Presentation at EAA tomorrow: pre-print online

Tomorrow at the EAA virtual conference I will present in session 487: A NETWORK FOR AGENT-BASED MODELLING OF SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL

I will be presenting seven claims about why we should simulate Roman economies. And if you’re not into Romans, that’s OK: the claims are very generalisable to all of archaeology 🙂

The presentation will be based on a paper that is in print, in an entire volume dedicated to simulating Roman economies. Check out the preprint of the paper on Academia.

And if you can’t wait, here’s the seven claims already 🙂

  1. Formal modelling and computational simulation are necessary techniques for explicitly representing our complicated theories (or aspects of them), and for testing them against historical and archaeological evidence.
  2. Complex systems simulation is the only suitable approach for identifying emergent properties in complex systems.
  3. The Roman economy was a highly complex system. Theories describing this system are necessarily extremely complicated.
  4. Building complicated models is a step-by-step cumulative process, where simplification is key.
  5. Simulation should be integrated as one of our tools of the trade. This is an addition to and enrichment of current practice; it is not in conflict with current practice.
  6. There are many different and competing views on the nature of the Roman economy. Simulation studies will enhance constructive multivocality of these theoretical debates.
  7. Good simulation studies of the Roman economy necessarily rely on collaboration across specialisms (where simulation is a specialism in the same way as ceramology or osteology). Encouraging this means integrating the basics of simulation approaches into education in classical studies.

Present in our session at the Limes congress in Nijmegen, August 2022

Present in our computational modelling session! Submit your abstract by 1 September 2021. Session 31. More information here and below:

We draw your attention to the call for papers for the postponed 21st Limes Congress, that (we sincerely hope) will be held in Nijmegen from 21-27 August 2022 (, submission deadline 1 September). Last year, we submitted a session on computational modelling that we hope will still be of interest to you, either as a presenter, or as attendant (Session 31 – Simulating the Limes. Challenges to computational modelling in Roman Studies).

If you are interested in presenting, please contact us in advance of submitting your paper proposal, so we can try to coordinate things as much as possible. We would also be very grateful if you could spread this call in your own networks,

Looking forward to seeing many of you in Nijmegen,

With best wishes,

Philip Verhagen
Iza Romanowska
Tom Brughmans
Marek Vlach

31. Simulating the Limes. Challenges to computational modelling in Roman Studies

Philip Verhagen

Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Session Abstract: The increasing availability of large digital data sets requires archaeologists and historians to develop or adopt new analytical tools in order to detect and understand socio-economic and cultural patterns and to compare these at wider spatial and temporal scales. Simulation and other types of computational modelling are rapidly becoming a key instruments for this type of research. They are used to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and archaeological evidence. These models can be of an exploratory nature, or attempt to closely emulate historical dynamics, and enable us to understand the mechanisms underlying, for example, e.g. population changes or economic systems.

Despite having access to large amounts of high-quality data, Roman studies have so far been relatively slow in adopting computational modelling, and Limes studies are no exception. The Limes is a particular case since each border region has its own characteristics, environmental setting, cultural background and specific relationship with the ‘core’ but also shares common features derived from being at the ‘outskirts’ of political, economic and cultural life. The interaction between these two dimensions is highly complex. Thus, the Limes constitutes an arena where formal modelling methods have particularly high potential. However, key challenges to this approach are i) the proper integration of archaeological and historical data sets; ii) a good understanding of what proxies to use, and iii) the computational power needed for modelling at larger scales.

We invite papers that showcase examples of modelling within the broader thematic setting of the Limes, taking these challenges into account. Suggested topics of interest are the economy of the Limes, urbanisation and settlement dynamics, demography, military campaigns, and relationships between the Limes, the rest of the Roman Empire and the zones beyond the frontier. Statistical modelling, GIS, simulation (e.g., Agent-based modelling), network models and other types of formal approaches are all welcome. Comparative studies are especially welcomed.

Call for Papers 

The LIMES Congress XXV Scientific Committee is pleased to invite you to submit paper proposals that will present new discoveries and ideas in the field of Roman Frontier Studies. Paper proposals should include the following information:

  • Title of Presentation
  • Speaker information (organization/company, e-mail address)
  • Co-authors information (organization/company, e-mail address)
  • Themed session selection (Please choose general session if paper does not fit in offered session selections) 
  • Abstract of the paper (max 300 words)

Each proposed paper must be submitted online through the LIMES Congress XXV website no later than the 1st of September 2021. Paper proposals will be reviewed by the Session Organisers and the Scientific Committee. The presenter of the paper will be informed by email by mid-February 2022. The congress schedule will be announced by March 2022. Please be aware of the following:

  • To create a well-balanced and diverse congress program only one paper per person is allowed.
  • Presentation time is limited. We advise you to prepare for a ± 15 min presentation. The exact timing and time slot will be communicated once the program is complete.
  • A short Q & A with the audience will be held at the end of each presentation.
  • Session Chairs are also eligible to present one paper or poster.
  • The official congress languages are English, French, and German.
  • In case your paper was not selected for presentation you can be invited to present it in poster format.

Please find below the proposed sessions. If you have any questions please contact us at: 

CFP social network analysis Middle Ages

This event will be of interest to readers of the blog.



International Medieval Congress,

University of Leeds,

4-7 July 2022

Social Network Analysis Researchers of the Middle Ages (SNARMA) is looking for proposals for a strand entitled ‘Network Analysis for Medieval Studies’ at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2022. The precise number of sessions and themes of each session will be decided based on the submissions. We would like to encourage the submissions to be as interdisciplinary as possible: the strand is very much open to those working on networks in language, literature, archaeology, etc., as well as history. We would also like to encourage submissions spanning the whole breadth of the Middle Ages chronologically. Papers may be focussed on particular case studies or on methodological questions such as the challenges proposed by fragmentary sources. We hope to present sessions which showcase a variety of different historical source types, such as charters, letters, chronicles, literary sources, and so forth. Papers should engage with either mathematical social network analysis or the theory of social network analysis.

Please email with a title and abstract up to 250 words, as well as you name, position, affiliation, and contact details, by 1 Sept. 2021

Topics may include but are not confined to:

  • Using SNA to define borders within datasets
  • Temporal, dynamic, or stochastic networks
  • Geographical networks
  • Diffusion models of disease spread
  • Diffusion models of religious beliefs
  • Data modelling with historical sources
  • Opportunities and challenges of assigning motivations to historical actors using social network theory
  • Digital prosopography and SNA
  • Advantages and disadvantages of particular software packages
  • SNA as a visualization tool
  • SNA as an heuristic tool
  • ‘Learning curve’ issues in the Humanities
  • Networks of:
    • Objects or artefacts
    • Manuscripts or texts
    • Political elites
    • Kinship and marriage
    • Trade and commerce
    • Block modelling with medieval communities
    • Religious dissent or pilgrimage/ cults of saints
    • Literary worlds; eg. Norse sagas or French chansons de  geste

New MA in Digital and Computational Archaeology, Cologne

There’s not a lot of degree programmes dedicated to computational archaeology specifically. And I can certainly recommend this new programme in Cologne: delivered by the amazing and inspiring Prof. Dr. Eleftheria Paliou, a very diverse range of modules, and completely in English.

Do share this with your colleagues and students. Application deadline 30 June.

From the website:

Digital and Computational Archaeology is concerned with the development and application of digital technologies and computational methods in archaeology. The MA Digital and Computational Archaeology is designed to equip archaeology graduates with practical, theoretical and critical skills in a variety of established and emerging digital technologies, and support a career in academia, cultural resource management, museums as well as public and private cultural heritage organisations. Students of this programme are offered the opportunity to use the facilities of the Cologne Digital Archaeology Laboratory (CoDArchLab), which is equipped with teaching, research and study spaces, numerous workstations, a variety of commercial and open source software programs, as well as specialised computational imaging equipment.

Students of the MA Digital and Computational Archaeology will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop core computing skills in Data Science (database theory and design, data visualisation and representation, network science) and Web technologies and become acquainted with current issues in archaeological data management and policy.
  • Familiarise themselves with the use of state-of-the-art 3D technologies and media and learn which techniques are best suited for data capture, documentation and analysis in different situations and contexts (e.g. fieldwork, museum, research projects).
  • Think critically on the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), spatial analysis, and computational modelling in archaeology, and learn how to best apply computational methods to gain insights into human behaviour and socio-political organisation in past natural and built environments.
  • Learn to identify current issues, problems and developments in the field of Digital Humanities and gain practical experience in the application and development of methods and tools that can benefit Humanities research more broadly.
  • Take work placements (Praktika) in excavations, museums, or cultural heritage management organisations and test their practical skills in real life situations.

