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
SYSTEMS IN ARCHAEOLOGY (NASA).

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 systemTheories 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.

Pelagios Visualisation Talk with Elijah Meeks

Via Gethin Rees and Elton Barker:
14 July, 9am PST, 5pm BST on Zoom
Elijah Meeks is a co-founder and Chief Visualization Officer at Noteable where he’s developing a new notebook platform with robust data visualization and management capabilities. He is also a co-founder and Executive Director of the Data Visualization Society, an international professional organization for data visualization with over 14,000 members. Prior to that, he worked at Netflix and Apple as a data visualization engineer and consulted with various companies on all aspects of data visualization practice and strategy. Earlier in his career, he worked in digital humanities at Stanford, creating such works as ORBIS and Kindred Britain.
In his talk, Elijah will discuss metric design and how data visualization is key to developing meaningful metrics that help us understand the subject matter rather than just naively present the data.
The talk will be preceded by a short introduction to the Pelagios Visualisation activity and how to get involved.
If you would like to attend please sign up here: https://forms.gle/7Hay8kHxWezukx4V6
The talk has limited capacity with places allocated to those who sign up first.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Gethin Rees and Elton Barker

Hestia2 livestream URL

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

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

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

Follow the Twitterstream via #Hestiaproject and @Hestiaproject

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

Étudier les réseaux sociaux, SNA summer school in France

When I tell people that I specialise in archaeological computing they always think I am locked up in a cellar with a massive computer screen doing things other people don’t understand. They do not associate us with doing fieldwork in a sunny place, or digging up treasures. To some extent this is true: I am generally confronted with blank stares when I try to explain my research and I do get to sit in a warm and dry office whilst others excavate ridges and furrows in a muddy trench.

Sometimes being an academic is not such a bad thing. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being invited by a French historian to attend and present at a summer school. The week-long event took place on the French island of Proquerolles off the coast of Toulon and St Tropez, a little known gem of the French Riviera. When I did my background research before accepting the invitation I focused on weather forecasts and restaurant reviews. I decided it was in the best interest of my research group that I accept the invitation and attend this undoubtedly very interesting event.

A useful fact about Porquerolles is that it lies in France, where people speak French. The last time I practiced my French was quite a while ago and everyone I met after getting off the plane was keen to point that out to me. On the boat trip to the island I found out that in fact I was one of the only foreigners and one of only two archaeologists, all other 78 delegates were mainly sociologists, a few historians and some geographers. All of a sudden I very briefly wished I could spend the week in a cellar in front of a massive computer screen.

It turns out that the average French sociologist makes for extremely enjoyable and interesting company, although there are some distinct differences with the average archaeologist: they talk about sociology a lot and they drink less. The summer school (‘Etudier les réseaux sociaux’) was organised by the French social network analysts Claire Bidart and Michel Grosetti, and the historical network analysts Claire Lemercier and Michel Bertrand. The programme included some great scholars in social network analysis like Alain Degenne, Pierre Mercklé and Emmanuel Lazega. The topics of the presentations ranged from ‘Network Analysis for Dummies’, over the issues surrounding the use of historical data in network analyses, to networks of organisations, citations, finance and the World Wide Web. The work by Florent Hautefeuille on linking networks of individuals known from Medieval written sources with the excavated houses in which they lived was particularly interesting for archaeologists. One of the biggest strengths of the summer school were the many tutorials that introduced an impressive range of social network analysis software: Pajek, PNet, ERGM, NodeXL, Visone, Calliope, SIENA, UCINET, Netdraw, Gephi, as well as some more obscure programmes designed by individuals sitting in front of massive screens in cellars.

During a conference or summer school it is always hard to convince yourself that you are actually there for work and should stay focused during every second of all presentation. But at this summer school I came very close to paying attention almost non-stop to all the amazing new network techniques, software and their creative applications to fascinating datasets. I believe I should conclude by stating that I have seen the value of sharing knowledge across disciplines in action, especially if it takes place on a beautiful French island in the Mediterranean.

A great Digital Humanities 2012 in Hamburg

This year’s Digital Humanities conference ended this weekend and it was a great success. The entire event was perfectly organised by the University of Hamburg. They even anticipated rain by providing DH-branded umbrellas. There was a record number of delegates, presentations were of high quality and the social events were a reflection of its host city’s image as a party capital and heimat of The Beatles. The University of Southampton was also well represented, with among others a workshop by Leif Isaksen and colleagues on modelling space and time in the humanities, a presentation on the Pelagios project, and one on Ptolemy’s Geography.

