Loads of (open access) Roman network stuff!

Today I got an email that made me smile a lot: the new issue of Journal of Historical Network Research is out and guess what the focus is. Loads of Roman network stuff! As far as my work interests are concerned, this is Christmas.

It is a special issue on ancient politics and network analysis, edited by Wim Broekaert, Elena Köstner, and Christian Rollinger. It includes 10 articles, plus an introduction by the editors, plus an epilogue by Giovanni Ruffini. All papers are about the ancient world from Athens to the Medieval Roman Empire. There is a bit of Cicero in there (would be weird if there wasn’t), Pliny the Younger, Theoderic: all of your favourite historical characters reduced to a dot.

Despite offering plenty of sources and great theories to bust, Roman Studies has been very light on network applications. This special issue single handedly almost doubles the number of such studies.

I look forward to digging through these papers to explore the creative and interesting ways network science has been applied. Hopefully it will inspire me to do more of it myself. I can encourage you all to do the same.

Second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research

The Journal of Historical Network Research is a young but important element of our growing community of network researchers. Its second issue is now out with some excellent papers. I strongly recommend archaeologists and historians alike to consider this publication venue for their work. Importantly, it is completely open access without paying a fee! And from personal experience I know that the editorial and review process are very professional. Go JHNR! 🙂

We are happy to announce the second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research:

Searching for hidden bridges in co-occurrence networks from Javanese wayang kulit
Andrew Johnathan Schauf, Miguel Escobar Varela

Family network of emerging Jewish intelligentsia (Cracow 1850-1918)
Marek Jerzy Minakowski

Artist migration through the biographer’s lens
Maximilian Kaiser, Katalin Lejtovicz, Matthias Schlögl, Peter Alexander Rumpolt

Netzwerke des Wissens – Thematische und personelle Relationen innerhalb der halleschen Zeitungen und Zeitschriften der AufklĂ€rungsepoche (1688-1818)
Anne Purschwitz

Geospatial Social Networks of East German Opposition (1975-1989/90)
Kimmo Elo

PhD funding correspondence networks

A great opportunity for a funded PhD in historical network research. More info here and below.

As part of an innovative collaboration between Oxford and the Sorbonne, the Cultures of Knowledge’s Early Modern Letters Online project has announced that applications for a three-year fully funded fellowship are being accepted currently from students wishing to pursue doctoral studies in the history of science, in mathematical sciences, in digital humanities, or in computer science.

Call for applications:

The successful candidate’s PhD thesis will involve the scholarly study of correspondence networks from the perspective of both the history of sciences and the digital humanities. In particular, the student should consider how to structure a corpus made up of networks of interconnected correspondence data; the new research questions for the history of science that arise from such a corpus; the methodologies that can be put in place to answer these questions; and the extent to which the development of suitable digital analysis and research tools might contribute to the exploration of this type of corpus.

The doctoral fellowship is part of a scientific collaboration between the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Sorbonne University and the Faculty of History of the University of Oxford. The candidate will work in the Digital Humanities team at the Institut des sciences du calcul et des donnĂ©es (ISCD) of Sorbonne University (Paris, France) and will carry out a period of research at the University of Oxford (UK) within the framework of the Cultures of Knowledge research project/Early Modern Letters Online [EMLO]. An association either with Oxford’s Centre for the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology or with the Mathematical Instituteis possible during the stay.

The doctoral fellow will benefit from a three-year funding by the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Sorbonne University. The candidate must have a strong background in digital humanities, history of sciences, mathematics, or computer sciences. Competences in at least two of these fields will be particularly appreciated.

To apply, please send your c.v. and a description of your research project to: alexandre.guilbaud@sorbonne-universite.fr. You may also e-mail Alexandre at this address for further information regarding the fellowship.

La thĂšse proposĂ©e porte sur l’étude intellectuelle des rĂ©seaux de correspondances du double point de vue de l’histoire des sciences et des humanitĂ©s numĂ©riques. Il s’agira en particulier de se demander comment structurer un corpus constituĂ© de rĂ©seaux de donnĂ©es de correspondances interconnectĂ©es, quelles questions nouvelles un tel corpus permet de se poser en histoire des sciences, quelles mĂ©thodologies mettre en place pour y rĂ©pondre, et dans quelle mesure le dĂ©veloppement d’outils numĂ©riques d’analyse et de recherche adaptĂ©s peut permettre de contribuer Ă  l’exploration de ce type de corpus.

Cette thĂšse fait l’objet d’une collaboration scientifique entre la FacultĂ© des sciences et ingĂ©nierie de Sorbonne UniversitĂ© et l’équipe EMLO de l’UniversitĂ© d’Oxford. Le candidat travaillera dans l’équipe « HumanitĂ©s numĂ©riques » de l’Institut des sciences du calcul et des donnĂ©es (ISCD) de Sorbonne UniversitĂ© (Paris, France) et effectuera un sĂ©jour de recherche Ă  l’UniversitĂ© d’Oxford (UK) dans le cadre du projet de recherche Cultures of Knowledge/Early Modern Letters Online [EMLO]. Une collaboration avec le Center for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology ou avec le Mathematical Institute d’Oxford sera possible durant ce sĂ©jour.

La thĂšse est financĂ©e pour trois ans par la FacultĂ© des sciences et ingĂ©nierie de Sorbonne UniversitĂ©. Le candidat devra disposer d’une solide formation en humanitĂ©s numĂ©riques, en histoire des sciences, en mathĂ©matiques ou en informatique. Une double compĂ©tence sera particuliĂšrement apprĂ©ciĂ©e.

