digiTAG2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

October 4, 2016

Source:  Dr. Sara Perry’s blog. By Sara Perry and James Taylor.


There is a perception of a divide between archaeological communities dedicated to different topics, and there definitely is quite a bit of miscommunication of research between theoretical and digital archaeology communities. This often leads to archaeologists taking an extreme and unconstructive stance towards the work done in other communities. In my opinion this is a total waste of energy that should be spent on more in-depth critical engagement with digital and theoretical archaeology. But there are very few initiatives that provide a platform for members of different communities to discuss their work in a constructive and friendly way; there is a need for such platforms that help us achieve better, richer ways of doing archaeology.


This is exactly the kind of necessary opportunity provided by digiTAG! One of the most popular sessions at CAA last year was not about networks (surprise surprise) but ‘digiTAG’: a cool new initiative stimulating cross-feritilization between communities predominantly concerned with digital (CAA) and theoretical (TAG) topics. A second session is now announced, to be held at TAG in Southampton on 19-21 December 2016. I strongly recommend attending or presenting at this session.

The following post on Dr. Sara Perry’s blog provides more information about the event. The session focuses on storytelling and the digital turn, which I find great topics for building bridges! Although I think the digital has been turning for a very long time in archaeology and has been ubiquitous in archaeological research for about the last two decades in some form or other. That said, I think there is a massive need for more original creative uses of digital methods that don’t just allow us to do what we did before faster and applied to more data, but that allow us to do entirely new things that push our knowledge of the past further. There is a lack of this in digital archaeology, and I don’t mind turning more in that direction.

I’m so pleased to announce that Dr James Taylor and myself will be hosting a follow-up to our successful first digiTAG (digital Theoretical Archaeology Group) event held in Oslo in the springtime. Sponsored by both TAG and the CAA (Computing Applications in Archaeology), digiTAG II will feature at the TAG UK conference in Southampton, 19-21 December, 2016.

Our aim through the digiTAG series is to deepen our critical engagements w digital media and digital methods in archaeology and heritage. digiTAG II seeks to focus our thinking specifically on digital tools as they are enrolled in creating stories about the past. To this end, we are looking for contributors to talk about, experiment with, involve or otherwise immerse us in their archaeological/heritage storytelling work.

Such storytelling work may entail innovating with:

  • lab or excavation reports
  • recording sheets
  • maps, plans, section views, sketches, illustrations, and other forms of on-site visual recording
  • collections and databases
  • data stories or data ethnographies
  • digital data capture (survey, photogrammetry, laser scanning, remote sensing, etc.)
  • artefact or museums catalogues
  • digital media forms (VR, AR, videogames, webpages, apps, etc.)
  • books or manuscripts
  • articles, zines, comics, news reports, art pieces
  • audioguides, podcasts, music or sound installations
  • maps, trails, panels, labels, guidebooks, brochures, and other forms of interpretation & interpretative infrastructure
  • touch maps, handling materials/collections, tactile writing systems, 3d prints, models & more!

We welcome both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your digiTAG II presentation. Please submit your abstracts (up to 250 words) tojames.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November.

We hope to hear from you & don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. The full CFP is copied below:

TAG and the CAA present…

digiTAG 2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

Session organisers:

Dr. James Taylor (University of York) – primary correspondant.


Dr. Sara Perry (University of York)



In April of 2016 the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) teamed up with the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference to run a successful Digital TAG (digiTAG) session in Oslo, Norway. This session sought to question, challenge, appraise and reconceive the epistemological and research-oriented implications of the digital turn in archaeology, including its larger social, political and economic consequences.

That event, building on a long history of engagement with digital processes and digital media at both the TAG and CAA conferences, brought together 15 practitioners from around the world working in all domains of archaeology–from the lab to the field, from the museum to the classroom. Here they situated their (and others’) use of digital technologies within wider theoretical contexts, and with critical self-awareness, thereby opening up a space for rigorous evaluations of impact and reflections on overall disciplinary change. digiTAG 2 now aims to build upon the success of the first digiTAG, extending critical conversation about the discipline’s digital engagements at a finer-grained level in concert with a diverse audience of theoretical archaeologists.

However, digiTAG 2 seeks to narrow our discussion, in specific, on the concept of digital storytelling and the ramifications of the digital turn on larger interpretations of the past. Given the frequency and intensity with which digital media are now enrolled to structure, articulate, visualise and circulate information for the production of archaeological narratives, we invite participants to present papers that critically consider the impact of the digital turn upon archaeological interpretation and archaeology’s many stories.