I myself did a presentation on my work with citation network analysis. I was also awarded an ADHO award bursary for young DH scholars.

By clicking on the links above you can see recordings of these presentations, but videos of many other presentations are available as well. Just have a look at the conference programme. There was alot of Twitter activity with #dh2012 and do also have a look at the DH student assistants blog. This year’s Fortier Prize went to @marcgalexander and Willard McCarty was awarded the Busa Prize.

As a first-time DH attendee I must say it is an awesome event organised by a vibrant and lovely community of friends. I would encourage everyone to attend future DH meetings.

Presentation at University of Auckland

Thanks to the World Universities Network researcher mobility grant Iza and I could do some cool work with colleagues at the University of Auckland. On 20 June we gave a presentation at the department of archaeology there, in the ArchSoc seminar series. We presented our PhD projects, which in my case was mainly an overview of archaeological network analysis and some of my citation network analysis. You can download the presentation slides through the link on my bibliography page.

Thanks to all our Auckland colleagues!

Here the abstract:

This paper will argue that archaeological network researchers are not well networked themselves, resulting in a limited and sometimes uncritical adoption of formal network methods within the archaeological discipline. This seems to have followed largely from a general unawareness of the historicity of network-based approaches which span at least eight decennia of multi-disciplinary research. Many network analytical techniques that would only find a broader use in the last 15 years were in fact introduced in the archaeological discipline as early as the 1970s. The unawareness of alternative approaches is most prominent in recent archaeological applications of formal network methods, which show a tendency of adopting techniques and models that were fashionable at the time of publication rather than exploring other archaeological and non-archaeological approaches.
The paper concludes that in order to move towards richer archaeological applications of formal network methods archaeological network analysts should become better networked both within and outside their discipline. The existing archaeological applications of network analysis show clear indications of methods with great potential for our discipline and methods that will remain largely fruitless, and archaeologists should become aware of these advances within their discipline. The development of original archaeological network methods should be driven by archaeological research problems and a broad knowledge of formal network methods developed in different disciplines.

TAG presentation online

I really enjoyed all papers in the session Anna Collar, Fiona Coward and I chaired at TAG 2011 in Birmingham. We had a great variety of research topics, theories and methods, all sharing a common interest or even passion (be it positive or negative) for networks. I was delighted we had such a great discussion during the session and I would like to thank all contributors once again!

I just uploaded the slides of my own presentation. You can find a link to download them on my bibliography page. Alternatively, have a look at my Academia or Scribd pages.

Schedule TAG session


It looks like networks and complexity will be well represented at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference this year in Birmingham! Fiona Coward, Anna Collar and myself are organising a session that bears the same name as our symposium ‘The connected past: people, networks and complexity in archaeology and history’. We received some great submissions that range from conceptual to highly methodological approaches to networks and complexity. Below you will find a preliminary list of the contributors and their abstracts.
We are very much looking forward to the event and we are very confident it will be the best session at TAG 😉

Also, check out the page on this blog dedicated to TAG 2011

Tom Brughmans

Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton
Networks of networks: a critical review of formal network methods in archaeology
This paper will argue that archaeological network researchers are not well networked themselves, resulting in a limited and sometimes uncritical adoption of formal network methods within the archaeological discipline. This seems to have followed largely from a general unawareness of the historicity of network-based approaches which span at least eight decennia of multi-disciplinary research. Many network analytical techniques that would only find a broader use in the last 15 years were in fact introduced in the archaeological discipline as early as the 1970s. The unawareness of alternative approaches is most prominent in recent archaeological applications of formal network methods, which show a tendency of adopting techniques and models that were fashionable at the time of publication rather than exploring other archaeological and non-archaeological approaches. I will illustrate that knowledge of the diversity of archaeological and non-archaeological network methods is crucial to their critical application and modification within archaeological research contexts.
Through this review I will aim to expose the as yet insufficiently explored potential of formal network-based models and techniques, to raise some issues surrounding an uncritical adoption of such techniques and to provide suggestions for dealing with these issues. In order to move towards richer archaeological applications of formal network methods archaeological network analysts should become better networked both within and outside their discipline.