Pour candidater, envoyez votre cv et le descriptif de votre projet de recherche Ă  l’adresse alexandre.guilbaud@sorbonne-universite.fr. Vous pouvez Ă©galement Ă©crire Ă  cette adresse pour tout complĂ©ment d’information sur la these.

CFP Journal of Historical Network Research

The Journal of Historical Network Research launched its first issue last year. Production and peer-review went fast and was very professional, and the selection of papers is of high quality (disclaimer: Matt Peeples and I published a paper in that issue, so we would say it’s of high quality of course). Anyways, I very much recommend submitting your work to this ethical open-access community run journal! There are no open-access fees and archaeological papers are very much welcomed.

More information on the journal website.

CfP for the second Issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research (JHNR)

The Journal of Historical Network Research (https://jhnr.uni.lu/) publishes outstanding and original research applying the theories and methodologies of social network analysis to historical research. The peer-reviewed journal seeks to advance the epistemological and theoretical understanding of social network analysis in the historical, social and political sciences, and promotes empirical research on historical social interactions.   The journal serves as a meeting place for the traditional hermeneutics of historical research and its concomitant emphasis on contextualisation and historical source criticism (as present in traditional academic historical journals) on the one hand, and the theory-heavy and/or sometimes overly technical discussion of methodological and technological issues (which predominates in publications focused on “pure” social network research) on the other. The journal aims to promote the interplay between different areas of historical research (in the broadest sense), social and political sciences, and different research traditions and disciplines, while strengthening the dialogue between network research and “traditional” historical research. All contents are made available free of charge to readers and authors following Open Access principles.   Submissions for the second issue of the journal   We are seeking proposals for papers to be published in the second issue of the Journal of Historical Network Research, which will appear in the autumn of 2018.   The Editorial Board welcomes proposals for papers centred on historical networks of any period of the recorded human past, from Bronze Age civilisation to contemporary history. In order to support the dissemination of the principles of reproducible research and to foster a new and transparent culture of discussion in network research in general, we encourage authors to provide their code and data sets in addition to the manuscripts for publication. We also encourage the submission of book reviews on relevant recent literature and articles, which introduce and discuss relevant and innovative digital tools for network research or interesting new databases and data sources. Articles can be submitted in English, German or French. All articles (but especially those articles written in a language other than English) should be accompanied by an English-language abstract of no more than 300 words which contains the salient points and arguments. Papers should also be indexed with no more than 5 keywords. Please follow the Author Guidelines and use the provided Word template to ensure that your paper is formatted correctly.   Articles for the second volume should be submitted via the journal homepage ( https://jhnr.uni.lu/index.php/jhnr/about/submissions) by May 1th 2018. Authors will be notified of acceptance as soon as possible. Please direct any questions you may have to the editors at JHNR-editors@historicalnetworkresearch.org   For further information on Historical Network Research in general, we would advise you to visit www.historicalnetworkresearch.org.

The editors,
Christian Rollinger, Marten DĂŒring, Robert Gramsch-Stehfest & Martin Stark

Historical network research conference: registration and program

The fourth HNR conference will take place in Turku, Finland, from 17 to 20 October 2017. Registration is open now and it’s FREE! Have a look at the programme here: plenty of interesting papers and a number of really useful workshops. I really like this conference series because of its friendly and exciting atmosphere, so I will definitely recommend you to attend if you can.

We are pleased to announce that the registration to the “4th Historical Network Research Conference” is now OPEN. Please go to the following page and proceed according the guidelines:


Please note: there is no conference fee, but if you want to participate in the conference dinner on 19 October 2017 it will cost 50,00 euro. In this case you will be forwarded to the online payment portal.

The preliminary programme is also published and online:


We will update the programme with information on seminar rooms within the next couple of weeks.

Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an e-mail to: hnr2017@utu.fi.

We look forward to seeing you in Turku in October.

Best regards,

Members of the organising committee

Archaeology and history at the EU SNA conference

There’s a huge surge in archaeological and historical networks papers presented at the main networks conferences. This is a trend that has been going strong for a few years now. This year’s EU social network analysis conference will feature no less than three sessions on the topic! Virtually a satellite conference in its own right, the sessions cover a huge chronological and methodological range. I strongly recommend attending the conference to see these papers. But also because I always find it hugely inspiring myself to attend these inter-disciplinary conferences. You never know which paper is going to trigger new exciting ideas: Vietnamese trade networks in the late 20th century? Networks of gameboy musicians? That paper with all the scary maths in it? I always find 90% of the papers I see totally uninteresting or incomprehensible, but there’s always one that fundamentally changes my direction of research and that I refer back to for years afterwards.

What? EUSNA conference

Where? Mainz, Germany

When? 26-29 September 2017

Here’s the announcement of the archaeological and historical programme, via the HNR list:

This year’s European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN2017) comes with 3 sessions on network analysis in Archaeology and History, for details see the full programme here:


See an overview below:

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.1)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)

Martin Stark
Marten DĂŒring (University of Luxembourg)

09:05 am
A formal network approach to ancient Mediterranean urbanisation process
Lieve Donnellan | VU University Amsterdam | Netherlands

09:25 am
Agent Based Modeling and Archeological Networks – Refining the Material Based Approach
Lennart Linde | Goethe-UniversitÀt Frankfurt am Main | Germany

09:45 am
Modeling innovation spread in archaeological networks
Natasa Conrad | Zuse Institute Berlin | Germany

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.2)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Marten DĂŒring (University of Luxembourg)