Admission requirements

Applicants for the MA Digital and Computational Archaeolgy should hold a bachelor’s degree (with at least 180 CP) in archeology or an archaeological sub-discipline, such as Prehistoric Archaeology, Classical Archaeology, Ancient West Asian Studies, Archaeology of Roman Provinces, Egyptology or similar. Bachelor graduates of neighboring subjects may also be admitted after case-by-case-review, if at least 60 CP have been obtained in an archaeological sub-discipline during the BA studies. A decision upon the admission of students will be made by the Admissions Committee.

The MA Digital and Computational Archaeology is fully taught in English. Knowledge of English needs to be certified at the C1 level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Knowledge of German is not required for admission or the completion of the Master programme, but students will have the opportunity to choose from a number of German electoral courses, should they wish to.

Programme online historical networks conference out now

A must-attend for historians and archaeologists interested in networks. This conference brings together English-, French-, and German-language communities, to offer a rich and inspiring programme. CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Via the HNR conference team:

The conference „Historical Networks – RĂ©seaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke“ co-organised by the Historical Network Research group and RĂ©seaux et Histoire will take place from Wednesday, June 30th until Friday, July 2nd, 2021. The complete programme is now online and registration is open. For more information about the programme, registration and more details about the conference, please visit our conference website (

Questions, suggestions, notes regarding the conference? Write us at 


On Wednesday, June 30th, HNR+ResHist 2021 will offer four workshops for beginners as well as advanced network researchers:

Analysis of Two-Mode Networks with Python
Demival Vasques Filho

Exponential Random Graph Models: Theory and Applications on Historical Networks
Antonio Fiscarelli

From historical source to network data
Claire Lemercier

Introduction to Social Network Analysis: Basics and Historical Specificities
Martin Grandjean

Registration for the workshops takes place through EventBrite. Please note that the number of participants per workshop is limited and that the deadline for registering is 23 June (23:30 pm CEST).


HNR+ResHist2021 is proud to present two keynotes which will be delivered by Marion Maisonobe (CNRS, Paris) and Matteo Valleriani (MPIWG, Berlin). You can find their abstracts here below. To attend the keynotes, please register for the conference (deadline: 23 June, 23:30 pm CEST).



The lecture will first provide an overview of the corpus and of its historical meaning from the perspective of the main research question of the project, namely the question concerned with the mechanisms of knowledge homogenization in the early modern time and, therefore, with those processes that allowed for the emergence of a scientific identity of Europe.

Secondly, the major results concerned with the semantic analysis of the corpus and based on a formalization of the data in terms of a multiplex network will be shown. In particular it will be shown a) how a family of historical sources was detected that then executed a hegemonic role all over Europe therefore greatly contributing to the process of homogenization, b) how treatises, denominated “great transmitters”, allowed for the perpetuation of traditional knowledge for about 200 years however in the context of continuous innovation, and c) how different treatises were identified that are the main responsible for the impactful and enduring innovations.

Third, the lecture will present a new network model able to display the process of knowledge transformation in its social and economic context. The lecture therefore concludes by showing analyses conducted in order to understand correlations between families of treatises (semantic knowledge) on one side and societal groups on the other.



We identify three traditional ways of integrating places in network analysis. Firstly, it is common to start from relationships between individuals, families and businesses and to aggregate these relationships to consider the interactions between places that they create (A). Secondly, places can be the instrument of network construction. In other words, the co-presence in certain places makes it possible to deduce relationships between entities (B). Thirdly, the network can be immediately „spatial“ in the sense that the entities in relation as well as their links are materially anchored in space (for example, a hydrographic network, a metro map or a road network) (C). We will see that the sources, analytical issues and methods, and types of visualisation associated with these different networks vary. Our presentation will focus more specifically on type A and B networks by taking up, detailing and updating the methodological proposals of a collaborative research work on the visualization of scholarly worlds from Antiquity to the present day (Andurand et al., 2015).


Nous distinguons trois maniĂšres classiques d’intĂ©grer les lieux en analyse de rĂ©seaux. PremiĂšrement, il est frĂ©quent de partir de relations entre individus, familles, entreprises et d’agrĂ©ger ces relations pour considĂ©rer les interactions entre lieux qu’elles dessinent (A). DeuxiĂšmement, les lieux peuvent ĂȘtre l’instrument de la construction du rĂ©seau. Autrement dit, c’est la co-prĂ©sence en certains lieux qui permet de dĂ©duire des relations entre entitĂ©s (B). TroisiĂšmement, le rĂ©seau peut ĂȘtre immĂ©diatement « spatial Â» au sens oĂč les entitĂ©s en relation ainsi que leurs liens sont matĂ©riellement ancrĂ©s dans l’espace (par exemple, un rĂ©seau hydrographique, un plan de mĂ©tro ou une trame viaire) (C). Nous verrons que les sources, les enjeux et mĂ©thodes d’analyse ainsi que les types de visualisation associĂ©es Ă  ces diffĂ©rents rĂ©seaux varient. Notre exposĂ© se concentrera plus particuliĂšrement sur les rĂ©seaux du type A et B en reprenant, dĂ©taillant et actualisant les propositions mĂ©thodologiques d’un travail de recherche collaboratif sur la visualisation des mondes savants de l’AntiquitĂ© Ă  nos jours Ă  partir de diffĂ©rentes sources (Andurand et al., 2015).

We look forward to welcoming you online!

The Historical Networks – RĂ©seaux Historiques – Historische Netzwerke 2021 Organisers:
Laurent Beauguitte (CNRS | Paris)
Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
Marten DĂŒring (University of Luxembourg)
Antonio Fiscarelli (University of Luxembourg)
Claire Lemercier (CNRS | Paris)
Ingeborg van Vugt (University of Utrecht)

The Connected Past registration, PhD bursaries, and PhD school

Registration for The Connected Past conference is now open. Moreover, we will award bursaries to six excellent PhD students to attend the conference, and we announce a two-day PhD school and workshop preceding the conference.

The Connected Past conference will feature the best of archaeological and historical network research in 25 presentations and a keynote by Prof. Juan Barceló. The event will take place in-person on 29-30 September 2021 at Aarhus University (Denmark), but virtual attendance is possible (please register for virtual attendance). Registration open now.

We are also delighted to announce that bursaries to cover travel, accommodation and registration are available for six excellent PhD students attending The Connected Past conference in person. Please note that conference registration is a requirement for bursary applicants. Deadline: June 21st 2021 at 23:00 CET. Apply now! 

PhD students who plan to attend The Connected Past conference can register for free for a two-day PhD school (27-28 September 2021) awarding you 1.5 ECTS by Aarhus University. The PhD school will take place on Aarhus University’s Moesgaard Campus, but virtual participation is possible. This two-day workshop teaches you practical skills in network research for archaeologists and historians, with expert advice by practitioners. More information and registration. 

We hope to see many of you in lovely Aarhus!

The #TCPAarhus team

Tom Brughmans
Lieve Donnellan 
Rubina Raja 
SÞren SindbÊk 

Job: senior lecturer Classical and Mediterranean studies Vanderbilt

Rolling deadline.

More info:

The Department of Classical and Mediterranean Studies invites applications for a full-time Lecturer for the 2021-22 academic year starting August 16, 2021.  Possibility of renewal conditional upon performance and enrollment. Responsibilities will include teaching 3 courses per semester. Applicants should be prepared to teach survey courses in Greek, Roman, Mediterranean civilization and/or in Greek myths, as well as introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses in Latin and Greek. Ph.D. and teaching experience are required. 

Dossiers should include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, evidence of teaching excellence, a brief writing sample (20 pages) and three letters of recommendation. Candidates should apply via Interfolio at this link: .   Review of applications will begin on 15 May 2021. 

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

New publication: sensitivity analysis in archaeological simulation

Read about the necessary but terrifying process of having our MERCURY model replicated. How robust were our previously published results? Hilde Kanters’ excellent work! With Iza Romanowska and myself.

Read the open access paper here

Jeroen Poblome and I published the MERCURY model in 2016
 We performed a selected set of experiments that allowed us to explore the model’s behaviour. But how robust were the results that we published there?