Kimberley van den Berg

VU University Amsterdam
Good to Think With: exploring the potential of networks as a concept metaphor or intellectual tool
Network approaches are becoming increasingly popular among archaeologists and historians. They provide a broad range of models and methods that inspire scholars in both disciplines to original analyses of various past networks and present datasets. As these approaches gain in reputation, however, more and more questions arise regarding their possibilities and limitations. Particularly unclear is whether network models and methods are applicable to all archaeological or historical datasets and, more importantly, whether such datasets are sufficiently representative to allow for meaningful results. One means of getting beyond these issues involving our data is to deploy networks as a concept metaphor or intellectual tool.
This paper seeks to explore the potential of such an approach for a very specific case study. During the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition, the eastern Mediterranean was a world in crisis, in which around 1200 B.C. the Aegean palaces were destroyed. Recent research shows that the impact of these destructions greatly varied between regions; several sites continued to be inhabited and were still actively engaged in overseas contacts. Current interpretations fail to satisfactorily explain these continued connections. Much can be gained from rethinking our interpretative frameworks and I hold that networks are particularly “good to think with”.

Doug Rocks-Macqueen

University of Edinburgh
Complex Networks and the Individual- How agent based network models can aid our understanding of past perceptions
Agent based modelling programs allow for the construction of large scale complex networks through the interactions of decisions of hundreds to hundreds of thousand individual components. This presentation will “flip” this traditional network tool to examine the individual components using their larger network. It will demonstrate that through the use of networks archaeologists can gather great detail about individuals and how they perceive the world. This methodology could serve as a useful bridge between quantitative methodologies of most network analysis and the more qualitative investigations of other archaeologists.

Amy J. Maitland Gardner

UCL, London
The Maya Royal Court: A model for rules of engagement
The concept of ‘the royal court’ as a particular social, political and cultural organisation based on a ‘network of interdependencies’ rather than as the power of an absolute monarch can be used to describe the configuration of Maya polities in the Late Classic Period (c. 600-900AD). However, how these networks were structured, maintained and developed both internally within the court and among courts and royal families across the Maya region still requires investigation. Starting from Elias’ assertion that the court is continually reproduced through a system of etiquette ([1933] 1983), I investigate what kinds of codes of behaviour existed in Late Classic Maya society through a study of body posture, gesture and proxemics in figural art. In this paper, I will discuss the theoretical frameworks of the royal court and the dynamics of human interaction which includes comparative studies of bodily communication in ancient court societies and theories drawn from sociological and ethological literature concerning the nature of human engagement. I will also discuss the analytical framework employed to consider patterns and combinations of gestures and postures in multi-figural scenes on ceramic vessels and stone monuments from across the Maya region. This approach allows for gesture to be understood as a relational phenomenon and as such the ‘networks of interdependencies’ composing ancient Maya royal courts and the network of inter-court relationships may be fruitfully explored.

Agata Czeszewska

Adam Mickiewicz University, Institute of Prehistory
Wall paintings from Çatalhöyük as an example of creating social networks between the past and the present
Çatalhöyük is one of the most fascinating sites of the Neolithic world. The site was discovered in late 50s, in central Anatolia. Since then more than 70 wall paintings have been discovered within the Neolithic houses. Wall paintings found at Çatalhöyük are one of the first examples of human art which appeared in domestic areas. They are connected with special events important for Neolithic society like death, birth, hunting. Therefore, they were constantly appearing and disappearing in the houses. In addition wall paintings are a tool of creating the links between past and present, between ancestors and descendants, between death and life. According to Ian Hodder and his conception of entanglement (see: Hodder, I. 2006. The Leopard’s Tale: Revealing the Mysteries of Çatalhoyuk, ) I wish to consider wall paintings within this frame. People and objects, also wall paintings are entangle into complex relationships. Every single act of preparing and covering the wall with painting was accompanied by complicated arrangements of tools, paints, brushes, events, rituals and people. Wall paintings play an active role in social interaction and connecting people, instead of being just passive and esthetic piece of art. Wall paintings were a part of dynamically created structures – houses. And so wall paintings determined internal rhythm of the house and society.
What’s more wall paintings have an enormous influence on contemporary recipients. The relationships between past and present, are very strongly undermined in modern references. Nowadays people use past motifs and constructs in creating their own reality. They are also entangled into past ad so they interact with the past. The aim of this paper is to analyse these relationships and interactions on both past and contemporaneous level. I wish to consider emotional and social involvement into creating the wall paintings from Çatalhöyük.