Martin Stark

The social dimension of credit relations: an application of SNA to an early modern merchant firm
Cinzia Lorandini | University of Trento | Italy

Mass genealogy: Top 1% of 19-th century Polish society as a single family network (PageRank-like analysis)
Marek Jerzy Minakowski | Dr Minakowski Publikacje Elektroniczne | Poland

Embeddedness of Periodicals in Illustrated Fashion Press in the Nineteenth Century
Julie Birkholz | Ghent University | Belgium

The Network of zemstvo’ deputies in the Perm province in the second half of the 19th century: Dynamics and features of the formation
Nadezhda Povroznik | Perm State National Research University | Russian Federation

Networks in Archaeology and History (OS_4.3)
Room: P205 (02 445P205)

Networks in Archaeology and History

Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Martin Stark

Marten DĂŒring (University of Luxembourg)

01:35 pm
: ‘O Rus! Elite networks and gentry politics in pre-revolutionary Russia: The blacksoil nobles, 1861-1905’
George Regkoukos | King’s College London | United Kingdom

01:55 pm
Hidden Archives and Lavish Libraries: Promises of Social Network Analysis for Research on Twentieth-Century China
Henrike Rudolph | Germany

02:15 pm
Building a Scientific Field in the Post-World War II Era: A Network Analysis of the Renaissance of General Relativity
Roberto Lalli | Max Planck Institute for the History of Science | Germany
Dirk WintergrĂŒn | Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

02:35 pm
The elephant in the room of political parties: how patronage networks influenced leadership. A historical approach
Isabelle Borucki | University of Trier | Germany

CFP archaeological and historical networks session at EUSN Mainz


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

Deadline CFP: 31 March 2017

CfP: EUSN 2017 in Mainz with session on historical and archaeological networks, deadline: March 31st
Organized session at the 3rd European Conference on Social Networks at Johannes
Gutenberg-University Mainz, 26.-29. September 2017
Call for Presentations
“Networks in Archaeology and History”
Over the last decades, network analysis has made its way from a fringe
theory to an established methodology in archaeological and historical
research that goes beyond a purely metaphorical use of the network term. A
substantial number of studies on different topics and periods have shown
that network theories and methods derived from other disciplines (e.g.
sociology, economics, physics) can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies
of historical and archaeological sources. Yet in many of these initial
studies, important methodological concerns regarding the underlying sources,
missing data, data standardization and representation of networks in space
and time have not been adequately acknowledged and sometimes even completely
In recent years, archeologists and historians – often in collaboration and
in exchange with scholars from other disciplines – have taken on the
challenge to address these methodological concerns and to adapt and refine
network methods and network theory for archaeological and historical
research. The aim of this session is to further develop such
transdisciplinary collaboration between historians, archaeologists and the
EUSN research community.
The session invites contributions from researchers applying methods of
formal network analysis in archaeological or historical research. A special
emphasis of the session will be on the unique challenges that arise in the
domain- specific application of these research methods. We welcome
submissions on any period, geographical area or topic. The authors may be
historians or archaeologists as well as scholars from other disciplines
working with historical or archeological data.
Abstract submission:
Please hand in your abstract via the conference website (http://
www.eusn2017.uni-mainz.de/) and indicate the name of the session: “Networks
in Archaeology and History”.
Abstract submission deadline is March 31st.
Session organizers:
Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Martin Stark (ILS Research Institute, Aachen)
Marten DĂŒring (University of Luxembourg)

CFP 4th Historical Network Research Conference

turkuDelighted this amazing series of conferences will have its fourth edition already. It’s a cornerstone of those of us archaeologists and historians mad about networks. The call for papers is out now and I strongly recommend presenting and attending the event. It is an inspiring conference series with a friendly and constructive atmosphere.

Where? Turku, Finland

Deadline CFP: March 31 2017

We are very happy to announce the 4th international HNR conference, this year in Turku, Finland together with the annual conference of Finnish historians.

We are particularly grateful to Kimmo Elo for the conceptualisation and organisation of the conference.



4th Historical Network Research Conference

University of Turku, Finland

17-18 October 2017 (pre-conference workshops)
19-20 October 2017 (conference)

The Historical Network Research group is pleased to announce its 4th annual conference. Following conferences in Hamburg in 2013, Ghent in 2014, and in Lisbon in 2015, the 4th conference will be held at the University of Turku in Turku, Finland, on 17-20 October 2017 (see http://historicalnetworkresearch.org/hnr-conferences/).

The 4th Historical Network Research Conference seeks to further strengthen and foster the awareness of historians for the possibilities of network research and create possibilities for cross- and multidisciplinary approaches to the networked past by bringing together historians, social scientists and computer scientists.

The organisers welcome proposals for individual contributions discussing any historical period and geographical area. Topics might include, but are not limited to: historical social netwoks, policy networks, kinship and community, geospatial networks, cultural and intellectual networks, and methodological innovations.

The deadline for submissions of proposals is March 31, 2017.

For more information, please visit www.utu.fi/hnr2017

Historical networks session at Sunbelt

Sunbelt is the anual social network analysis conference, and for a few years now it’s been host to history and archaeology sessions. Do consider contributing to this year’s session, I was told by the organisers that archaeology talks are very welcome.