Whether you direct your digital engagements at professional, academic or non-specialist audiences – whether you deploy digital tools for data collection, data analysis, synthesis, and dissemination or beyond – we ask, how are your stories affected? Does the digital enable new and different narratives? Does it extend or narrow audience engagement? When does it harm or hinder, complicate or obfuscate? And when – and for whom – does it create richer, more meaningful storytelling about the past?

To explore these questions, we encourage both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your talk. Ultimately, digiTAG 2 aims to delve into the critical implications of archaeologists’ use of digital technologies on processes of knowledge creation.

Submit titles & abstracts (up to 250 words) to james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November 2016.

Love sampling, stats and networks? (really?) Present at our CAA 2017 session in Atlanta!

September 26, 2016

caaThe CAA call for papers and posters is now open until 28 October! The full list of sessions is published here. Among them you will notice a most awesomely appealing title: “Archaeological Networks: Uncertainty, Missing Data, and Statistical Inference”. Fancy nerding out on networks, stats and sampling? Then present a paper in the session Matt Peeples and myself will chair.

Archaeological Networks: Uncertainty, Missing Data, and Statistical Inference

Empirical studies of networks based on archaeological data are on a rapid rise. So far, the adoption of network methods from other fields has outpaced the development of new techniques and heuristics for dealing with the sometimes peculiar qualities of archaeological network data. Key among the issues faced by archaeologists interested in using networks are the impact of uncertainty and missing data on the properties of the networks we generate. We often must build networks based on an incomplete universe of nodes (because our units of analysis lack current archaeological information or have been destroyed) as well as incomplete information about the nodes we do have (due to sampling issues, different recording conventions, etc.). Further, we often have no consistent way to estimate how much information we are missing. The prevalence of such known unknowns and unknown unknowns suggest that we must carefully temper inferences drawn from networks defined using archaeological data. Importantly, all hope is not lost and these challenges are not unique to archaeology or network data alone. In this session, we ask contributors to explore the potential impact of missing data on empirical archaeological networks and/or test tools and approaches for identifying robust patterns in archaeological networks despite such challenges. Approaches may include, for example, the use of probabilistic estimates and sensitivity analysis already popular in many other areas of archaeological statistical analysis such as seriation or methods specific to network data drawing on the large body of research focused on estimating the shape and properties of so called “dark” networks (common in studies of covert organizations, epidemiology, and infectious disease). In addition, this session welcomes archaeological applications of network methods in general.

13 PhD positions in Digital History, Luxembourg

September 8, 2016

These positions might be of interest for those wishing to do (archaeological) historical network research. Deadline 1 October 2016!

Details here.

The Historical Institute / Center for Contemporary and Digital History University of Luxembourg has obtained a large grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg in the framework of the so-called PRIDE-program, enabling the creation of a Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) and opens up to
13 positions for PhD students (Doctoral candidates) in the field of digital history and hermeneutics (m/f)

  •  Ref: R-STR-3067-00-B
  • Starting date: 15th January 2017
  • Duration: 14-months initial contract, extendable up to 3 years, further extendable by 1 year if required, 40 hours/week
  • Doctoral student status at Luxembourg University
  • Deadline for applications: 1st October 2016
Your Role
  • This DTU aims at creating an experimental trading zone for the reflection on the epistemological and methodological challenges of doing digital history / humanities research in an interdisciplinary setting. All PhD students will have to conduct their research within the conceptual framework of the DTU. Participation in the collectively organized skills trainings on digital literacy as well as active participation in the planning and organization of thematic workshops of the DTU will be required. For a detailed description of the DTU and the thematic axes see: http://www.dhlab.lu/digital-literacy/digital-history-hermeneutics-dtu/
  • Presentation of research findings at workshops and conferences
  • Publication of papers / scientific articles in peer-reviewed international journals
  • Possibility of participating in teaching activities (seminars)
Your Profile
  • Master’s Degree (or equivalent) in a Humanities discipline (History, Philosophy, Sociology, Linguistics, Archaeology) or related disciplines such as Geography; or in Computer Sciences, Data and Information Science, Human-Computer-Interaction and Psychology. It is possible to apply if the respective degree is to be obtained soon (details to be given in the application
  • Good command of written and spoken English
  • Dedication to actively participate in the interdisciplinary framework of the DTU
  • Willingness to integrate in the “experimental space” of the DTU
We offer
  •  The University of Luxembourg offers a dynamic environment with a large number of ongoing scientific activities (English as working language; additionally, French and German are accepted as literary languages for the writing of the PhD thesis) and a cutting edge digital research infrastructur
  • Financial support (travel allowances) for participating in scientific activities (workshops, conferences, summer schools, etc.
  • Attractive salary and employment contract including social insurance contribution
  • Enrolment in the doctoral school of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) or of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) with an interesting offer of various disciplinary or interdisciplinary courses and transferable skills trainings
Further Information