Amara Thornton

UCL Institute of Archaeology
Archaeological Relations: The ‘Heritage’ Network in British Mandate Palestine and Transjordan
Departments of Antiquities in Palestine and Transjordan were created during the early days of the British Mandates. These official branches of the administration encapsulated the importance of archaeology to the governing bodies of these newly delineated countries. In tracing the relationship of these departments to the Palestine and Transjordan Governments, the connections between archaeologists, government officials and architects illuminates archaeology’s place in the interwar period Mandates, and its contribution to political and economic agendas in these semi-colonial settings. As networks underpin all aspects of society, exploring the links between people, places and organisations reveals the complexities of imperial history, and exposes the position of the “intellectual aristocracy” in that history.
This paper will discuss how key relationship types can be used to reconstruct the framework for archaeological work, taking the British Mandates in Palestine and Transjordan as the case study. It offers a practical methodology for analysing archival material by focusing on the wider archaeological network, which both incorporates and stretches beyond the scholarly community, as a means to understand the development, management and promotion of archaeology in the past.

Heather Giddens

Cardiff University
Neolithic meshworks: paths of becoming in the LBK
The early Neolithic Linearbandkeramik (LBK) communities of central Europe (5600-4900 cal BC) certainly represent a ‘connected’ world. Distribution maps of raw materials such as Spondylus shell and imported flint suggest that exchange networks may have extended over vast areas of the continent. At the same time, materiality similarities between scattered settlements imply an extensive social network based on durable kinship bonds. Traditionally, these connections have been viewed along structural lines, assuming an almost logistical system of trading connections. However, alternative models are available.
This session uses Ingold’s concept of being-in-the world and the meshwork to reinterpret spatial patterns seen within the archaeological record. Here, places are not seen as containers of action, but rather as points of entanglement as people move through time and space. Focusing on two localised areas of LBK settlement in the Lower Rhine Basin (the middle Merzbach and upper Schlangengraben valleys of the Aldenhoven Plateau), I will consider the meshwork of entwined paths that defines the social environment of this area. In doing so, consideration with be given to three different scales of ‘place’: the longhouse, the settlement and the settlement cell. Through this re-interpretation, I hope to highlight how Ingold’s meshworks can provide fresh insights on the complex social world of the LBK.

Erik van Rossenberg

Leiden University
Getting your networks right: how to deal with typochronological fuzziness in historical trajectories
Traditional chronologies tend to be an unquestioned starting-point for archaeological case studies in network analysis. The reification of spatio-temporal entities leaves the problem of typochronological fuzziness unresolved. In this paper I will present a case study that adopts network analysis to explore the historical validity of typochronological sequences. I will show that such a degree of regional differentiation (i.e. gaps in networks) can be discerned in the distribution of Middle Bronze Age vessel types in Central Italy that an equally high degree of typochronological fuzziness should be taken into account. The resulting ‘time-transgressive’ scenarios (i.e. chronological overlap of periods, phases and subphases) challenge traditional typochronologies, shed a new light on traditional accounts of network changes and should therefore be regarded as a cautionary tale for archaeological case studies in network analysis. On a more positive note: network analysis can become a principal tool to resolve long-standing issues in typochronologies, to decide which places should be situated in which networks, as a starting-point for a network perspective on historical trajectories.

EUREKA?!?

Ever wondered where good ideas come from? This thought clearly has been keeping Steven Johnson awake, which resulted in a very interesting TED talk. People often think of an idea as something that emerges instantly at a specific moment: a brilliant archaeologist gazing at some old stones and all of a sudden, EUREKA, he brings the past to life! Well it turns out that it doesn’t work this way at all. Steven Johnson likes to see ideas as a network, like a small event that is born in the brain and triggers other parts of the brain through electric signals. The initial idea can be lingering in the brain for quite a while until it matures and cascades to dominate one’s mind, at which point golden words of wisdom are often put on paper by a new genius.