What? History session at Sunbelt

Where? Beijing

When? 30 May – 4 June 2017

Deadline 10 January

Session on “Historical Network Research” at Sunbelt 2017 in Beijing, 30 May – 4 June 2017

The XXXVII Sunbelt conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis, held in Beijing from 30 May to 4 June 2017 (http://insna.org/sunbelt2017/), will host a panel dedicated to Historical Network Research. All scholars interested in presenting a paper or poster within this session are cordially invited to submit an abstract by 10 January 2017 8 p.m. EST = 11 January 2017 1 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time through the conference website. Guidelines for the abstract, travel & accommodation information, FAQ, and the submission form are available at http://insna.org/sunbelt2017/ and the abstract submission is now open. The conference does not require submitting the text of the paper at any stage, only the abstract is needed. The abstract should be 200-500 words long (the limit of the relevant field in the form is about 1,400 characters), and should not contain bibliographic references. When submitting your abstract, please select “Historical Network Research” as the session title in the relevant drop-down menu.


Historical Network Research: Session Abstract

The methods of Social Network Analysis (SNA) have recently started to find their place in the historians’ toolkit, thus giving birth to the burgeoning discipline of Historical Network Research (HNR). After a successful series of smaller workshops devoted to HNR, an international conference explicitly focused on HNR was held in Hamburg (2013), followed by conferences in Ghent (2014), Lisbon (2015), and Turku (upcoming 2017). In addition, sessions devoted to the application of SNA to historical research have been organized at Sunbelt since 2013, and at EUSN since 2014. In 2016, the institutionalisation of HNR was marked by the creation of a new academic journal, the Journal of Historical Network Research (http://historicalnetworkresearch.org/journal/), whose first issue will be published in the summer of 2017.

The aim of this session is to contribute to this emerging field by bringing together historians and other scholars applying SNA to their respective research areas, and by enhancing international and interdisciplinary exchange. We invite papers that explore the application of the formal methods of SNA to historical research and/or delve into the added value of this approach. Topics may include, but are not limited to, network analyses of historical data (from any period) on social, political, and religious groups, movements, cliques, and organizations; communication; economic and intellectual exchange; kinship; social and political upheavals, conflicts, wars, and peace-making; the diffusion of representations, practices, and artefacts through social networks; the reconstruction of past social networks through material culture; etc.


Session organizer:

David ZbĂ­ral, Masaryk University, david.zbiral@mail.muni.cz


Session chairs:

Delfi I. Nieto-Isabel, University of Barcelona, delfinieto@ub.edu

David ZbĂ­ral, Masaryk University, david.zbiral@mail.muni.cz

CFP 10th Historical Network Research workshop

Via the Historical Network Research mailing list. The main language of the meeting is in German but English presentations are welcome.

Alpen-Adria-UniversitĂ€t Klagenfurt / Heinrich-Heine-UniversitĂ€t DĂŒsseldorf, Institut fĂŒr Geschichtswissenschaften, Lehrstuhl fĂŒr Geschichte der FrĂŒhen Neuzeit:

Florian Kerschbaumer / Dr. Tobias Winnerling

28.04.2016-30.04.2016, DĂŒsseldorf, Haus der UniversitĂ€t

Deadline: 25.11.2015

Call for Papers

Fakten verknĂŒpfen, Erkenntnisse schaffen? Historische Netzwerkforschung in Wissens- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Wissenschaft lebt von der Vernetzung. Das Klischee des einsamen Denkers, der isoliert von der Umwelt in seiner Experimentierstube arbeitet, trifft in den seltensten FĂ€llen zu. Wissenschaftliche Erkenntnis entstand in der Regel im Austausch zwischen Wissenschaftlern, im Dialog oder im Streit. Auch der Aspekt der Konkurrenz unter Wissenschaftlern um eine Erkenntnis spielt in diesem Kontext eine Rolle. Kurzum, Wissenschaftler arbeiten in Netzwerken.

Zur Analyse dieser Netzwerke liegt es nahe, sich auf die in den vergangenen Jahren zunehmend populĂ€r gewordene Methode der historischen Netzwerkforschung zu beziehen. LĂ€sst sich das PhĂ€nomen der Wissenschaft netzwerkanalytisch fassen oder eingrenzen? Wie kann die KomplexitĂ€t historischer Interaktionen und Akteure im wissenschaftlichen Feld angemessen einbezogen werden? Wie können Konzepte visualisiert und analysiert werden, die sich ĂŒber die Ebene reiner Personenbeziehungen hinauswagen und als 2-mode, 3-mode 
 n-mode-Netzwerke angelegt sind? Gerade in der Wissenschaftsgeschichte genĂŒgen einfach Person-zu-Person-Netzwerke nicht; es mĂŒssen Fragen des VerhĂ€ltnisses dynamischer (Personen, Institutionen) und statischer EntitĂ€ten (Orte, Objekte), individueller (Personen) und kollektiver Akteure (Institutionen, VerbĂ€nde, Parteien, Gruppen), von Akteuren und Ereignissen (Kongresse, Feste, BegrĂ€bnisse), von Produzenten, Produkten und ProduktionsstĂ€tten (etwa Autor – Verlag – Buch – Ort) und der Wechselwirkungen zwischen all diesen geklĂ€rt werden. All diese Möglichkeiten der Konstruktion sinnstiftender ZusammenhĂ€nge treffen in der Wissenschaftsgeschichte aufeinander – vielleicht noch mehr.

Daraus ergibt sich die Frage nach den Strukturen, Prozessen und Inhalten der Netzwerke und ihrem Wandel:

Strukturen: Gibt es spezifische Unterschiede zu anderen (nicht-wissenschaftlichen) Netzwerken? Wer waren die TrÀger der wissenschaftlichen Netzwerke? Welche Rolle spielten Einzelpersönlichkeiten, welche Rolle spielten Institutionen (Vereine, UniversitÀten, Wissenschaftsorganisationen)?

