Loads of (open access) Roman network stuff!

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

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

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

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

Open access resources and papers to keep you busy in quarantine

Everyone in the world is facing changes in their lives due to the current pandemic.  Modifying the way we work is but a small aspect of this.

In academia, some of us are perhaps able to continue research from home in some way or other. But one issue I hear over and over again is the limited access to scholarly literature now that libraries are closed. Some researchers are dependent on rare or non-digitised publications and catalogues. For other disciplines that rely almost exclusively on online content we face a different challenge: the pay wall. It is of course a massive shame much of our digitised academic literature is only available to those who pay expensive licenses.

But this post is not a rant about the pay wall (we can do that in the pub once those open up again). Instead, I would like to highlight a few open access online resources I make use of a lot in my research. These do not allow me to proceed with all of my research, but they definitely enable some of them and also offer a wealth of information to conjure up new research projects.

At the end of this post I will also add a list of 12 of my own publications which are published open access. Have fun reading them all 😀 Over the coming quarantine period, I hope to blog about some of those open access papers, and feel free to share your thoughts about them with me.

Here is a list of some online resources I use a lot. Because of what I do, most of them are related to classical antiquity, or archaeology (you can also find a pretty big list of open Roman data on my Project MERCURY website).

iDai.world: everything. publications, objects, archives, tutorials, datasets…

The archaeology data service: a huge number of great archaeological datasets, mostly from Britain

Pleiades: a gazetteer of ancient place names

Pelagios: gazetteers and linked open data

The digital atlas of Roman and Medieval civilisations: loads of Roman and Medieval data sets.

The ancient world mapping centre

Arachne: a vast collection of pictures and objects

Perseus: original and translated classics texts

Diogenes: original Classical texts

Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum: scans of the classics books cataloguing Latin epigraphy

Attalus: a bit old school, but I find the list of events for the Greek and Roman world per year very useful.

Livius: a useful encyclopaedia for the ancient world

And here is a list of my own open access publications, in case you’re into that sort of thing. Enjoy 🙂

  1. BRUGHMANS, T., Hanson, J. W., Mandich, M. J., Romanowska, I., Rubio-Campillo, X., Carrignon, S., Collins-Elliott, S., Crawford, K., Daems, D., Fulminante, F., Haas, T. de, Kelly, P., Moreno Escobar, M., Paliou, E., Ritondale, M. (2019). Formal modelling approaches to complexity science in Roman Studies: a manifesto. Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal, 2, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.16995/traj.367
  2. BRUGHMANS, T., van Garderen, M., Gillings, M., (2018). Introducing visual neighbourhood configurations for total viewsheds. Journal of Archaeological Science 96, 14–25. https://doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.jas.2018.05.006
  3. BRUGHMANS, T., Waal, M. S. de, Hofman, C. L., & Brandes, U. (2018). Exploring transformations in Caribbean indigenous social networks through visibility studies: the case of late pre-colonial landscapes in East-Guadeloupe (French West Indies). Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 25(2), 475–519. https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1007/s10816-017-9344-0
  4. BRUGHMANS, T., & Brandes, U. (2017). Visibility network patterns and methods for studying visual relational phenomena in archaeology. Frontiers in Digital Humanities: Digital Archaeology, 4(17). https://doi.org/10.3389/fdigh.2017.00017
  5. BRUGHMANS, T., & Peeples, M. A. (2017). Trends in archaeological network research: a bibliometric analysis. Journal of Historical Network Research, 1.  https://doi.org/10.25517/jhnr.v1i1.10
  6. Marwick, B., J. d’Alpoim Guedes., C.M. Barton., L.A. Bates., M. Baxter., A. Beavan., E.A. Bollwerk., R.K. Bocinsky., T. BRUGHMANS., A.K. Carter., C. Conrad., D.A. Contreras., S. Costa., E.R. Crema., A. Daggett., B. Davies., B.L. Drake., T.S. Dye., P. France., R. Fullager., D. Giusti., S. Graham., M.D. Harris., J. Hawks., S. Heath., D. Huffer., E.C. Kansa., S.W. Kansa., M.E. Madsen., J. Melcher., J. Negre., F.D. Neiman., R. Opitz., D.C. Orton., P. Przystupa., M. Raviele., J. Riel-Salvatore., P. Riris., I. Romanowska., J. Smith., N. Strupler., I.I. Ullah., H.G. Van Vlack., N. VanValkenberg., E.C. Watrall., C. Webster., J. Wells., J. Winters. & C.D. Wren. 2017. Open Science in Archaeology SAA Archaeological Record 17: 8–14.
  7. Lozano, S., BRUGHMANS, T., Fulminante, F., & Prignano, L. (2017). Network Science Approaches for the Study of Past Long-Term Social Processes. A special edited research topic in Frontiers in Digital Humanities – Digital Archaeology.
  8. BRUGHMANS, T., & Poblome, J. (2016). MERCURY: an agent-based model of tableware trade in the Roman East. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 19(1), 3 http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/19/1/3.html.
  9. Leidwanger, J., Knappett, C., Arnaud, P., Arthur, P., Blake, E., Broodbank, C., BRUGHMANS, T., Evans, T., Graham, S., Greene, E.S., Kowalzig, B., Mills, B., Rivers, R., Tartaron, T.F., Noort, R. Van De. (2014). A manifesto for the study of ancient Mediterranean maritime networks. Antiquity+.
  10. Verhagen, P., Brughmans, T., Nuninger, L., & Bertoncello, F. (2013). The long and winding road: combining least cost paths and network analysis techniques for settlement location analysis and predictive modelling. Proceedings of Computer Applications and Quantitative Techniques in Archaeology Conference 2012, Southampton, 357–366.
  11. Harris, L., Earl, G., Beale, N., Phethean, C., and BRUGHMANS, T. (2012). Building Personal Learning Networks through Event- Based Social Media: a Case Study of the SMiLE Project The Growth of the “Backchannel”. In PLE Conference Proceedings, Personal Learning Environment Conference 2012.
  12. BRUGHMANS, T., Isaksen, L., & Earl, G. (2012). Connecting the dots: an introduction to critical approaches in archaeological network analysis. In M. Zhou, I. Romanowska, Z. Wu, P. Xu, & P. Verhagen (Eds.), Proceedings of Computer Applications and Quantitative Techniques in Archaeology conference 2011, Beijing (pp. 359–369). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Special issue ARCS welcomes paper proposals

