk to apply.

We have an exciting international and interdisciplinary line up of speakers, including:

Vanesa Castán Broto (UCL)
‘Mapping stories, urban energy’

Nela Milic (Goldsmiths)
‘Belgrade log BG:LOG’

Agnieszka Leszczynski (University of Birmingham) and Sarah Elwood (University of Washington)
‘Telling stories with new spatial media’

Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko (NUI Galway)
‘Challenging the Narrative of International Law through GIS: limits and opportunities’

Miranda Anderson  & James Loxley (University of Edinburgh)
‘Mapping the Factual and the Counterfactual’

Pietro Liuzzo (University of Heidelberg) and Francesco Mambrini (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut)
‘Storytelling and geographical data in EAGLE’

Ian Gregory, Chris Donaldson (Lancaster University) and Patricia Murrieta-Flores (University of Chester)
‘Exploring Lake District writing using GIS’

Akiyoshi Suzuki (Nagasaki University)
‘A Good Map is Worth a Thousand Words: 3-D Topographic Narrative of Haruki Murakami’

Moacir P. de Sá Pereira (University of Chicago)
‘Robert Jordan’s nearest neighbor: A “For Whom the Bell Tolls” GIS’

Øyvind Eide (University of Passau)
‘Narratives of maps and texts. The role of media differences and stepwise formalisation’

For more information contact:
Phil Jones (p.i.jones@bham.ac.uk)
Stefan Bouzarovski (stefan.bouzarovski@manchester.ac.uk)

Hestia2 in Stanford: visualising complex data

October 23, 2013

Hestia_logo_whtRemember the Hestia2 event we organised in Southampton in July with The Connected Past? Time for more of that! The Hestia project is pleased to announce its second community event, which will take place at Stanford University on 4-5 November 2013. The two-day workshop, hosted by Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis, will tackle the issue of visualizing complex data, and will be of interest to anyone working on network theory and the digital analysis of literature and historical material.

It will include presentations from various local high-tech companies developing complex data analysis and hands-on work with the following humanities projects based in Stanford:
Orbis 2.0, the latest geospatial network model of the ancient world;
Arches, a new open-source geospatial software system for cultural heritage inventory and management;
– Palladio, a new platform for visualizing and analyzing networks of historical data;
– Topotime, a new data model and graphical layout designed specifically to handle the fuzzy temporal bounds and cyclical time of literary narratives.

This two-day event is free for all. We simply ask you to register in advance here.

For more information about the event and about Hestia, please visit our blog.

We look forward to welcoming you in Stanford!

Best wishes

The Hestia2 team

**Hestia2 is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council**

Videos Hestia2 seminar online

August 14, 2013

Hestia_logo_whtLast month we organised a seminar on linked data and spatial networks in Southampton and as you know I really enjoyed it. Videos and slides of presentations of the seminar are now available on The Connected Past website. There are hours of footage and books-worth of slides on there for you to enjoy! This was only the first in a series of Hestia2 events. More info on Hestia2, future seminars and online resources can be found on our new website. Looking forward to seeing you at one of our future seminars!

The Southampton Hestia2 seminar aimed to explore the potential of innovative spatial networks and linked data techniques for research and work in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors. It attracted an audience with diverse backgrounds and discussions really benefited from this. 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.

On organising the Hestia2 seminar in Southampton

July 29, 2013
John Goodwin presenting at Hestia2 in Southampton

John Goodwin presenting at Hestia2 in Southampton

As the organiser of the Hestia2 seminar in Southampton I could write about our initial struggle to find a good format, my fight with the university to book a seminar room in a completely booked out campus, discussions with our financial support staff to figure out a balanced budget, the technical flaws with our livestream feed, and of course the many very human feelings like “no-one will turn up!?!” and “what shirt should I wear?”. But none of that would be very interesting to read, and all of these concerns are now firmly pushed to the back of my mind and replaced by the feeling that this seminar was a success!

It will not come as a surprise that the organiser thinks his own event was a success. So let me at least try to come up with some objective-sounding arguments why this was in fact the case.

Multi-disciplinarity: organising a multi-disciplinary event is always risky. You need to address a very diverse target audience and convince them that the topics covered and the discussions will be of interest. People with different backgrounds also tend to talk in different languages: physicists will talk “maths”, classicists will talk “Greek/Roman”, archaeologists will talk “stuff”. The Hestia2 seminar was such a multi-disciplinary event. It was attended by classicists, historians, archaeologists, physicists and designers from the academic, commercial and governmental sectors. Despite this diversity the discussions very often converged into common interests. These included how large datasets like those held by the Ordnance Survey and the Historic Environment Records (HERs) could be usefully combined using new technologies, or how uncertainty about data can be formally expressed and visualised. Finding such common grounds was very much thanks to the chairs of our session. For example, Max Schich confronted the multi-disciplinary background of our audience directly when he asked to what extent individuals need to have skills and knowledge traditionally associated with different disciplines and professions to allow them to apply linked data and network techniques critically and usefully. This question drew very diverse reactions from the audience. Some felt that our educational system should allow for complete diversity and customisations of skills and knowledge, others (and I am part of this particular camp) believe that collaboration is the key, that field specialists should remain specialists but be able to collaborate with specialists in other fields by having some very basic understanding of the other’s “language”, approaches and questions.

Exploration: Hestia2 is not about showing off a great piece of work our team did a few years ago. It’s about learning from different projects’, institutions’ and individuals’ experiences with using innovative technologies to understanding conceptions of space. It’s about exploring the potential of such techniques for providing innovative insights into old datasets, or for allowing us to ask new questions of our data. The Southampton seminar definitely had that exploratory vibe. Very different techniques and projects were presented. The first three talks very much set the scene by giving an overview of different approaches. Max Schich introduced us to networks, Alex Godden provided an insight into the issues surrounding the aggregation and management of historical/archaeological data, and John Goodwin showed how the Ordnance Survey (OS) is implementing linked data. The discussions that followed showed a genuine interest in innovative approaches but also a constant concern with getting at the fundamental issues that keep all this innovation together. For example, in our discussion we never restricted ourselves to asking how something could be done, but always focused on why we should do it in the first place. The question of why HER data could not be seamlessly linked with OS data, for example, was not because of technological restrictions but concerns about protecting cultural heritage and also commercial concerns. Once such concerns were addressed we turned our attention to how combining such diverse datasets could allow us to ask new research questions, or could lead to a better management of historical resources.

Weather: it has sunny and hot. That makes every event an instant success!

I am very much looking forward to the second Hestia2 seminar in Stanford, where I will be able to put my feet up a little and enjoy another round of stimulating multi-disciplinary exploration.

Hestia2 livestream URL

July 17, 2013

Hestia_logo_whtTomorrow we will kickstart Hestia2 with a seminar at The University of Southampton. If you cannot be there in person, don’t despair! We will livestream the event via the following URL: http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=868450db-b7f3-4bc0-bf8d-364c6eee23df

In case of technical issues the following backup URL will be used: http://coursecast.soton.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=22ed2340-5934-494f-96c7-f9e44c5ad1bf

Talks will start at 11:30am BST and end at 5pm BST. Please find the complete programme on the event website.

Follow the Twitterstream via #Hestiaproject and @Hestiaproject

All presentations will also be made available online after the event. Hope you will enjoy this as much as we will!