Steven Johnson argues that the networks we see in the outside world actually mimic those network patterns in the brain. He is interested in finding out what characterises these spaces in the outside world in which new ideas emerge. He calls this “The liquid network”, an environment where ideas and problems get together and that breeds innovation. It would be great if we could identify such spaces and promote hunches to limit their incubation periods.

For all of you out there who want to come up with the next big thing, here is what you need to do: give ideas that might be lingering in you brain time to develop and constantly try to get different peoples’ ideas together. Apparently we should spend more time trying to connect ideas rather than protect them. “Chance favours the connected mind”.

PS: thanks to Irad Malkin for bringing this video to my attention.

Call for papers Spatial Networks CAA 2012

The CAA 2012 call for papers has just opened! I will be chairing a session with John Pouncett on spatial network approaches in archaeology. Have a look at the abstract below. Please send abstracts of up to 500 words before 30 November to the conference’s submission system.

This session aims to disprove the apparent divide between geographical and network-based methods by providing a discussion platform for archaeological research at the intersection of physical and relational space. This session will welcome contributions addressing the following or related topics: network analysis in GIS, past spatial networks, spatial network evolution, complex networks and spatial models, exploratory network analysis, network-based definitions of spatial structure, agent-based modelling and networks, and space syntax.

ABSTRACT

Geography and-or-not topology: spatial network approaches in archaeology

Archaeologists’ attempts to explore geographical structure through spatial networks date back to at least the late 1960s. Pioneering studies introduced some of the core principles of graph theory which underpin network analysis, principles which are fundamental but yet seldom acknowledged in many recent applications. The introduction of GIS-based network techniques has allowed for easier analysis of the characteristics of spatial structure, particularly with regard to large or complex network datasets, but at the same time has severely limited the diversity and scope of archaeological applications of network analysis. Commercially available GIS-based network software is often limited to a few applications with clear modern-day relevance like the calculation of least-cost pathways and the analysis of hydrological networks. Archaeologists have been forced to adapt these popular tools and have been successful in doing so, but have left a wealth of alternative applications largely unexplored.

It has been argued that the interpretative potential of GIS-based network techniques can be realised by incorporating new views of networks developed in physics and by drawing upon complexity. By doing so it is possible to both move beyond the confines of traditional definitions of space structure and explore the realm of network growth and evolution. A number of archaeologists have taken their work on spatial networks along this route, exploring the dynamics between physical and relational space. Complex network models and methods are ever more frequently used for exploring the complexity of past spatial networks. Dynamic network models, for example, have been developed to explore the hypothetical processes underlying the interactions between past regional communities. Agent-based techniques have been coupled with complex network models or applied to archaeologically attested spatial networks.

These developments do not seem to have influenced GIS technologies, at least not in the discipline of archaeology. In fact, the archaeological use of GIS seems to suggest that formal methods for exploring past topological and geographical spaces are mutually exclusive.

This session aims to disprove the apparent divide between geographical and network-based methods by providing a discussion platform for archaeological research at the intersection of physical and relational space. This session will welcome contributions addressing the following or related topics: network analysis in GIS, past spatial networks, spatial network evolution, complex networks and spatial models, exploratory network analysis, network-based definitions of spatial structure, agent-based modelling and networks, and space syntax.

Interview at the Global Lab

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Martin Zaltz Austwick of University College London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) for his podcast ‘The Global Lab’. It was good fun talking to Martin. Initially we thought the only thing an archaeologist and an modern-day urban specialist had in common was that we can both talk about bricks (and we did). But our conversation soon turned into something that other people might actually be interested in, or so I hope.

You can check out the interview on the Global Lab homepage (episode 2) or via my bibliography page.

Do have a look at the CASA website as well. It produces fascinating research by world-leading researchers (like Mike Batty) that is very relevant to archaeologists. Especially those of us of the Complexity Science persuasion.

Interface workshop

Yesterday I chaired a workshop with Marco Büchler at the Interface conference in London. It was well attended and the discussion we got going was stimulating. You can download the presentation slides here or through the bibliography page. We also prepared handouts with a summary of the workshop and some software and bibliographic resources, download it here.

The workshop aimed to give an introduction to networks as a way of thinking. We covered some basic network ideas, visualisation and analysis. As an example we explored seven different English translations of the Holy Bible. Using networks we could see what sections were reused throughout the translations and what not. It turned out that throughout the centuries subtle and less subtle differences seeped into the translations, fascinating stuff!