A new publication opportunity: ARCS, a multi-disciplinary journal dedicated to network research in the social sciences. I am sure they welcome contributions from archaeologists and historians. Importantly: open access without processing fees!
More info on the journal website.


Since the 1960s, network analysis has been used in many disciplines in social science (sociology, geography, history, etc.) as well as in natural and formal science, with each discipline defining its own concepts and indicators. After the late 1990s, the circulation of concepts and indicators defined in physics, the development of new software and algorithms, and easier access to large relational datasets have changed practices and rearranged bridges and boundaries between disciplines.

Several papers have already assessed the influence of physicists on network analysis in sociology (Crossley, 2008), archaeology (Brughmans, 2013) and geography (Ducruet and Beauguitte, 2014), but there are still few studies of the circulation, or non-circulation, of network analysis methods and concepts between disciplines.

It would for example be interesting to understand why betweenness centrality has become a common indicator in the social sciences, whereas methods developed in ecology to analyze bipartite graphs are seldom used. Similarly, gravity models, which have been used in geography since the 1960s to study valued graphs, are largely ignored in sociology.

We welcome papers addressing (this is a non-limitative list):

  • the circulation, or non-circulation, of a specific concept or method between disciplines. What enabled or hindered this circulation (types of data, routine uses of software, publication formats, etc.), and which channels did it use? How did the concept or method change during its interdisciplinary journey? Reversely, can the reception of a concept or method in a different discipline have effects on the original one?
  • the genealogy of concepts and methods currently used in a specific discipline: where did they come from? How were they translated and adapted?
  • a classical text in network analysis, read from the perspective of a different discipline from that of its author.

Call for papers for a special issue of ARCSon Concepts and methods in network analysis: interdisciplinary circulation and boundaries, edited by Laurent Beauguitte (geographer, CNRS, Rouen) and Claire Lemercier (historian, CNRS, Paris)

Submission Guidelines

Authors must choose between two formats: “research paper” or “debates” (as defined here). Research papers must be based on clearly defined empirical data. Authors may use diverse types of data and methods: while this special issue explores practices in network analysis, these practices may be studied through network analysis (of citations or other types of links) as well as through other qualitative or quantitative methods. The editors have no a priori definition of “network analysis”: the aim of this special issue is precisely to emphasize the diversity of definitions across disciplines. Each author should therefore precisely state which exact methods or concepts he or she is considering.

Authors should send a one-page abstract to arcs@episciences.org

before the end of 2017

The editors will confirm whether the intended contribution fits with the special issue and the journal. The complete papers will then be peer reviewed (the process is described here; the journal is committed to getting back to the authors within three months at most) and published between June 2018 and June 2019.


  • Brughmans, T. (2013). Thinking Through Networks: A Review of Formal Network Methods in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 20, 623–662.
  • Crossley, N. (2008). Small-world networks, complex systems and sociology. Sociology, 42(2), 261–277.
  • Ducruet, C. & Beauguitte, L. (2014). Spatial science and network science: Review and outcomes of a complex relationship. Networks and Spatial Economics, 14(3-4), 297-316.