Our original experiments suggested that weak market integration (low availability of reliable non-local information), equal production capacities of pottery manufacturers, and equal demands at settlements throughout the roman world were unlikely to explain tableware distributions. We came to these conclusions by performing 34 experiments where we changed the relevant parameters of the MERCURY model that represented key explanatory factors. These experiment settings are shown in detail in our 2016 paper in JASSS:

34 experiments is pretty good for an archaeological model, I tell myself. And certainly they suggest how the model behaves. But they do not reflect the full range of theoretically possible scenarios: we did not originally explore the full possible parameter space.

In comes the fantastic Hilde Kanters, who independently performed a replication of the MERCURY model in Repast Symphony (the original was coded in Netlogo) using only our publications. Her MSc thesis at Leiden University. Imagine my terror/excitement when I heard.

The replication study came to substantively the same conclusions as we did *massive sigh of relief* and made some very critical but constructive recommendations *massive collegial handshake*

This replication study is available open access

The replication was made possible because not only did we publish the technical side of the model in detail in JASSS but mainly because we made the model code openly available on Comses OpenABM

We were so impressed with Hilde Kanters’ work and delighted when the opportunity arose for her to do an internship in project MERCURY when I was at UBICS in Barcelona (such a great place to be as a complexity scientist). And Iza Romanowska luckily co-supervised this internship, which really set it up for excellent outputs. But what to do? I had loads of fun ideas to expand MERCURY: transport routes, equilibrium model, pots in spaaaaaaaaaice.

But in the end we knew we needed to do the responsible thing: check how robust the previously published results of MERCURY were by exploring the parameter space. We did a sensitivity analysis! See the results in our new paper in JASR. We now understand the model so much better, and I can be very confident of two key conclusions: the explanatory power of limited availability of reliable non-local information, and of strong differences in production capacity. But crucially, the sensitivity analysis also revealed I should be more cautious about the explanatory power of differences in demand throughout the Roman world: this was a new unexpected result, and will inform how I develop MERCURY in the future for sure.

Another thing that became painfully clear when working on this paper was the sad fact that ARCHAEOLOGISTS DON’T DO SENSITIVITY ANALYSES… But hey, we can help you on your way. We published a script for performing sensitivity analyses of ABM that can be reused by anyone, hurray!

Read more in the paper:


Computational modelling is increasingly gaining attention in archaeology and related disciplines. With the number of new models growing it is often difficult to evaluate their significance and the generality of the results. This is partially due to the narrow reporting of the model’s results, which are often limited to those directly relevant to the research question posed in the first place. Although this is not an issue per se, models, if explored exhaustively, can provide a much wider perspective on the studied system. Sensitivity analysis is a widely recognised model exploration method for assessing the importance of different parameters on the model’s behaviour. Such systematic exploration helps in unravelling the dynamics that drive the model and enable researchers to establish how robust the presented results are. Here we present a sensitivity analysis of MERCURY, a previously published archaeological agent-based model. The results show that two out of three of the original conclusions drawn on the basis of selective experiment design stand up to scrutiny. By describing in detail and providing a reusable script with detailed description of all steps of the sensitivity analysis we hope to promote this important model exploration technique among modellers and the wider archaeological audience.

Stanford lecture simulating Roman economies: register now

Want to hear how I simulate Romans? Then consider attending my lecture at Stanford’s Humanities Center, Data Scarcity Workshop. It’s at 10am pacific time, 7pm CET where I am in Europe.

You can register to attend for free via this link:

And here’s what I will talk about 🙂

Simulating Roman Economies

Computational modelling and especially agent-based modelling (ABM) has been applied in Roman Studies to explore phenomena as diverse as the structure of Roman social networks, the supply of troops on the Limes, flows on the Roman transport system, and the agricultural productivity of regions. This paper will argue that Roman Studies should add modelling approaches as tools of the trade, and will reflect on the potential and challenges of doing so.

The arguments will be illustrated through examples from studies of the Roman economy and my personal experiences as a romanist modeler. I will focus in particular on attempts at explaining the changing distribution patterns of tableware in the eastern Mediterranean. What explanatory factors might be key drivers of this change: the structuring effect of social networks on the flow of information, transport costs, differences in urban population size, the economic strategies of tableware salespeople? A set of increasingly elaborate computational models will be presented to explore the explanatory potential of these factors.

Tom Brughmans is an associate professor at the Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) and Classical Archaeology. His research interests include the study of Roman economic and urban phenomena, past social networks, and visual signalling systems. He performs much of his work by applying computational methods such as network science, agent-based simulation and geographical information systems. His research projects MERCURY and SIMREC developed educational resources and case studies to make simulation studies of the Roman economy more common (Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship). His ongoing project MINERVA aims to develop a highly detailed network model of the Roman road system, and perform simulation experiments to explore the centuries-long distribution patterns revealed by Roman tableware and amphora data.

Save the date: The Connected Past 2021 Aarhus

Interested in archaeological or historical networks? If you landed on this blog, you probably are. The Connected Past is our long-standing inter-disciplinary community for all those who share these interests. This year the conference will take place at Aarhus University on 29-30 September 2021 in a hybrid format. We have an awesome group of 25 papers on a wide range of topics lined up, and a keynote presentation by Joan Anton BarcelĂł.

So put the dates in your calendar and watch this space for more news. We hope to open registration in a few months, and will provide more information on the conference format closer to the date.




September 29-30 2021, Aarhus University

Artefactual Intelligence

Preceded by a two-day workshop 27-28 September (more information to follow).

Schedule to be announced

Read the abstracts for the 25 accepted presentations here.

Keynote speaker is Juan BarcelĂł on Artificial Intelligence in archaeology. 

Computational models used by archaeologists are becoming increasingly complex. We create and tackle ever larger datasets, include more parameters and make machines learn by themselves. Recent approaches to network theory in archaeology, and the historical sciences more generally, have embraced agents, agency and practice theory. But where does this leave objects? Since the earliest days of the discipline, objects have been at the core of the archaeologist’s enquiry. However, until recently, objects were left heavily undertheorised. With the advance of object-related theories, such as ANT or the New Materialism approaches, agency is extended not just to humans but to the objects and materials they handle as well. Does this mean that digital archaeologists and historians are to move from Artificial Intelligence to Artifactual Intelligence? And if so, how? 

Being a community of scholars interested in recent theoretical and methodological innovations in archaeology and the historical sciences, the Connected Past Conference provides a forum for presenting and discussing ongoing work on the intersection between archaeology,  history, digital approaches and theory. The conference will be preceded by a two-day practical workshop (limited capacity, open call for participants to follow soon). 

This year’s conference focuses specifically on the topic of artefacts, human and material agency, artificial and artefactual intelligence and their place within archaeological and historical network studies. In addition, we also welcome presentations on any topic related to archaeological or historical network research and complexity science. 

Conference organisers:

Lieve Donnellan 
Rubina Raja 
SĂžren SindbĂŠk 
Tom Brughmans 

Administrative support: 

Eva Mortensen

Get in touch!

Schedule (to be announced)

Venue and attendance details (to be announced)

Travel and accommodation (to be announced)

Job: 9 month postdoc network modelling Neolithic

A 9-month position on a CNRS project based in Bordeaux, looking for someone with network skills.

Deadline: 15 March

Access the full job post here.