Prozesse: Wie entstehen wissenschaftliche Netzwerke, wie werden sie erhalten und warum verschwinden sie irgendwann?

Inhalte: Wie hÀngen wissenschaftliche Erkenntnis und Netzwerke zusammen? Gibt es Unterschiede zwischen den Disziplinen der Wissenschaft?

Der Workshop ist die 10. Veranstaltung der Reihe „Historische Netzwerkforschung“, die bereits seit 2009 ForscherInnen aus allen Bereichen eine Plattform zum Austausch ĂŒber neue Projekte, Entwicklungen und Techniken im Kontext der Historischen Netzwerkforschung bietet.

Eingesandt werden können daher – ganz im Sinne der Tradition der Veranstaltungsreihe – VorschlĂ€ge fĂŒr VortrĂ€ge, die sich in theoretischer und/oder praktischer Hinsicht mit den oben skizzierten Problemen befassen, aber auch zu Projekten der Historischen Netzwerkforschung, die ĂŒber den hier genannten Themenschwerpunkt hinausgehen. Alle wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen und theoretischen ZugĂ€nge sind dabei gleichermaßen willkommen, kreative Herangehensweisen ausdrĂŒcklich erwĂŒnscht.

VorschlĂ€ge fĂŒr mögliche PrĂ€sentationen bitten wir bis zum 25. November 2015 mittels Abstract (ca. 300 Wörter) an winnerling@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de zu senden. Wir bemĂŒhen uns um eine Finanzierung der Reise- und Übernachtungskosten, können dies jedoch zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt noch nicht garantieren.

Neben den VortrĂ€gen wird es auch einen EinfĂŒhrungsworkshop in die Historische Netzwerkforschung sowie einen Workshop fĂŒr Fortgeschrittene geben. Genauere Informationen hierzu werden noch zeitnah angekĂŒndigt. FĂŒr die Workshops freuen wir uns auf alle Interessierten und laden herzlich zur aktiven Teilnahme ein! Aus organisatorischen GrĂŒnden bitten wir auch hier um Voranmeldung unter  winnerling@phil.uni-duesseldorf.de.

Book: support networks for persecuted Jews in WWII

9783110368949I find support and assistance networks extremely interesting! Mainly because they pose so many interesting missing data problems, and as an archaeologist I like a good data problem from time to time. These kinds of networks are very much based on trust, since once a person or connection is compromised it will have disastrous, often murderous, consequences for many in the network. This topic is explored for the case of persecuted Jews in National Socialism during World War II in Marten DĂŒring’s work. He traced a number of different groups of people, how they got in touch with each other, and how they provided assistance to persecuted Jews. Marten told me in most cases the support networks grow slowly and are built on strong trusted relationships. Often new individuals will be introduced to the network through a common contact who has received assistance before and vouches for the individual. However, there are a few cases when individuals gambled and got in touch without a pre-existing well-trusted connection. Such decisions could be disastrous, sometimes leading to the entire network being rounded up by the Gestapo, questioned and sentenced (which is often why these support networks are documented and why Marten was able to reconstruct them). The ‘data problems’ I mentioned are a consequence of the sheer secretive nature of the support network: hiding the fact you offered support to persecuted Jews was a question of life or death. It is particularly hard to reconstruct support networks that were not caught by the Gestapo, and one can only assume that those that were caught are not entirely documented, that there are a lot of missing nodes and links. Marten DĂŒring offers us an in-depth look at a few cases which are particularly well-known, thanks to his rummaging around in archives for years.

I believe this study will prove invaluable for better understanding support networks and the missing data problems they pose. I see particular similarities with networks of the trade in licit antiquities, organized crime and really any type of so-called ‘dark network’. This work offers a reminder of how the study of the past can help us tackle challenges in the present.

Marten’s work was recently published by De Gruyter as a book, check it out here and find the abstract below.

Also keep an eye out for Marten’s chapter in the forthcoming ‘The Connected Past’ edited volume to be published by Oxford University Press early in 2016 🙂

Why did people help Jews hide from the Nazis? This study examines interactions between helpers and aid recipients using the methods of social network research. Based on six Berlin case studies, the author looks at the social determinants for willingness to help, trust formation, network effects, and the daily practice of providing help from the perspectives of helpers and aid recipients.

Historical Network Research vol. 3 in Lisbon

hnr2It’s been three years since the first edition of the international Historical Network Research conference, in Hamburg. The success of the first edition sparked an awesome second edition in Ghent, set in an amazing restored abbey complex. Now it’s time for episode III in Lisbon. The call for papers is open, please note the submission deadline of 30 June, details below. The Historical Network Research community is going strong and growing, along these conferences they promised to keep on organizing the smaller workshops they’ve been hosting in Germany for years now, so keep an eye out for that. I can definitely recommend attending the conference, I found the Ghent edition I attended a great experience.

CFP deadline: June 30 2015


Call for papers

The Historical Network Research is pleased to announce its 3rd Annual conference. Having been held in Hamburg in 2013 and Ghent in 2014, this year it will be held in Lisbon, on 15-18 September 2015.
This will be an opportunity to present historical research embedded in the field of social network analysis, as well as a chance to benefit from workshops designed to acquire analytic and visual tools.
Naturally, the Conference will be open not only to arts and humanities researchers, but also to social, formal, applied and natural scientists, who are interested in historical research and processes.
We welcome proposals for individual papers discussing any historical period and geographical area. Some of the topics include but are not limited to: Economic and business history; Scientific networks and collaborations; Technological and research networks; Social movements and political mobilization; Social network theory and historical research; Policy networks; Social network analysis, war and conflict; Kinship and community; Social networks and health; The geographical scope of networks; Cultural and intellectual networks; Methodological explorations


Papers for presentation will be selected, after peer review, on the basis of abstracts (up to 500 words). To apply please also include the title, 3 keywords, institutional affiliation, contact details and a brief CV or bio.
Each presentation will last no more than 15 minutes. The default language is English.