Like everyone else at the conference I also gave a two minute lightning talk, really cool but challenging experience! Download the slides here or on the bibliography page.

Tom caught on tape!

Last week I presented at a workshop organised by Johannes Preiser-Kapeller in Vienna and Johannes already made the videos of that workshop available! That’s lightning fast academic work for you 🙂

You can watch the videos below. Johannes gave an introduction after which I presented a 40 minute keynote talk. Next up was Mihailo Popović talking about the historical geography of Byzantium, followed by Johannes Preiser-Kapeller and Ekaterini Mitsiou presenting their recent work on social networks of Byzantium. The workshop was hosted at the Institute for Byzantine Studies (Austrian Academy of Sciences) in Vienna and was titled “Connecting the dots. The analysis of networks and the study of the past (Archaeology and History)”.

Here are the videos:

Introduction (Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, IBF)

Tom Brughmans (Univ. Southampton), “Complex Networks in Archaeology: Urban Connectivity in Roman Southern Spain”, part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Mihailo Popović (IBF, Austrian Academy): “Networking the historical geography of Byzantium”

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (IBF, Austrian Academy): “Social networks of Byzantium (part 1)”

Ekaterini Mitsiou (IBF, Austrian Academy): “Social networks of Byzantium (part 2)”

Play with Digital Humanities attendees

For the Digital Humanities conference being held 19-22 June Elijah Meeks made a nice network of all attendants and their institutions. You can explore the network by zooming in and out, as well as trying out a radial visualisation. The University of Southampton is represented by our own Leif Isaksen!

The network consists of 621 points and 734 lines. The nodes represent attendants, institutions and papers. These are all linked up by drawing the necessary lines between attendants and their institutions and the papers they will present. The network is very fragmented, consisting of many small components (like the one Leif is part of for example). To me this seems to mean that most papers are presented by people of the same institutions or of a very limited number of institutions, and that many institutions are represented by just a few members.

There are two larger components however. One of them consists almost exclusively of researchers from the Centre of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. They mainly co-author papers internally and only in a few cases with researchers from other institutions. The largest component on the other hand consists of many different institution, the most prominent of which are University College London, University of Alberta, Indiana University, Virtual Cities/Digital Histories and Stanford University. The researchers of these institutions are (weakly) tied together by co-authorship of several papers.

Does this network seem to represent different academic communities? The largest component seems to be mainly US-based authors so maybe there is a geographical logic where US-scholars with existing US-collaborations are more inclined to present their work in California than researchers from other countries. But why is University College London part of this US-component (with a very weak link though) and King’s College is not, and why do these two prominent UK institutions not have any co-authored papers?

All these fascinating questions just come up in my head when looking at this network. These things are really fun to explore and force you to take an alternative perspective on things. You can see the academic networks at work! Curious what next year’s DH network will look like.

Click here for the original article.

Slides of presentations online folks

You can now download the slides from my recent presentations in Newcastle, Southampton, Leuven, Budapest and my presentation tomorrow in Vienna from my bibliography page. I know they are all very similar, but there are some slight variations. Task: find the 10 differences between them 🙂

If you want to read the research underlying this you will have to wait a bit longer because we are still writing it out. But you can always check out the abstracts (added as description on Scribd). And if you really can’t wait just send me an e-mail and I will give you a sneak-preview!

And finally I would like to give you a last-minute reminder of the workshop in Vienna tomorrow titled “Connecting the dots. The analysis of networks and the study of the past (Archaeology and History)”. It’s a half-day Workshop on 10 June 2011 at the Institut für Byzanzforschung (IBF), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Check out the invitation here.

Tomorrow AHCN conference in Budapest

A last-minute reminder of the Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks conference to be held tomorrow at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest. The list of contributors and topics is ridiculously wide, this will definitely be an awesomely inspiring event. I will be presenting a talk on the potential and issues surrounding complex networks in archaeology.

The organisers told me the venue is completely booked out so it’s probably not worth impulsively buying a plane ticket to Hungary if you do not have a conference ticket yet. I have also been told the presentations will be filmed and put online, so you can all enjoy that in a while. Last year’s edition was a great success and you can see the movies and read the papers on last year’s website.