Informations générales

Référence : UMR5199-SOLRIG-006
Lieu de travail : PESSAC
Date de publication : lundi 22 février 2021
Type de contrat : CDD Scientifique
Durée du contrat : 9 mois
Date d’embauche prĂ©vue : 1 avril 2021
Quotité de travail : Temps complet
RĂ©munĂ©ration : salaire mensuel brut entre 2 648 et 3 768 euros (en fonction de l’expĂ©rience)
Niveau d’Ă©tudes souhaitĂ© : Doctorat
Expérience souhaitée : Indifférent


La mobilitĂ© humaine est un facteur clĂ© pour la propagation des gĂšnes et des cultures, mais elle les affecte de diffĂ©rentes maniĂšres. Alors que les gĂšnes se propagent exclusivement par les mouvements de personnes, les traits culturels peuvent se transmettre indĂ©pendamment et sur de longues distances par interaction culturelle. L’objectif de ce projet postdoctoral est d’explorer la co-Ă©volution gĂšne-culture en Europe lors de la transition vers l’agriculture en utilisant une nouvelle approche qui permettra d’estimer conjointement la mobilitĂ© humaine et la diffusion de la culture matĂ©rielle d’un point de vue tant gĂ©nĂ©tique qu’archĂ©ologique.
Le projet repose sur l’hypothĂšse que les sociĂ©tĂ©s mobiles sont caractĂ©risĂ©es par une isolation par la distance relativement faible, tandis que les groupes moins mobiles seront structurĂ©s gĂ©ographiquement. Il est Ă©galement fondĂ© sur l’idĂ©e largement acceptĂ©e selon laquelle les similitudes dans la culture matĂ©rielle rĂ©sultent d’interactions rĂ©pĂ©tĂ©es entre individus et groupes, favorisĂ©es par la mobilitĂ© individuelle, l’Ă©change de biens, d’information sociale, de connaissances sur les techniques et des symboles. En d’autres termes, plus la culture matĂ©rielle est similaire, plus les liens qui unissent les groupes sont resserrĂ©s.
Le rĂŽle de la gĂ©ographie dans la limitation ou l’amĂ©lioration des interactions et des mouvements des populations passĂ©es est un facteur majeur Ă  prendre en compte. Le rĂŽle de la distance gĂ©ographique et des barriĂšres dans la diffusion des traits culturels et des groupes sera Ă©tudiĂ© dans le but d’Ă©valuer dans quelle mesure la gĂ©ographie est un facteur conditionnant la diffusion des personnes, des savoir-faire, des symboles et des idĂ©es. Les individus peuvent ĂȘtre plus ou moins isolĂ©s dans les paysages et ne pas choisir un seul itinĂ©raire optimal en raison de plusieurs facteurs culturels intrinsĂšques mais aussi externes (disponibilitĂ© des ressources
.). Plusieurs mĂ©thodes, least cost path modeling, resistance distance (McRae et al., 2008), peuvent ĂȘtre utilisĂ©es pour explorer la connectivitĂ© entre les groupes. 
Cependant, la relation entre la proximitĂ© spatiale, culturelle et sociale peut ne pas expliquer Ă  elle seule la gĂ©ographie culturelle et les contacts entre les groupes, mais la structure du rĂ©seau lui-mĂȘme peut avoir un impact sur les variabilitĂ©s inter sites. Les mĂ©thodes basĂ©es sur les rĂ©seaux telles que l’analyse des rĂ©seaux sociaux (SNA) sont des outils prĂ©cieux pour documenter et analyser les relations entre les sites archĂ©ologiques en fonction de divers attributs culturels. L’accent mis sur les communautĂ©s passĂ©es dans une perspective de rĂ©seaux s’est avĂ©rĂ© utile pour aborder un large Ă©ventail de questions de recherche, y compris la diffusion et l’adaptation des innovations (Hart et Engelbrecht 2012), les systĂšmes de croyance (Erickson 1988), l’Ă©change (Markovsky et al.1988) et mobilitĂ© (Birch et Hart 2018). La documentation de ces processus est essentielle pour comprendre la diffusion des technologies agricoles.
Dans ce projet, nous souhaitons analyser des donnĂ©es gĂ©nĂ©tiques et archĂ©ologiques conjointement et avec des mĂ©thodologies comparables. Nous nous concentrerons sur l’Europe Ă  l’aube de l’agriculture, il y a environ 7500 ans, une pĂ©riode et une rĂ©gion pour lesquelles des donnĂ©es gĂ©nĂ©tiques, ainsi que des donnĂ©es sur la culture matĂ©rielle, sont disponibles pour les derniers chasseurs-cueilleurs et les premiers agriculteurs. L’ensemble de donnĂ©es gĂ©nĂ©tiques comprend des centaines d’Ă©chantillons publiĂ©s provenant de toute l’Europe pour la pĂ©riode cible, incluant des donnĂ©es gĂ©nomiques, mitochondriales et du chromosome Y. L’ensemble des donnĂ©es archĂ©ologiques est composĂ© d’une base de donnĂ©es gĂ©orĂ©fĂ©rencĂ©e actualisĂ©e des objets de parure produits par les derniers chasseurs-cueilleurs et les premiers agriculteurs d’Europe, couvrant 48 cultures archĂ©ologiques et recensant des centaines de types de perles diffĂ©rentes provenant de plus de mille sĂ©pultures et niveaux archĂ©ologiques rĂ©partis dans toute l’Europe.
L’analyse combinĂ©e de ces ensembles de donnĂ©es permettra de dĂ©terminer si les frontiĂšres culturelles limitaient les flux de gĂšnes et ralentissaient la propagation du NĂ©olithique dans certaines rĂ©gions.

Submit your paper to CAA, deadline Monday

The CAA is my favourite conference 🙂 And it will be hosted online from Cyprus this year. The deadline to submit your papers is Monday the 1st of March. So go ahead and submit those excellent papers on computational archaeology. You can find the full list of 35 sessions here, covering all possible topics. And I want to point out the following two sessions in particular:

S28. Computational modelling in archaeology: methods, challenges and applications (Standard)

S18. Urban Complexity in Settlements and Settlement Systems of the Mediterranean (Standard)

S28. Computational modelling in archaeology: methods, challenges and applications (Standard)

Iza Romanowska, Aarhus University
Colin D. Wren, University of Colorado
Stefani A. Crabtree, Utah State University 

The steady stream of publications involving archaeological computational models is a clear sign of the discipline’s dedication to the epistemological turn towards formal theory building and testing. Where hypotheses used to be generated verbally in natural language as possible explanations, they are now increasingly often expressed as GIS, agent-based modelling (ABM) or statistical models and meticulously tested against data. The session will showcase the breadth of applications, the ingenuity of researchers deploying new or adapted methods and the depth of insight gained thanks to computational modelling.

With increasing numbers of archaeologists becoming proficient in computer programming it seems that some of the technical and training-related hurdles are being overcome. In general, while some methods in archaeological computational modelling are well established and widely deployed, others (e.g., ABM) are still an emerging subfield with many exciting and fresh applications. 

 We will structure the session upon the three major questions: :

  • The current landscape of computational modelling: what are the strong versus the weak areas? Are certain topics, time periods, types of questions more often modelled than others? If so, why is that?
  • Potential areas for growth: what are the obvious methodological and archaeological directions for computational modelling? Are technical skills still an impediment for a wider adoption?
  • Disciplinary best practice: the need for open science is well recognised among computational archaeologists, but are there other ways in which we can make it easier for members of other branches of archaeology to engage with the computational modelling?

We invite archaeological modellers to present their current case studies, discuss new methods and issues they have encountered as well as their thoughts on the role of computational modelling in general archaeological practice. Computational modelling is meant broadly here as any digital technologies that enable the researcher to represent a real-world system to test hypotheses regarding past human behaviour. 

S18. Urban Complexity in Settlements and Settlement Systems of the Mediterranean (Standard)

Katherine A. Crawford, Arizona State University
Georgios Artopoulos, The Cyprus Institute 
Eleftheria Paliou, University of Cologne 
Iza Romanowska, Aarhus University

The application of quantitative methods to the study of ancient cities and settlement networks has seen increased interest in recent years. Advances in data collection, the use of and integration of diverse big datasets, data analytics including network analysis, computation and the application of digital and quantitative methods have resulted in an increasingly diverse number of studies looking at past cities from new perspectives (e.g. Palmisano et al. 2017; Kaya and Bölen 2017; Fulminante 2019-21). This barrage of new methods, many grounded in population-level systemic thinking, but also some coming from the individual, agent-based perspective enabled researchers to investigate the structural properties and mechanisms driving complex socio-natural systems, such as past cities and towns (e.g. MISMAS; The CRANE Project; Carrignon et al. 2020). These advances have recently opened new possibilities for the study of cities and settlement systems of the Mediterranean, an area with some of the longest known records of urban occupation that could be key for studying a wide range of urban complexity topics (e.g. Lawrence et al. 2020) .

This session invites papers that deal with the applications of computational and digital methodologies, including agent-based modelling, network analysis, urban scaling, gravity and spatial interaction models, space syntax, GIS, and data mining. We look for a diverse range of studies on the interactions between cities, complex meshworks of information flow, simulations of social and socio-natural activities, as well as analyses of groups of cities and their environment (the ecosystem of resources) in the Mediterranean basin. We are especially interested in papers that use agent-based modelling to adopt a comparative and diachronic perspective to studying transformations and transitions of urban and settlement systems and works that focus on the area of Eastern Mediterranean, in particular. Potential topics of consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Settlement persistence,
  • Multi-scale spatial patterns within urban complexes and across settlements,
  • Inter and/or intra urban settlement dynamics & interactions,
  • Transitions and diachronic transformations of urban/settlement patterns,
  • Urban network interactions and modelling,
  • Urban-environmental processes; the impact of climate disturbances on cities and their resources,
  • Formal analysis of cities development of time,
  • Processes involved in urban centres formation and abandonment.