HNR workshop Bochum

bochumLast month’s Historical Network Research conference in Ghent was awesome! Can’t get enough of that networky goodness? Then you might be interested in the next event in the HNR series: “Vom SchĂŒrfen und KnĂŒpfen – Text Mining und Netzwerkanalyse fĂŒr Historiker_innen”, 10-12 April 2015 in Bochum. More info below.

HNR Workshop 2015

Vom SchĂŒrfen und KnĂŒpfen – Text Mining und Netzwerkanalyse fĂŒr Historiker_innen 10.–12. April 2015
Als 9. Veranstaltung in der Reihe „Historische Netzwerkforschung“ findet im April 2015 ein Workshop zu semantisch-sozialen Netzwerken an der Ruhr-UniversitĂ€t Bochum statt. Die Workshop-Reihe bietet historisch orientierten Forscher_innen aller Fachbereich erste Einblicke in die Methodik und eine Plattform zum Austausch ĂŒber die neuesten Techniken der Netzwerkanalyse. Unter dieser Zielsetzung wird sich der Bochumer Workshop mit der Methode des Text Mining beschĂ€ftigen, die eine zunehmende Automatisierung der Erstellung von Netzwerken aus historischem Material ermöglicht. DarĂŒber hinaus spielt die Frage nach den Dimensionen von Texten, die durch diese Methoden reprĂ€sentiert werden können, eine Rolle. Hierbei bieten semantisch-soziale Netzwerke die Möglichkeit, sich zum einen mit BegriffszusammenhĂ€ngen und Konzeptualisierungen, zum anderen mit Beziehungen zwischen EntitĂ€ten auseinanderzusetzen.

Der Workshop soll auch Teilnehmer_innen ohne Vorkenntnisse zeigen, wie Relationen von Worten und/oder EntitĂ€ten aus einem Text mithilfe von computergestĂŒtzten Verfahren erzeugt und graphisch abgebildet werden können, ohne dass sie zunĂ€chst manuell (beispielsweise in einer Tabelle) erfasst werden mĂŒssen.

Am Freitagvormittag besteht die Möglichkeit, vor der offiziellen Eröffnung des Workshops, an einer EinfĂŒhrung in die Programmiersprachen Python und/oder R teilzunehmen. WĂ€hrend des Workshops gibt es eine mehrstĂŒndige Session zum Visualisierungsprogramm Gephi.

DarĂŒber hinaus sollen die Teilnehmer_innen erste Einblicke in die folgenden Bereiche bekommen:

Eigenschaften, die ein Text besitzen sollte, um ein Netzwerk erstellen zu können
Möglichkeiten, die es zur Verbesserung der QualitÀt von Netzwerken gibt
Tools und Computerprogramme, die bei der Erstellung von Netzwerken helfen können
Fragestellungen, die durch die semantisch-soziale Netzwerkanalyse beantwortet werden können
Auf diese Weise soll gezeigt werden, wie man einen Text zunĂ€chst „schĂŒrft“, um schließlich ein Netzwerk zu „knĂŒpfen“.

Zum Call for Presentations/Participation

It’s that conference season again!

This month is just raining interesting conferences again! If you’re into the kind of research I like that is: social simulation, The Connected Past, and Historical Networks Research … Ooooooh Yeeeeaaah! 🙂

Two weeks ago I was in Barcelona for the Social Simulation Conference and the Simulating the Past satellite conference. Reports of this event on my blog did not get beyond part 1. That’s just because Barcelona is so much fun and it would be a shame to sit in a hotel room writing blog posts any longer than I already did. The conference was great overall. There was a surprising number of talks presenting a project outline rather than results. Although conferences are good places to recruit people on such projects, these talks are not always as engaging as others.

Ulrik Brandes giving a keynote presentation at TCP London
Ulrik Brandes giving a keynote presentation at TCP London

Last week I co-organised The Connected Past with Tim Evans and Ray Rivers at Imperial College London, and the rest of the Connected Past team. It strikes me as a wonderful thing how every time we organise an event we attract a truly multi-disciplinary, young, and curious audience. Interestingly there is also always a slight majority of female scholars at The Connected Past events, which is very welcome given that in academia often the opposite is true. Our audience is always a particularly studious bunch. Humanities scholars looking to learn more about what that network thing is all about, and scholars from the hard sciences who want to know if they can jump on a research topic/problem/dataset that is slightly more sexy than gravity. The keynote talks by Alan Wilson, Ulrik Brandes and Joaquim Fort were brilliant! Each drew from their personal experiences of applying a different computation modelling approach to archaeological research: agent-based modelling, network modelling, and statistical modelling. In particular, I can recommend Brandes’co-authored paper entitled ‘what is network science?’, which is definitely required reading for anyone following this blog. I am sure this is not gonna be the last Connected Past event. In fact, I’ll be able to announce some cool TCP news very soon I hope.