Download the preliminary program here

Awesome art by Aaron Koblin

Just saw this TED talk by Aaron Koblin, a digital artist who’s work has inspired me for a while now. His art shows stunning examples of the fact that we have so much data available everywhere that relates in unsuspecting ways. If we bother to add things up, like he does for hand-drawn sheep, Johnny Cash still images, flight patterns, $100 bills and even voice samples, we see surprising things emerge that you would not expect by just looking at a single image or sample. His work on flight patterns is stunning and has been exhibited in the New York MOMA recently.

Check out his work online. And check out his talk below. Believe me, you’ll be surprised!

Presentation Newcastle University online!

You can download the slides from my presentation at Newcastle University on 23-05-2011 from the bibliography page. The conference was amazing, met some great people and heard some very promising research. I was also awarded the second prize in the Norman McCord competition for best presentation, which of course made me very happy 🙂

Conference Newcastle ‘Networks and Scales’ 23 May

I would just like to remind you all that next Monday the School of Historical Studies at Newcastle University will host a Postgraduate conference titled ‘Networks and Scales: Relating the local and the global’. I will present a paper myself on issues surrounding the archaeological application of network analysis, the potential of a multi-scalar network method, and show examples from the ‘Urban connectivity in Iron Age and Roman Southern Spain’ project directed by Simon Keay and Graeme Earl.

I am very much looking forward to the event, the list of speakers looks very promising.

Have a look for yourself:

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to address the notion of networks across boundaries and disciplines. Are we aware of the networks within which our subjects exist? Do we address sufficiently issues of network and scale in the past? How do we make connections between the often narrow focus of doctoral research and the local and global scales within which we practice?

The variety of papers that we were offered has been thrilling and it has been a great pleasure to organise what looks set to be an interesting and stimulating day. The papers transcend the disciplines of archaeology, history, ancient history, classics and history of medicine bringing together diverse research interests and a range of researchers united by a common interest in connecting different people, places and things, building links between data and interpretation and locating the local or individual in broader networks. We hope that today will provide the opportunity for our speakers and audience to both explore and create new networks.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the people without whom today would not be possible. Firstly, our sincere thanks to Professor Keith Wrightson and Professor Norman McCord for offering their continued support for the poster and paper prizes respectively. Our thanks are also due to the judging panels for said prizes. In addition we would like to thank the School of Historical Studies for their financial support, and in particular Dr. Helen Berry, director of postgraduate studies. We are grateful to those who have submitted posters, and hope that you have found it a useful experience. We would like to thank our speakers for offering such varied and intriguing abstracts and, we are sure, thought-provoking and interesting papers.

Finally, it is a great pleasure to welcome Professor Richard Hingley of Durham University as our key note speaker. We are honoured to have him address the conference and can think of no better way to end the day than with his lecture on networking frontiers.

Schedule for the Day

9.30am – Registration in the Research Beehive

Exploring Network Theories

10.00am Tom Brughmans – Complex networks in archaeology: Urban connectivity in Roman southern Spain

10.30am Keith Scholes – Recovering past networks : An approach to Early Medieval trade and communications

11am Coffee

11.30am Piotr Jacobsson – Re-assembling Aceramic Cyprus

12.00pm Louise Tolson- Exclusive/Inclusive: Public involvement and collaboration in the archaeology of the recent past

12.30pm Lunch

Scaling Sickness and Health

1.30pm Michelle Gamble – Bones, people and populations: A palaeopathological case study from Chalcolithic Cyprus

2.00pm Graham Butler – “Elizabeth Ferney, having procured a foul distemper, ordered into the workhouse until cured”: The Parish, the parish workhouse and parochial medicine in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1770-1830

2.30pm Coffee

Networks of Power

3.00pm David Linden – One Nation Networking: Baroness Elles and European Toryism

3.30pm Fiona Noble – Sulla and Aphrodisias: Greek and Roman Interaction in the 1st century BC.

4.00pm Jonathan Dugdale – Pagodas, Patronage and Power: The Role of State Sponsored Buddhism in Liao Dynasty China

4.30pm Coffee and Judging of the Keith Wrightson Poster Prize

5.15pm Presentation of the Keith Wrightson Poster Prize and the Norman McCord Prize for the best paper

5.30pm Key Note Address

Professor Richard Hingley – ‘Networking the study of frontiers’

6.30pm Wine reception and dinner at Barkolo.

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