S. Carrignon, T. Brughmans, I. Romanowska, (2020). Tableware trade in the Roman East: Exploring cultural and economic transmission with agent-based modelling and approximate Bayesian computation. PLoS ONE, 15, (11), e0240414. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240414

F. Fulminante (ed), (2019-21). Research Topic: Where Do Cities Come From and Where Are They Going To? Modelling Past and Present Agglomerations to Understand Urban Ways of Life. Frontiers in Digital Humanities

H. Serdar Kaya and Fulin Bölen, (2017). ‘Urban DNA: Morphogenetic Analysis of Urban Pattern’, International Journal of Architecture & Planning, (5), 1, 10-41. DOI: 10.15320/ICONARP.2017.15

D. Lawrence, M. Altaweel, and G. Philip, (2020). New Agendas in Remote Sensing and Landscape Archaeology in the Near East: Studies in Honour of Tony J. Wilkinson. Oxford: Archaeopress.

A Palmisano, A. Bevan, and S. Shennan, (2017). Comparing archaeological proxies for long-term population patterns: An example from central Italy. Journal of Archaeological Science, (87), 59-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.10.001

Saad Twaissi, (2017). ‘The Source Of Inspiration Of The Plan Of The Nabataean Mansion At Az-Zantur Iv In Petra: A Space Syntax Approach’, Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, (17), 3, 97-119. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1005494

MISAMS (Modelling Inhabited Spaces of the Ancient Mediterranean Sea),

The CRANE Project (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East)

CFP: rooted cities, wandering gods

This conference will be of interest to readers of the blog. I do recommend submitting an abstract, it look like an exciting event with a great list of confirmed speakers already. Deadline March 20th.

Via the conference organisers:

Rooted Cities, Wandering Gods

Inter-Urban Religious Interactions

Planned dates: November 19th-20th, 2021 – Groningen

Organisers: Tom Britton & Adam Wiznura

(University of Groningen)

Cult, ritual and belief were crucial components of cohesive collective identities throughout the pre-modern world. Often religious practice is presented as unique, bound to the people and institutions of a single community, in service of such specific identities. Yet cities never existed in a vacuum – rather, urban societies underwent constant change brought on by movement and communication between and within their cities (Garbin & Strhan 2017). Forms and understandings of urbanity were transferred between sites through religious exchanges, often changing dramatically in the process, and their characteristics negotiated through dialogue, diplomacy, rivalry and warfare. How was religious practice bound to a single community, and when did it open up to foster regional cooperation? How could the gods of one city find resonance in another? Where could rituals and sacred sites become the focus of pilgrimage or competition? When were the institutions of a city dependent on recognition from its neighbours? Who set the boundaries of all this communication, and who contested them? This conference will explore religion as part of a web of interactions and a force for the refashioning of cities across the world, with a focus on the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.

Looking at religion primarily as a social and ritual practice, the conference will examine the impact of religious interactions on urban memory, culture and identity across communities. It will encompass a wide range of religious activities, covering both the inter-urban networks of city-state societies and the connections between cities embedded in larger territorial states. Yet localised sub-communities within the urban frame were also key to establishing links between cities and at numerous scales. We will focus on the groups of worshippers themselves – how their structure and selfrepresentation defined engagement with the pilgrims, migrants, merchants, envoys and epistolaries who facilitated communication. Through these interactions, wider communities of practice were strung together across great distances, forming networks that both incorporated and transcended local identities.

Confirmed speakers for the conference so far include: Anna Collar (Southampton), Judy Barringer (Edinburgh), Matthias Haake (MĂŒnster), Sofia Kravaritou (Oxford), Rubina Raja (Aarhus), Ian Rutherford (Reading) and members of the project “Religion and Urbanity” (Erfurt).

We invite those interested in participating to submit papers exploring networks, movement, connectivity, religion and identity in an urban context. These should ask how interactions between cities shaped religious practice, and how cult and worship in turn affected communication. Topics may include, but are certainly not limited to:

● Pilgrimage – travel between cities for religious purposes, both by private individuals and organised by civic authorities. Who felt the need to travel in order to worship? How did this change their standing within urban communities? How did citizens facilitate and profit from the journeys of pilgrims?

● Materiality – the physical environment in which interactions took place, and the ways in which it might be differently experienced. Where were religious institutions situated in the urban landscape? How was “foreign” cultic material mapped on to the city?

● Identity – the reimagining of civic identities through religious interactions, and the creation of supra-civic communities of shared religious practice. When did new cults and ideas impact people’s self-perception as citizens and as worshippers? Did engagement with cult abroad threaten communal cohesion, or strengthen it?

● Communication – the use of shared places and practices of worship to circulate information among cities. How were political, philosophical and technological ideas transmitted and transformed through urban religion? Which interactions rested on common understandings of worship, and which required radically new ways of thinking?

We ask all those interested in contributing a paper to submit abstracts (300 words) for papers suitable for 30 minute presentations. Please send abstracts to:

The deadline for abstracts will be March 20th and notification of acceptance will be sent by early April. We would like to receive written drafts of papers soon after the conference as a resulting publication is envisaged, to appear in late 2022 or early 2023.

This conference takes place within the framework of the NWO project Connecting the Greeks at the University of Groningen (see It is also held in conjunction with the “Religion and Urbanity: reciprocal formations” project at the University of Erfurt (see ).

2 postdocs and 3 PhDs on Medieval Dissident Networks

If you have an interest in networks and Medieval or religious history, then follow this new ERC-funded Dissident Networks project! They just published a call for applications for two postdocs and three PhDs. Do consider applying. Brno is a fantastic city, and the team is world class!

Via David ZbĂ­ral:

The Dissident Networks Project (DISSINET, – an ERC Consolidator Grant-funded research initiative based at Masaryk University (Brno, Czech Republic) – opens a call for five research positions in the computational study of medieval religious dissent and inquisition: (1) two postdoctoral or senior research fellowships, and (2) three Ph.D. studentships.

(1) Two full-time postdoctoral or senior research fellowships

Deadline: 15 March 2021

Duration: 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2026

More information: 

(2) Three Study of Religions Ph.D. studentships with a medieval focus

Deadline: 3 March 2021

Duration: 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2026

More information: 

Across both calls for applications, we are looking for candidates who have focused on any aspect of medieval or early modern European history or literature. They must have demonstrable competence in Latin and English language and in historical research, and a computer-friendly mindset (tables, digital tools).

Candidates with particular experience in heresy studies, notarial records, medieval religion, late medieval history (c. 1200-1500, especially of France, Germany, Italy and England), social and economic approaches to the Middle Ages, digital humanities, quantitative history or historical network research are particularly encouraged to apply. Nevertheless, we are very open to candidates whose previous research has focused on any aspect, period or region of pre-modern Europe, provided that they have a willingness to engage deeply in DISSINET’s computational approach to the study of medieval religious dissent and inquisition.

The successful candidates will develop their own research direction in consultation with the Principal Investigator (Dr. David ZbĂ­ral). They will receive hands-on training, building on their core skills as medievalists through the use of computational techniques (social network analysis, geographic information systems, computational text analysis).

Full-time tenured post Egyptian Archaeology, KU Leuven

Via KU Leuven website. Find the full vacancy here.

(ref. ZAP-2020-292)
Last modification : Wednesday, December 16, 2020

KU Leuven’s Faculty of Arts has a vacancy for a full-time tenured academic position in the discipline of Archaeology, with specialization in the domain of Egyptian Archaeology. We are looking for internationally oriented candidates with excellent teaching skills, an eminent research record and a sense of societal responsibility, in line with KU Leuven’s mission statement.
Fundamental research, academic teaching and wider knowledge sharing in the discipline of archaeology, more particularly related to the archaeology of Egypt.

You have achieved important, internationally acknowledged research results in the domain of Egyptian archaeology. In developing your research, you have built up demonstrable methodological expertise of crucial importance for the archaeological discipline, you master strategic themes in computational archaeology and have experience in elaborating multi- and interdisciplinary research trajectories. Based on comparative archaeological research on the trajectories of past societies and/or regional research traditions in archaeology, you are actively involved in the critical contextualization of the intellectual traditions in the domain of Egyptian archaeology.