PhD Advisors and Research Areas
• Ass.-Prof. Andrea Binsfeld: ancient history, slave history, roman archaeology
• Prof. Pascal Bouvry; computer science, heuristics of search, search optimization, parallel computing
• Ass.-Prof. Geoffrey Caruso: geovisualisation, spatial data mining, GIS, urban analysis
• Prof. Andreas Fickers: digital history, historical epistemology, history of media and technology
• Prof. Peter Gilles: linguistics, corpus linguistics, digital humanities, Luxembourg studies
• Prof. Frank Hofmann: philosophy, epistemology, theories of cognition, knowledge and rationality
• Dr. Vincent Koenig: human-computer interaction, cognitive ergonomics
• Ass.-Prof. Benoît Majerus: European history, war studies, medical history, memory studies
• Prof. Michel Margue: historiography, memory studies, medieval history, historical hermeneutics
• Ass.-Prof. Christoph Schommer: data mining, data science, information retrieval, text mining
• Ass.-Prof. Denis Scuto: contemporary history of Luxembourg, migration history, historical didactics
• Prof. Leon van der Torre: arcificial intelligence, knowledge representation, deontic/legal reasoning, argumentation, NLP
• Dr. Martin Uhrmacher: urban history, regional history, historical cartography, medical history

Further Information

Application Documents

Letter of motivation containing compulsorily

  • an explanation of the motives for participating in the DTU and of expected learning outcomes and career perspectives
  • a sketch of a research project (2 pages max) that fits into at least one of the thematic axes developed in the DTU proposal
  • an argued preference for a main supervisor out of the list of PhD advisors listed above

Full CV

Transcript of academic records and copies of diplomas

Names of at least two references who are willing to write a letter of recommendation on the candidate’s behalf (they may be contacted by us)


  • 11 of the 13 positions are funded by the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg in the PRIDE scheme. 2 PhD positions are funded by the University.
  • General questions concerning the structure, intellectual agenda and organization of the DTU should be addressed to the DTU coordinator Prof. Andreas Fickers: andreas.fickers@uni.lu
  • Administrative questions shall be addressed to andreas.fickers@uni.lu
  • Scientific questions should be addressed directly to the corresponding potential PhD advisor

All applications must be submitted online. Deadline: 1st of October 2016.

The University of Luxembourg is an equal opportunity employer and applications by women are especially encouraged

Postdoc position: six degrees of Francis Bacon

September 6, 2016

This DH postdoc on a network project might be of interest to some reading this blog. More details here.

Deadline 15 September!

Seeking A Postdoctoral Fellow

Thanks to a recent Digital Humanities Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of English seeks a one-year Postdoctoral Fellow/Research Associate to lead day-to-day programming and data curation activities for Six Degrees of Francis Bacon. Six Degrees of Francis Bacon is a digital reconstruction of the early modern social network that scholars and students can collaboratively expand, revise, curate, and critique. The successful candidate will likely have a PhD in History, English, Library and Information Science, or a related discipline with demonstrated experience in web development or digital humanities.

The fellow will be housed in the Department of English in the Dietrich College of Arts and Social Sciences and work with Associate Professor Christopher Warren, Principal Investigator of the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project. Day-to-day work will involve a disciplinarily diverse and geographically disparate team of Six Degrees collaborators, including literary historians, historians of science, librarians, statisticians, and web developers.

Job Duties

The fellow will leverage expertise in a humanities discipline and a strong technical aptitude to help fulfill five priorities of the NEH Digital Humanities Implementation Grant:

• Enriching project data.

• Enhancing user experience.

• Integrating with other digital resources.

• Identifying and partnering with an institutional home for long-term preservation.

• Packaging and distributing website code so that scholars can create similar networks for different eras and regions.

Required Knowledge and Skills

• Ph.D. or ABD in a relevant subfield of a humanities discipline or Library and Information Sciences.

• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and successfully in a team-based environment.

• Demonstrated willingness to learn technical programming and data curation skills.

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Preferred Knowledge and Skills

• Experience with modern web development, system administration, databases, or programming languages relevant to the project, including R, Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, or Python.

• Demonstrated experience in project management and/or digital humanities research.

• Ph.D. in a relevant subfield of the humanities.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter, a CV with links to current/past digital projects, and contact information for three references at https://cmu.taleo.net/careersection/2/jobdetail.ftl?job=2003958.

Review of applications will begin September 16, 2016 with Google Hangout interviews likely beginning in October.