The Journal

ARCSis a multi-disciplinary journal dedicated to network analysis in social sciences. It publishes open access papers (without article processing charges) in English and French, under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. The authors are encouraged to publish their data along with their papers; the journal can provide advice in this regard. The authors must use a Word or Latex template (available here). The journal insists on the use of gender-inclusive language and can provide advice in this regard.

Scientific Committee

Editor in chief

  • Laurent Beauguitte  Géographie (CR, UMR IDEES)

Publishing board

  • Claire Lagesse, Géomatique (UMR THÉMA)
  • Serge Lhomme, Géographie (MCF, EA Lab’Urba)
  • Marion Maisonobe, Géographie (UMR LISST)
  • Silvia Marzagalli, Histoire (PU, EA CMMC)
  • Pierre Mercklé, Sociologie (MCF, UMR CMW)

Open Science in Archaeology: publication and special interest group

Work for two years, write a paper about it in two months, lose all rights to it in a second, hide it behind a pay-wall… Sound familiar? This is the traditional academic process in archaeology. Our very diverse work ranging from excavation, over lab tests, to interpretations is often only made available through a summarising publication that is rarely accessible to anyone other than institutions paying huge amounts of money. This is just not the way science works anymore. In such a system, how can we find out all the details of excavation results? How can we reproduce lab tests? How can we evaluate the empirical and historical background to a published interpretation in exhaustive detail? The answer is: we can’t.

It’s time for this traditional practice to change. Archaeology should follow the trend in academia towards more open science. The argument for open science in archaeology is made elaborately by Ben Marwick in a recently published paper in the SAA archaeological record, and the statements are supported by a large group of archaeologists (including myself). The paper announces the start of the SAA open science in archaeology special interest group. Check out the group’s wiki and get involved!

Here’s the paper’s abstract:

In archaeology, we are accustomed to investing great effort into collecting data from fieldwork, museum collections, and other sources, followed by detailed description, rigorous analysis, and in many cases ending with publication of our findings in short, highly concentrated reports or journal articles. Very often, these publications are all that is visible of this lengthy process, and even then, most of our journal articles are only accessible to scholars at institutions paying subscription fees to the journal publishers. While this traditional model of the archaeological research process has long been effective at generating new knowledge about our past, it is increasingly at odds with current norms of practice in other sciences. Often described as ‘open science’, these new norms include data stewardship instead of data ownership, transparency in the analysis process instead of secrecy, and public involvement instead of exclusion. While the concept of open science is not new in archaeology (e.g., see Lake 2012 and other papers in that volume), a less transparent model often prevails, unfortunately. We believe that there is much to be gained, both for individual researchers and for the discipline, from broader application of open science practices. In this article, we very briefly describe these practices and their benefits to researchers. We introduce the Society for American Archaeology’s Open Science Interest Group (OSIG) as a community to help archaeologists engage in and benefit from open science practices, and describe how it will facilitate the adoption of open science in archaeology.

Submit your work to the new CAA journal!

Finally those of us developing and applying computational techniques to the study of the human past have an appropriate place to publish our work. At last year’s CAA conference in Atlanta the new Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology was launched! A much needed journal on a topic that’s booming. It’s entirely open access and supports online data deposition. The journal has an open rolling call for papers: submit now!


The Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology (JCAA) publishes high quality, original papers that focuses on research on the interface between archaeology and informatics. This peer-reviewed journal provides immediate open access.

We now invite high quality papers on all the aspects of digital archaeology, including, – but not restricted to – databases and semantic web, statistics and data mining, 3D modelling, GIS, spatial analysis, remote sensing and geophysics, other field recording techniques, simulation modelling, network analysis and digital reconstructions of the past for consideration for publication in the Journal. Papers can be targeted towards scientific research, cultural heritage management and/or public archaeology.

We accept papers falling in one of the following four categories:

• Research articles, describing the outcomes and application of unpublished original research
• Case studies, expanding on the application of established technologies/methods to shed light on archaeological enquiries.
• Position papers, summarising and reflecting upon current trends in the application of established or new technologies, methods or theories.
• Reviews, covering topics such as current controversies or the historical development of studies as well as issues of regional or temporal focus.

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Manuscript Preparation

Please refer to the Journal Information and submission instructions for Author about manuscript preparation: http://jcaa.ubiquitypress.com/about/submissions/
All manuscripts should be submitted online at:

Publication Frequency

The journal is published online as a continuous volume and issue throughout the year. Articles are made available as soon as they are ready to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in getting content publicly available.

Article Processing Charge

JCAA is a full Open Access journal. Accepted papers will be published upon payment of a £300 Article Processing Charge. For APC waiver options, please contact the Editors.

For further information please refer to the JCAA website or contact the JCAA Editorial Team at journal@caa-international.org .

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