You can demonstrate leadership qualities in organizing archaeological fieldwork and you value teamwork. You will join the research unit of Archaeology. In close collaboration you support and develop your unit’s (inter)faculty, national and international collaborations and networks. You initiate grant applications to support academic research, actively develop research projects and supervise collaborators at pre- and postdoctoral level.

You provide high-quality education in the bachelor and master programme in Archaeology, with a clear engagement for the quality of the programme as a whole. Your teaching is in accordance to the appropriate academic standards.

Initially, your teaching assignment includes:

– Inleiding in de Archeologie van Egypte (Introduction to Egyptian archaeology), 3 ECTS (1 Ba)
– Archeologie van Egypte (The archaeology of Egypt), 6 ECTS (2-3 Ba; bi-annual)
– Werkcollege Archeologie van Egypte (Tutorial on Egyptian archaeology), 6 ECTS (Ma) 
– A contribution to the Theorie, methode en praktijk van de archeologie (Theory, methods and practices in archaeology) package, to a minimum of 8 ECTS (Ba).

From the third year of your appointment onwards, your teaching assignment will be increased with one to two additional courses, to the amount of 4 to 8 ECTS, preferably in support of the Archaeology programme or possibly of other Faculty of Arts programmes.

You develop your education in line with KU Leuven’s vision on activating, research-based and practice-based education and make use of the opportunities for educational professionalisation offered by the Faculty and the university. You will contribute to the educational project of the faculty by supervising bachelor- and master-papers in Archaeology or related programmes.

You are prepared to shoulder internal administrative and managerial tasks and invest in supporting the network between the programme, various types of authorities and the professional field. When relevant, you participate in societal debates and in the development of the knowledge society. You play an active role in profiling the research unit of Archaeology and the Faculty of Arts with (prospective) students and the wider (professional) field.
You hold a Ph.D. degree in Archaeology (or an equivalent relevant degree).

You have demonstrable didactic qualities at the level of academic teaching, and you can evince an excellent research trajectory on comparative and computational archaeology applied to the domain of Egyptian archaeology. Your research potential is apparent from your international, scholarly publications of high quality. You have organisational qualities, a collegial attitude and are a team player.

You add a research proposal (max. 2 pages) for the next years and a vision document (max. 2 pages) on the educational approach in the Archaeology programme to your application. Both documents illustrate your critical vision on the position of KU Leuven in the archaeology of Egypt.

The official administrative language used at KU Leuven is Dutch. If you do not speak Dutch (or do not speak it well) at the start of employment, KU Leuven will provide language training to enable you to take part in administrative meetings. Before teaching courses in Dutch or English, you will be given the opportunity to learn Dutch respectively English to the required standard.

We offer full-time, tenured employment. When, after 5 years, the conditions of the tenure track contract are met, you will be promoted to the rank of associate professor (hoofddocent).
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Jeroen Poblome, tel.: +32 16 32 47 49, mail: For problems with online applying, please contact
You can apply for this job no later than February 22, 2021 via the  online application tool 
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Networks in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM): CfP Networks 2021

I can very much recommend this session at

Via the session organizers:

Session 4. Analysing Networks in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM)

Organizers: John R. Hott (University of Virginia), Francesca Odella (University of Trento)

Primary Organizer: John R. Hott

Abstract: This session aims at discussing approaches in analysing networks in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) and to provide a view of current projects and results in promoting a network analysis perspective in cross-disciplinary studies.

As artefacts are becoming increasingly digital and/or digitized, there has been an increase in organizing, describing, and storing them in archival and library contexts, as illustrated by many digitalized historical archives. The increasing availability of information about artefacts opens the possibilities to analyse the connections between them in terms of references, creators and actors, as well as in terms of cross-referenced information such as shared themes, location and visitors.

At first, most of the initiatives to establish networked data by organizations and institutions focused on disciplinary perspectives and implemented specialized information classification, such as in the case of historical archival and libraries. In order to progress research, however, it is important that networks from archives, museums, and library sources interconnect and allow multiple standards and cross-classification of their artefacts. Recent undertakings, such as the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) cooperative, have worked to connect repositories to share descriptions and benefit from the conceptualization of the documents, artefacts, and creators as social-documentary networks. In the European context, similarly, international institutions and organizations (Europeana, Wikidata among them) and historical archives (such as Kalliope), already provide researchers access to common classification sets and relational data sources and are promoting projects to interconnect GLAM contexts.

These initiatives reveal that a shared methodological framework, such as social network perspective in particular, is becoming central for setting guidelines, organizing repertories, and linking data from multiple institutions. Specifically, the possibility to design and perform cross-disciplinary research and to establish new connections across cultures, historical traditions, and forms of knowledge (material and digitized) will be triggered by aligning viewpoints in data organization and data access. Network researchers, in this sense, will have more opportunities to experiment new methodological approaches in their studies, as well as to understand the social contexts of artefacts and their information processing.

Taking inspiration from such reflections and examples we solicit submissions of research works dealing with

– projects aimed at developing a network perspective of galleries, archive, museums and library collections (GLAM)

– results of analysis over networks consisting of GLAM data

– methods and strategies for extracting networked data from GLAM contexts

CfP history/archaeology session at Sunbelt NetSci

Sunbelt is the main Social Network Analysis community, and NetSci is the main complex networks conference. I’ve attended these conferences since 2013 and love them both. Next year they will be held jointly, how great is that 😀 Come present in our session and let’s make it clear archaeology and history are part of network science and here to stay!

Via the HNR newsletter:

The session “Networks and the Study of the Human Past” is part of Networks 2021: a joint Sunbelt and NetSci Conference. The conference takes place in Washington D.C. on July 6-11, 2021. The organisers are planning a hybrid in-person and remote (online) conference.

You can find the session “Networks and the Study of the Human” under number 19 in the list of organized sessions for Networks 2021. Deadline for submissions is January 24, 2021.

Networks and the study of the human past 

A growing number of studies in history and archaeology have shown that network research can constructively enhance our understanding of the human past. Moreover, it is becoming clear that archaeological and historical data sources pose interesting challenges and opportunities to social network analysis and network science. How did human social networks change over huge timescales? How can old texts and material artefacts help in answering this question? The aim of this session is to present new findings and approaches within historical and archaeological network research, and promote contacts between the various disciplines that approach past phenomena using methods derived from network analysis and network science.

This session explores the challenges and potential posed by such network studies of past phenomena, including: network modelling of past phenomena; data collection from archival evidence; incomplete and missing data; computer-assisted network extraction from texts; big data analytics and semantic network analysis based on fragmented sources; material sources as proxy evidence for social phenomena; exploration of long-term changes in past systems vs. mid-term or short-term processes; etc.

The session invites contributions from various disciplines applying the methods of formal network analysis and network science to the study of the human past. We welcome submissions concerning any period, geographical area and topic, which might include but are not limited to: migration; interpersonal relations; economy; past revolutions; covert networks of the past; industrialization; transport systems; diffusion processes; kinship; conflict and conflict solving; religion and science.

Session organizers:

Julie M. Birkholz (Ghent University & Royal Library of Belgium), Tom Brughmans (Aarhus University), Marten DĂŒring (University of Luxembourg), Ingeborg van Vugt (University of Utrecht), Martin Stark (ILS Dortmund), David ZbĂ­ral (Masaryk University)

New grant to study the centuries-long functioning of the Roman economy through ceramics, road networks and computational modelling

Soooooo happy I got awarded a Sapere Aude research leader grant by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. This is like a Danish starting grant, allowing early career researchers to pursue their research interests for four years under great conditions (roughly 6.2 million DKK: 800.000EUR). This will allow me to do what I think the study of the Roman economy really needs: quantitative identification and description of centuries-long patterns in ceramics data, creation of a high-detail Roman transport network, and formal evaluation of theories that could explain these data patterns. I simply can’t wait to get my teeth into this work! Especially because it’s a collaboration with the amazing Pau de Soto for Roman roads, Vinnie NĂžrskov for museology and outreach, Andrew Wilson for Roman economy studies, and AdĂ©la Sobotkova for archaeological data analysis. More news about this project will follow (and read our announcement on the UrbNet and DFF websites), but here’s a short description of the project:

MINERVA will explore how a massive integrated economy like the Roman Empire evolved over centuries, by combining archaeological ceramics and the Roman transport network in computational simulation experiments. The project will run for four years from 2021, and will apply UrbNet’s relational perspecitve to the study of the Roman economy.