This week it’s time for Historical Networks Research, an initiative that already received loads of blogspace here. No need to break the trend: expect reports from the keynotes and talks as the conference progresses over the coming days. I am particularly looking forward to the keynote by Claire Lemercier, who organised a fantastic TCP in Paris in April. Claire is a real pioneer in applying network science in history, and her review article on the subject is a must-read for any historians interested in networks. Stay tuned for more on Historical Networks Research soon!

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’ArchĂ©ologie, 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.

CFP Historical Network Research at Sunbelt SNA conferece Florida

histnetAfter a successful session at the Hamburg Sunbelt SNA conference and their conference also in Hamburg, my colleagues at Historical Network Research are hosting another session at next year’s Sunbelt, this time in Florida! All details for their call for papers you can find below.

Call for papers “Historical Network Research” at the XXXIV. Sunbelt Conference, 18-23 February – St Pete Beach

The concepts and methods of social network analysis in historical research are recently being used not only as a mere metaphor but are increasingly applied in practice. In the last decades several studies in the social sciences proved that formal methods derived from social network analysis can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies of historical data as well. These studies however tend to be strongly influenced by concerns, standards of data processing, and, above all, epistemological paradigms that have their roots in the social sciences. Among historians, the term network has been used in a metaphorical sense alone for a long time. It was only recently that this has changed.

Following a total of five successful sessions on network analysis in the historical disciplines at Sunbelt 2013 in Hamburg, we invite papers which integrate social network analysis methods and historical research methods and reflect on the added value of their methodologies. Topics could cover (but are not limited to) network analyses of correspondences, social movements, kinship or economic systems in any historical period.

Submission will be closing on November 30. Please limit your abstract to 250 words and submit your abstract here. Please mention “Historical Network Research” as session title in the comment section of the abstract submission website.

For further information on the venue and conference registration see the conference website, for any questions regarding the panel, please get in touch with the session organizers.

Session organizers:
Marten During, Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe, md@martenduering.com
Martin Stark, University of Hamburg, martin.stark@wiso.uni-hamburg.de
Scott B. Weingart, Indiana University Bloomington, weingart.scott+irregular@gmail.com

Check historical networks research for a detailed bibliography, conferences, screencasts and other resources.

With best wishes,

Marten on behalf of Martin and Scott

Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks News

The Leonardo AHCN satellite symposium at NetSci is becoming a real tradition thanks to all the work of Max Schich, Isabel Meirelles and Roger Malina and their collaborators. They recently launched an ebook which I mentioned in a previous post. This ebook is discussed more elaborately in a recent Leonardo Journal podcast, so listen to that if you are considering buying the ebook. The previous edition of AHCN was also discussed by artist and writer Meredith Tromble. It’s a really nice story about the event and Meredith shares some cool insights and experiences.

Looking forward to next year’s edition!

Registration open for The Connected Past!

Registration for ‘The Connected Past: People, Networks and Complexity in Archaeology and History’ is now open. Everyone is welcome to attend this two-day multi-disciplinary symposium. Registration and payment details are available online. Please note that places to the event are limited, we suggest registering well before the deadline of 29 February to make sure your seat is reserved. Registration for concessions is ÂŁ30, standard rate is ÂŁ45.

The event will take place 24-25 March 2012 at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Southampton (UK). This is the two days before and at the same venue as the Computer Applications and Quantitative Techniques in Archaeology conference (CAA2012). We are delighted with the great response to our call for papers by scholars from disciplines as diverse as archaeology, history, mathematics, physics, computer science and classics. The range of topics is equally diverse, but all contributors and keynotes (Carl Knappett, Irad Malkin and Alex Bentley) promise to make original contributions to the use of networks and complexity in archaeology and history. The full list of accepted papers and posters is now available online and below.

We are looking forward to seeing you at The Connected Past!

Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar and Fiona Coward

Confirmed presentations:

Carl Knappett – keynote (University of Toronto)‹“Networks of Objects, Meshworks of Things”

Irad Malkin – keynote (Tel Aviv University)‹“The Spatial Turn, Network Theory, and the Archaic Greek World”

Alex Bentley – keynote (University of Bristol)‹“Networks, complexity and the archaeology of complex social systems”

Craig Alexander (University of Cambridge)‹“Networks and intervisibility: a study of Iron Age Valcamonica”

Juan A. Barceló et al. (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)‹“Simulating the Emergence of Social Networks of Restricted Cooperation in Prehistory. A Bayesian network approach”

Andrew Bevan (University College London)‹“When nodes and edges dissolve. Incorporating geographic uncertainty into the analysis of settlement interactions”

Tom Brughmans (Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton)

Marco BĂŒchler (Leipzig eHumanities Research Group)‹“Generation of Text Graphs and Text Re-use Graphs from Massive Digital Data”

Mark Depauw and Bart Van Beek (K.U. Leuven)‹“Authority and Social Interaction in Graeco‐Roman Egypt”

Marten DĂŒring (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen)‹“How reliable are centrality and clustering measures for data collected from fragmentary and heterogenuous historical sources? A case study”

Tim Evans (Imperial College London)‹“Which Network Model Should I Use? A Quantitative Comparison of Spatial Network Models in Archaeology”

Evi Gorogianni (University of Akron)‹“Marrying out: a consideration of cultural exogamy and its implications on material culture”

Eivind Heldaas Seland (University of Bergen)‹“Travel and religion in late antiquity”

Elena Isayev (University of Exeter)‹“Edging beyond the shore: Questioning Polybius’s view of Rome and Italy at the dawn of the ‘global moment’ of the 2nd century BC”

Anne Kandler and Fabio Caccioli (Santa Fe Institute)‹“The effects of network structure on cultural change”