More Information:

Please visit “Why Carnegie Mellon” to learn more about becoming part of an institution inspiring innovations that change the world.

A listing of employee benefits is available at: http://www.cmu.edu/jobs/benefits-at-a-glance/index.html

Salary: $60,000

Finding the limits of the Limes: call for papers

September 2, 2016

limesRomans and networks: it’s my thing! So it should not come as a surprise that I recommend presenting at the conference ‘Finding the limits of the Limes‘. It’s the final conference of a project at VU Amsterdam led by Philip Verhagen. The conference has an entire session on network approaches in which I will present an overview. Aside from networks, the conference welcomes other modelling approaches applied to Roman archaeology. So do consider submitting an abstract!

When? 26-27 January 2017

Where? VU Amsterdam

Deadline call for papers: 1 October 2016

Details on the website and below.

On 26 and 27 January 2017, we will organize a conference at VU University Amsterdam to present and discuss the results of our project.

During the conference, we want to focus on four major topics: subsistence economy, demography, transport and mobility, and socio-economic networks in the Roman period. We invite scholars working on these issues to submit a paper in one of the sessions mentioned below.

Please send a title and abstract of max. 300 words to dr. Philip Verhagen (j.w.h.p.verhagen@vu.nl) before 1 October 2016. Paper presenters will be given the opportunity to publish in the project’s final publication.

Hoping to see you in Amsterdam!

Philip Verhagen
Jamie Joyce
Mark Groenhuijzen

SESSSION 1: Modelling the agricultural economy in the Roman world

The necessity of the agricultural economy in the Roman world is undoubted. Most of the population in the Roman world engaged in agriculture- peasants balancing on the edge between famine and sufficiency, obliged not only to support their households but also to supply the state with supplies and manpower. Yet, the adage that our understanding of the classical world is formed largely from the ancient elites is still pertinent. The peasant in the classical world remains largely invisible and so too the economy and subsistence of the vast majority of the inhabitants in the Roman world. Furthermore, whilst we have a broad knowledge of the rural economy in the Roman world such as diet, farming practices and technology, and quantification of agricultural output, we are still missing more detailed understanding in variations across the empire on different scales.

The Finding the Limits of the Limes project has focused on the rural native economy of the Dutch Roman limes zone which was characterised by a mixed agricultural economy in a highly militarised frontier zone. In addition, the project has researched non-food producing activities namely fuel and wood management. We have utilized an agent-based modelling approach to simulate different strategies within the mixed agricultural economy of the region, with a particular interest in interactions between the different activities and the limits on surplus production presented by land and labour costs for these different approaches to agriculture. Furthermore, we have simulated the rural economy over different geographic and temporal scales: from the pre-Roman Iron Age to the Middle Roman Period, from the household to the micro-region.

To complement and contrast with our research in the Dutch Roman limes zone, we invite contributions concerning the rural economy in the Roman world. In particular, we seek papers concerning:

  • Defining the limits of agricultural production within the rural economy (such as animal husbandry, arable farming, and fuel-management) in the northern Roman provinces.
  • Multidisciplinary approaches for the understanding of agriculture in the Roman world incorporating, where applicable, traditional archaeological methods, environmental archaeology and computational modelling.
  • The interactions between consumers and native producers in the Roman world, particularly the supply to and demand from the Roman military

SESSION 2: Modelling demography in the Roman Empire

Demographic studies of the Roman Empire have a long history, but are severely hampered by a lack of reliable written sources. In the absence of such sources, archaeologists routinely rely on survey and excavation data to estimate population densities, but these only provide limited understanding of the underlying principles of human population dynamics that would allow us to confidently predict the size and composition of (parts of) the Roman population. Nevertheless, knowledge of historic population dynamics is extremely important for a better understanding of all kinds of socio-economic issues. In our project, we have used demographic estimates to better understand the potential of the study region for agricultural surplus production: was there sufficient labour force available, and did the forced recruitment of soldiers pose significant problems to the local population? For this, we relied on dynamical models of human reproduction, and confronted the model results with archaeological data and historical evidence.

In this session, we invite papers that apply modelling approaches to demographic questions in order to investigate socio-economic issues, such as the production capacity of the countryside, population growth and settlement pattern development, the impact of mortality crises on economic production and military power, or the influence of birth and marriage control strategies on available workforce. We also invite papers dealing with the problems of building reliable and usable demographic models, including their sensitivity to changes in input parameters, the choice of an appropriate temporal and spatial scale, and the problems of testing the outcomes.