At its peak the Roman Empire covered an area similar in size to the European Union, uniting almost 100 million inhabitants. But similarities do not end here: the different peoples, languages and religions within the Empire were united under a single political system with the Roman Emperor at its head, they used the same money, followed the same trade regulations, and were subject to the same legal system. Archaeologists uncover evidence that show the ups and downs of this bustling economy. Amphora containers, for example, were used for centuries to move vast quantities of necessities such as grain from Egypt or olive oil from Spain to the capital of Rome and everywhere else in the Empire. For centuries, the flow of goods and traders along the first European transport network went virtually uninterrupted, despite limited means of communication, and transport technology and infrastructure making sea and road voyages slow and dangerous.

The material remains they left behind offer us a unique glimpse at how huge integrated economies can change and evolve over centuries. But understanding how these complex economic processes emerge from everyday behaviour of individual Romans is not a mean feat. To make this possible, this project combines state-of-the-art computer simulations, archaeological ceramics evidence, and a detailed model of the Roman road network for the first time.

MINERVA addresses three challenges related to ceramics data, Roman roads and centuries-long simulations. First, what changes are visible over periods of centuries in the distribution and consumption of Roman plates, cups, bowls and containers? And what do they reveal about the long-term functioning of the Roman economy? MINERVA aims to quantitatively identify such patterns. Second, what was the structure of the Roman transport network through which such goods were distributed? We currently do not have a highly detained model of this network, and MINERVA aims to create this. And third, How does one simulate aspects of a large economy over a period of centuries? This has never been done before because for other large economies, like the integrated markets of the EU or the US, we simply do not have data for such long timespans. This will be an exciting challenge to explore that will benefit from collaboration with economic historians.

6 year Postdoc Classical Archaeology University of Vienna

Read more and apply here.

Deadline 10/12/2020

From the University of Vienna website:

An der UniversitĂ€t Wien (mit 20 FakultĂ€ten und Zentren, 178 Studienrichtungen, ca. 9.900 Mitarbeiter*innen und rund 89.000 Studierenden) ist ab 01.03.2021 die Position eines/einer 

UniversitĂ€tsassistent*in (“post doc”) 
am Institut fĂŒr Klassische ArchĂ€ologie 

bis 28.02.2027 zu besetzen. 

Kennzahl der Ausschreibung: 11501
Das Institut fĂŒr Klassische ArchĂ€ologie der UniversitĂ€t Wien ist eine der grĂ¶ĂŸten Einrichtungen dieses Fachs im deutschen Sprachraum und besitzt eine lange Tradition exzellenter Forschung. Wir verstehen die klassische ArchĂ€ologie als das Studium der materiellen Hinterlassenschaften der antiken Mittelmeerkulturen und der benachbarten Kulturen. 

Die ausgeschriebene Stelle ist im Bereich der Griechischen ArchĂ€ologie beheimatet und bietet einzigartige Möglichkeiten zur DurchfĂŒhrung interdisziplinĂ€rer Forschung und zur weiteren akademischen Qualifikation. Sie sollten wĂ€hrend der Assistenz an Ihrem eigenen, unabhĂ€ngigen Forschungsprojekt arbeiten mit dem Ziel der Habilitation. Sie werden auch zur akademischen Lehre beitragen und den Betrieb der ArchĂ€ologischen Sammlung unterstĂŒtzen. 

Ihre Bewerbung sollte auf Englisch oder Deutsch verfasst sein und folgende Dokumente enthalten: 

· Motivationsschreiben 

· Akademischer Lebenslauf (inkl. Publikationsliste, Verzeichnis Lehrveranstaltungen, Liste VortragstĂ€tigkeiten) 

· Beschreibung der ForschungsplĂ€ne oder des Habilitationsvorhabens (max. 2-3 Seiten) 

· Kontaktadressen möglicher Referenzgeber*innen (diese werden nur kontaktiert, wenn die Bewerbung in der engeren Auswahl ist). 

Dauer der Befristung: 6 Jahr/e 

BeschĂ€ftigungsausmaß: 40.0 Stunden/Woche. 
Einstufung gemĂ€ĂŸ Kollektivvertrag: §48 VwGr. B1 lit. b (postdoc) 
DarĂŒber hinaus können anrechenbare Berufserfahrungen die Einstufung und damit das Entgelt bestimmen.
Ihre Aufgaben: 
Die Stelle erfordert die aktive Teilnahme an Forschung, Lehre und Administration. Dazu gehören: 
• Auf- und Ausbau eines eigenstĂ€ndigen Forschungsprofils; 
• DurchfĂŒhrung eines Habilitations- oder Buchprojektes (‚second book‘); 
• Beteiligung an Forschungsprojekten im Bereich der Griechischen ArchĂ€ologie; 
• Arbeit in der archĂ€ologischen Sammlung des Instituts (z.B. Mitwirkung an der Organisation von Schulworkshops etc.; Mithilfe bei der Betreuung der Sammlung) 
• Projektbeantragung und Drittmittelakquise; 
• SelbstĂ€ndige Abhaltung von Lehrveranstaltungen im Ausmaß der kollektivvertraglichen Bestimmungen; 
• Aktive Teilnahme an Feldforschung und Betreuung von Studierenden im Feld 
• Mitwirkung in der Forschungs-, Lehr- und Institutsadministration. 

Ihr Profil: 
• Abgeschlossene Dissertation in Klassischer ArchĂ€ologie; 
• Eine starke Forschungsbilanz, die sich aus Veröffentlichungen und Erfahrungen mit internationalen PrĂ€sentationen auf einem Niveau ergibt, das Ihrem Karrierelevel entspricht; 
• Erfahrungen in der Feldforschung; 
• Exzellente Deutsch- und Englischkenntnisse; 
• TeamfĂ€higkeit 

• Lehrerfahrung 
• Kenntnis universitĂ€rer AblĂ€ufe und Strukturen 
• Auslandserfahrungen 
• Grundkenntnisse der altgriechischen Sprache (mit Nachweis) 


Hauptforschungsfach Spezielle ForschungsfĂ€cher Wichtigkeit 
Geschichte, ArchĂ€ologie Klassische ArchĂ€ologie Musskriterium 


Bildungseinrichtung Ausbildungsrichtung Spezielle Ausbildungsrichtung Wichtigkeit 
UniversitĂ€t Geisteswissenschaften Musskriterium 


Sprache Sprachniveau Wichtigkeit 
Deutsch Gute Kenntnisse Musskriterium 
Englisch Gute Kenntnisse Musskriterium 

Ihre Bewerbung: 
Wir freuen uns auf Ihre aussagekrĂ€ftige Bewerbung mit Motivationsschreiben unter der Kennzahl 11501, welche Sie bis zum 10.12.2020 bevorzugt ĂŒber unser Job Center (  an uns ĂŒbermitteln. 

FĂŒr nĂ€here AuskĂŒnfte ĂŒber die ausgeschriebene Position wenden Sie sich bitte an Mac Sweeney, Naoise . 