Katherine Larson (University of Michigan)‹“Sign Here: Tracing Spatial and Social Networks of Hellenistic Sculptors”

Claire Lemercier and Paul-AndrĂ© Rosental (CNRS and Sciences-Po, Paris)‹“Networks in time and space. The structure and dynamics of migration in 19th-century Northern France”

Qiming Lv et al. (University of Sheffield)‹“Network-based spatial-temporal modelling of the first arrival of prehistoric agriculture”

Herbert Maschner et al. (Idaho State University, Idaho Museum of Natural History, Santa Fe Institute, Stanford University, Sandhill Institute)‹“Food-webs as network tools for investigating historic and prehistoric roles of humans as consumers in marine ecosystems”

Barbara Mills et al. (University of Arizona)‹“Dynamic Network Analysis: Stability and Collapse in U.S. Southwest, A.D. 1200-1500″

Ekaterini Mitsiou (Institute for Byzantine Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences)‹“Networks of state building: State collapses and aristocratic networks in the 13th century Eastern Mediterranean”

Angus Mol and Corinne Hofman (Leiden University)‹“Networks Set in Stone: Lithic production and exchange in the early prehistoric northeastern Caribbean”

Johannes Preiser-Kappeller (Institute for Byzantine Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences)‹“Luhmann in Byzantium. A systems theory approach for historical network analysis”

Alessandro Quercia and Lin Foxhall (University of Leicester)‹“Weaving networks in pre-Roman South Italy. Using loom weight data to understand complex relationships and social identities”

Ray Rivers (Imperial College London)‹“â€ȘCan we always get what we want?”

Wilko Schroeter (University of Vienna)‹“The social marriage network of Europe’s ruling families from 1600-1900″

Sþren Sindbék (University of York)‹“Contextual network synthesis: Reading communication in archaeology”

Amara Thornton (University College London)‹“Reconstructing Networks in the History of Archaeology”

Astrid Van Oyen (University of Cambridge)‹“Actors as networks? How to make Actor-Network-Theory work for archaeology: on the reality of categories in the production of Roman terra sigillata”

Confirmed posters:

Craig Alexander and Alberto Marretta (University of Cambridge, Centro Ricerche Antropologiche Alpi Centrali)‹“Network analysis of “complex topographic” images in Valcamonica (Lombardy), Italy”

Kimberley van den Berg (VU University Amsterdam)‹“Good to Think With: exploring the potential of networks as a concept metaphor or intellectual tool”

Sarah Craft (Brown University)‹“Networks on the Ground: Travel Infrastructure and Early Christian Pilgrimage”

Marta Fanello (University of Leicester)‹“Prismatic networks: interaction clues in Late Iron Age Britain”

Ioanna Galanaki (British School at Athens)‹“Social change and inter/intra-group connectivity: the example of the Middle Bronze Age communities in Mainland Greece”

Aaron Greener

Stefan Jaenicke (Leipzig eHumanities Research Group)‹“Europeana4D – Visualizing and exploring geospatio-temporal data”

Asuman Laetzer-Lasar (University of Cologne)‹“Network of Hellenistic Ephesos under Roman Rule – the ceramic evidence”

Frank Prendergast (Dublin Institute of Technology and University College Dublin)

Giulia Saltini Semerari (Royal Netherlands Institute at Rome)‹“A feedback loop: the socioeconomic causes of the Orientalising revolution”

Keith Scholes (University of York)‹“Building Early Medieval Networks: Sources and Construction”

Bastian Still (University College London)‹“Wife-givers and Wife-takers: Marriage networks in Babylonia”

A small Greek world, by Irad Malkin

Irad Malkin’s new book ‘A small Greek world: networks in the Ancient Mediterranean’ has just appeared with Oxford University Press. Looks like a fascinating read, seeing Ancient Greek history through network goggles. Now available at a reduced price as well! See the offer on the publisher’s webpage.

Here is the book’s summary:

Greek civilization and identity crystallized not when Greeks were close together but when they came to be far apart. It emerged during the Archaic period when Greeks founded coastal city states and trading stations in ever-widening horizons from the Ukraine to Spain. No center directed their diffusion: mother cities were numerous and the new settlements (“colonies”) would often engender more settlements. The “Greek center” was at sea; it was formed through back-ripple effects of cultural convergence, following the physical divergence of independent settlements. “The shores of Greece are like hems stitched onto the lands of Barbarian peoples” (Cicero). Overall, and regardless of distance, settlement practices became Greek in the making and Greek communities far more resembled each other than any of their particular neighbors like the Etruscans, Iberians, Scythians, or Libyans. The contrast between “center and periphery” hardly mattered (all was peri-, “around,” nor was a bi-polar contrast with Barbarians of much significance.

Should we admire the Greeks for having created their civilization in spite of the enormous distances and discontinuous territories separating their independent communities? Or did the salient aspects of their civilization form and crystallize because of its architecture as a de-centralized network? This book claims that the answer lies in network attributes shaping a “Small Greek World,” where separation is measured by degrees of contact rather than by physical dimensions.

Workshop historical network research in SaarbrĂŒcken

From 26 to 28 May a workshop on historical networks will be held at the UniversitĂ€t des Saarlandes, organised by the people of the ‘Historical network research’ platform. The scope seems pretty wide, covering theoretical papers, geographical networks, software and social, cultural, political and trade networks in historical case-studies. Although there are no explicit archaeological applications, these papers should be extremely relevant to what we are doing as archaeological network analysts.

Read the full list of papers in this programme.

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