SESSION 3: Modelling transport and mobility in the Roman period

Research on transport and mobility in the Roman period has largely focussed on interactions on regional to empire-wide scales. In contrast, we know very little about local-scale movements, which is at least partly the result of a relative lack of archaeological and historical material to work with. The use of spatial modelling techniques has become common to bridge the gap between theoretical notions of short- to medium-distance mobility and the lack of evidence for it. In this session we want to focus on the practical and theoretical implications of using modelling approaches to better understand transport and mobility on the local to regional scales. We specifically invite papers that deal with new approaches to modelling transport or mobility, papers that link transport models to economic models, and papers that discuss the archaeological, anthropological, physiological and/or (socio-)economic theoretical foundations of modelling transport and mobility.

SESSION 4: Networks and the socio-economic structure of the Roman period

Interactions between people are at the core of archaeological research on the cultural landscape and socio-economic structure within the Dutch limes zone. To identify patterns in relationships between archaeological data, network analysis has become an increasingly used tool. In this session we aim to explore how we can better understand the functioning of the economy, transport, and specifically the spatial and economic relations between people, by applying concepts of network science and formal network analysis techniques. We are especially interested in papers that apply network analysis to address these topics in an innovative way, papers that link network models to (socio-)economic concepts, and papers that discuss the theoretical implications and limitations of both the techniques and the data.

CAA 2017 Atlanta call for sessions closes tomorrow

August 25, 2016

caa2017If you have not done so already, time to submit your session proposal for next year’s CAA conference in Atlanta.The deadline is the 26th of August, tomorrow. You can submit your session proposal here, and for more information about the workshop submission process see the CAA2017 website.

Postdoc Barcelona social simulation and Roman economy

June 30, 2016

bscThis position might be of interest to those with some strong computer science skills. The roman EPnet project is fantastic and allows you to work with some great network scientists to study the Roman economy. And Barcelona is not a bad place to live either🙂

Apply here.

Social Simulation – Senior Postdoctoral Researcher – R3 – Established Researcher
Monday, 15 August, 2016


About BSC

BSC-CNS (Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación) is the National Supercomputing Facility in Spain and manages MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. The mission of BSC-CNS is to investigate, develop and manage information technology in order to facilitate scientific progress. With this aim, special dedication has been taken to areas such as Computer Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Computational Applications in Science and Engineering

Look at the BSC experience:

BSC-CNS YouTube Channel

BSC-CNS Corporate Video

Let’s stay connected with BSC Folks!


Context and Mission of the role

The Social Simulation group from the Computer Applications & Engineering Department at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center is offering a postdoc position on Computer Science available in the ERC-project “EPNet. Production and Distribution of Food during the Roman Empire: Economic and Political Dynamics” (http://www.roman-ep.net/). The project involves an exciting opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary project aimed to explore the use of computer simulation in the study of human behavior.

The candidate would contribute to the creation of new social simulation paradigms through research and development of Pandora, a new open-source Agent-Based Modelling framework, currently being developed at BSC: http://www.bsc.es/computer-applications/pandora-hpc-agent-based-modelling-framework Also, have to be interested in the use of mathematical techniques in social sciences. Specifically in the use of statistical modeling, artificial intelligence and game theory to model social phenomena.



  • Integration in the development team that is creating and maintaining the Pandora framework.
  • Full responsibility on statistical analysis of archaeological data.
  • Development of computer simulations designed to explore trade dynamics and cultural evolution.
  • Supervision of PhD Students



  • Education
  •  PhD in Applied Mathematics or Computer Science


  • Knowledge and professional experience
  • C/C++ and Python programming languages
  • MPI/OpenMP protocols
  • GNU/Linux
  • Advanced Statistics
  • Experience with agent based models and Bayesian statistics
  • Experience in the use of simulation applied to archeological research and cultural modeling will be highly valuated. Especially if it is applied to archeological sites of the Roman empire



In order to be successful in this role the candidate should have:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English
  • Able to have a conversation in Spanish
  • Ability to work in a professional environment within a multidisciplinary and international team
  • Knowledge of design principals to improve visual communication of data. Knowledge of design software (e.g. Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign) will be valued



  • The position will be located at BSC within the CASE department in collaboration with the specific program coordinator
  • A competitive salary will be provided, matched to the cost of living in Barcelona, depending on the value of the candidate
  • Duration of the contract: temporary
  • Starting date: asap


Applications Procedure

All applications must be done through the BSC website including:

  1. Motivation letter and a statement of interest, including two recommendation letters or contacts
  2. A full CV including contact details


Diversity and Equal Opportunity Employment

BSC-CNS is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion. We are pleased to consider all qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or any other basis protected by applicable state or local law