Die UniversitĂ€t Wien betreibt eine antidiskriminatorische Anstellungspolitik und legt Wert auf Chancengleichheit und DiversitĂ€t ( Insbesondere wird eine Erhöhung des Frauenanteils in Leitungspositionen und beim wissenschaftlichen Personal angestrebt. Frauen werden bei gleicher Qualifikation vorrangig aufgenommen.DLE Personalwesen und Frauenförderung der UniversitĂ€t Wien 
Kennzahl der Ausschreibung: 11501

Communities of Knowledge ( Tagging, Prosopography, and Networks

The below virtual conference sounds really interesting (info via Nathan Gibson):

Registration is now open for the virtual forum Jews, Christians, and Muslims as Colleagues and Collaborators in the Abbasid Near East, which will take place as 9 sessions (18 presentations) between October 20th and December 11th. The presentations listed below involve projects working with digital humanities and might be of particular interest to those on this list. Please see for the full program of the virtual forum.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 16:00 CET Project DemoCommunities of Knowledge ( Tagging, Prosopography, and Networks
Nathan P. Gibson, Nadine Löhr, Robin SchmahlUniversity of Munich (LMU)
The project “Communities of Knowledge: Interreligious Networks of Scholars in Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża’s History of the Physicians” aims to examine the social encounters of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish scholars in the Abbasid Near East, broadly defined as 750–1258. While the fact of exchange between scholars of many different communities during this period is well established, and their accomplishments are well known, the ways in which this exchange occurred are not as well researched. Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża’s (1203–1270 AD) biographical dictionary provides rich information about such interactions, which sometimes occurred directly between scholars, but other times involved much larger networks of people, including patrons, patients, family members, rulers, and slaves.The project asks, in general, how Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża depicts these networks, as well as, more specifically, which people, places, and types of communication were involved in them. This project demo will explain the different stages of this analysis. First, we identify and “tag” people and places in the source text. Next, we use these tags to create prosopographical nuggets called “factoids,” which encapsulate many different assertions throughout the text about the people involved and form the basis for mapping their relationships as a network. Finally, we analyze these networks, using quantitative metrics to focus our attention on the persons, places, or features in the network that call for in-depth qualitative study. We anticipate—and our preliminary results suggest—that this process will bring to light specific but underappreciated aspects of interreligious exchange.
The “Communities of Knowledge” project is funded by the “Kleine FĂ€cher – Große Potentiale” program of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education, 2018–2021.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 16:00 CET Research Paper DiscussionOff the Record: Networks of Lost Arabic Books
Nadine LöhrSaxon Academy of Sciences
Library records and manuscript catalogues are fundamental sources for historians, nevertheless, researchers are aware that a ​transmission process is determined by both the extant manuscripts as well as by a great number of texts which were lost in time. Historians of German literature claim that for every preserved work there are thousands of lost ones. While it is difficult to appreciate the number of lost sources, it is vital to consider the untransferred and lost knowledge in order to understand the exchange of ideas within a community.
To get a better insight into ​once well known scientific Arabic literature​, this article seeks to trace networks evolving around works which were ​produced and circulated between the 8th and 13th century and are ​presumed to be lost today​.
As a starting point, this study will be based on an analysis of the works mentioned in ​Ibn AbÄ« UsaibiÊża​’s ​History of Physicians​. I wish to draw attention to the quantity of missing works still read, or at least heard of by ​Ibn AbÄ« UsaibiÊża​. I examine ​general trends of what kind of books got lost and (if feasible) through what processes. ​Thereby it may be possible to observe certain regional, cultural, temporal or religious trends, and determine what the percentage of lost medical literature from a certain region is.
The second part of this article will ​focus on the afterlife of astronomical and astrological works lost after the 13th c. An analysis of networks evolving around the lost works will be backed up with further resources and literature. I wish to understand who were the authors and owners of books on the astral sciences now lost? Were these books according to ​Ibn AbÄ« UsaibiÊża​’s insights shared, studied and discussed within various communities or were they held in so-called “small world communities”?


Friday, December 11, 2020, 16:00 CET Research Paper DiscussionLabeling Religious Affiliation in Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża’s History of Physicians: A QuestNathan P. GibsonUniversity of Munich (LMU)     
The biographical dictionary of Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża (1203–1270 AD), titled The Best Accounts of the Classes of Physicians (Arabic, ÊżUyĆ«n al-anbāʟ fÄ« áč­abaqāt al-aáč­ibbāʟ) or History of Physicians for short, is perhaps unequaled in the extent to which it details the social interactions of scholars from many different religious communities. áčŹabaqāt literature in general tends to provide a kind of Who’s-Who resource collecting information about personages in particular categories, such as hadith transmitters or poets. Normally authors tended to make these categories applicable to a certain religious tradition, but Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża’s project broke the mold by outlining a profession (medicine and related areas) in which collaboration and exchange among communities was typical. The History of Physicians is thus an ideal target for large-scale analysis of interreligious exchange, as the project “Communities of Knowledge” is in the process of doing.
Nevertheless, incorporating “religious affiliation” as a factor in analyzing Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża’s text is fraught with complexity. First is the looming issue of what religion even means in this context. Second is the question of which terms or phrases the author uses to intentionally signal a particular affiliation. Third, which other characteristics may be taken to indicate religious affiliation, as perhaps certain titles, professions, actions, or (very cautiously) names? Finally, what should be done with mixed indications, whether these are due to inaccurate sources, ambiguous affiliation, or conversion?
I will present a case for recording these textual indications using the prosopographical tool of “factoids,” which can support a more nuanced analysis than simply recording a single affiliation for each person. Each factoid, representing an assertion by Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża or his sources, is one of several markers of religious affiliation, which may point toward different affiliations for the same person. The strength of these markers and their agreement or variance for a particular person provide specific data points that can be used to reconstruct networks of communities while also allowing for alternate scenarios.
The “Communities of Knowledge” project is funded by the “Kleine FĂ€cher – Große Potentiale” program of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education, 2018–2021.


Friday, December 11, 2020, 17:00 CET Project DemoIndexing a Shared Knowledge Culture from Many Perspectives: Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East (HIMME) as a Tool for Researching Diversity
Thomas A. CarlsonOklahoma State University
The medieval Middle East, at the crossroads of Africa and Eurasia, included more distinct yet intersecting literary traditions in more languages than any other part of the premodern world. While several of these literary traditions were religiously demarcated, others such as Arabic and Persian were multi-religious written cultures. Despite this, the religious diversity of this region is often conceptualized as separate communities who sometimes interacted. Religion was certainly a socially relevant category employed by medieval people to organize their world, and yet people from every religion wrote about the same government, the same society, and largely the same culture as expressed in religious multiplicity.
A new digital research project (HIMME: Historical Index of the Medieval Middle East) is developing a reference tool to demonstrate the shared culture and society of the diverse medieval Middle East. It will provide a union index to selected primary sources in Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Persian, and Syriac, indexing the people, places, and practices mentioned in each literary tradition. The result is that someone interested in, for example, the famous counter-Crusader (and sultan loyal to the Abbasid caliphate) áčąalāង al-DÄ«n can search a database and discover relevant primary sources in unexpected Hebrew and Syriac as well as expected Arabic and Latin sources, while the later conqueror Timur Lenk is also mentioned in Greek and Armenian texts that might easily be missed. This presentation will offer a preview of the project (to be published officially on August 1, 2021), a discussion of its scope, and an exploration of its implications for the culture of knowledge shared among Jews, Christians, and Muslims of the medieval Middle East.
This project has been made possible in part by the (USA’s) National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this presentation do not necessarily represent those of the (USA’s) National Endowment for the Humanities or of Oklahoma State University.
How it works
The virtual forum is conceived as an opportunity to discuss the state of research on interreligious knowledge exchange. Half-hour project demos will showcase ongoing projects in the area, while one-hour research paper discussions are a chance to interact on a deeper level with researchers who are in the process of formulating approaches to the subject.

  • Students, academics, and anyone else interested may register by clicking on any of the registration links. This will take you to a Zoom page, where you can select any or all of the nine sessions to attend virtually. The number of Zoom participants for each session is limited to 100.
  • Registered participants will be sent drafts of research papers to read and comment on ahead of time. We’ll use the web tool to do this collaboratively. You can get a free account here, and you’ll receive an email ahead of the session containing a link to read the paper and another link to join the private group where you can comment or ask questions.
  • During the live Zoom sessions, you’ll hear two presentations and, for research paper discussions, 1–2 responses from invited participants. The remainder of the time will be open for you to interact with the speaker, so come with questions!
  • Proceedings: Revised papers from the forum will be submitted to a special issue of medieval worlds: comparative & interdisciplinary studies, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ISSN 2412-3196).

All times are Central European Time (CET). Logistical support has been provided by team members Vanessa Birkhahn and Malinda Tolay.                 
From the eighth century to the thirteenth century and beyond, scholars in the Abbasid and neighboring realms pioneered study in medicine, mathematics, the astral arts, and many other disciplines. Scholarly treatises from that era together with biographical sources such as Ibn AbÄ« UáčŁaybiÊża’s History of Physicians and documentary texts from the Cairo Genizah show that this scholarly activity was not isolated to a single community. Instead, it emerged from a rich exchange between scholars affiliated with many different communities: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Samaritan, and others. Sometimes this exchange occurred through books or letters while at other times it was face-to-face in formal, institutional settings, side-by-side in the workplace, or even mediated through patrons, servants, or family members.
In the framework of the project “Communities of Knowledge” (funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research), we are hosting  a series of discussions on the topic of person-to-person knowledge exchange among Near Eastern communities during Abbasid rule.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