CFP Student Conference Complexity Science

artworkThink your spaghetti monster networks are complex? Think again! The student conference on complexity science promises to reveal complexity in the most diverse things: fish, ant hills, traffic, and of course networks of every conceivable type. The University of Southampton’s Institute for Complex Systems Simulation is organising this year’s student conference in complexity science held in Brighton, bringing together a multi-disciplinary bunch of UK-based students crossing the physical and social sciences, as well as the Humanities (Archaeology will definitely be represented). Keynotes include Mark Newman (reason enough for networky people to attend), Nigel Gilbert (editor of JASSS), and Eörs Szathmáry (theoretical evolutionary biology). The Call for papers is out now and will be open until 14 April.

Check out the conference website for more info.

The Student Conference on Complexity Science (SCCS) is the largest UK conference for early-career researchers working under the interdisciplinary framework of Complex Systems, with a particular focus on computational modelling, simulation and network analysis. Since 2010, this conference series has brought together PhD students and early career researchers from both the UK and overseas, whose interests span areas as diverse as quantum physics, ecological food webs or the economics of happiness. This interdisciplinary nature of the conference is reflected by the diversity of keynote speakers as well as practical, hands-on workshops.

The SCCS is the perfect forum in which to present your work, discuss your ideas and gain useful skills. If your work comes under the umbrella of complexity science, then we want to hear from you! Thanks to the generosity of the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation we will be able to offer a number of student travel bursaries. The deadline for the call for abstracts is 14th April 2014.

Student Conference Complexity Science

SCCSSouthampton has a great centre for Complexity Science, and this summer they will be hosting the ‘Student Conference on Complexity Science‘! This is the fourth edition of the conference (I think) but this is the very first time with an open call for papers and sessions! The conference is organised in turn by one of the UK Complexity Science Doctoral Training Centres, and it features an extremely eclectic mix of student papers and disciplines. Including archaeology of course. In fact, archaeologist Iza Romanowska is one of the co-ordinators of the event. The SCCS is all over the social-media channels, for more info you can check out their website, Facebook page, follow them on Twitter or Youtube channel. Keynotes include Nigel Gilbert (sociologist, editor of Journal of Social Systems Simulation) and Eörs Szathmáry (evolutionary biologist).

Dates for your calendar:
Call for Sessions: 12 p.m. (UTC) 27th Jan 2014
Call for Papers opens: 17th Feb 2014
Call for Papers: 12 p.m. (UTC) 26th May 2014
Papers announced: 16th Jun 2014

SCCS 2014: 19th-22nd Aug 2014

Videos Hestia2 seminar online

Hestia_logo_whtLast month we organised a seminar on linked data and spatial networks in Southampton and as you know I really enjoyed it. Videos and slides of presentations of the seminar are now available on The Connected Past website. There are hours of footage and books-worth of slides on there for you to enjoy! This was only the first in a series of Hestia2 events. More info on Hestia2, future seminars and online resources can be found on our new website. Looking forward to seeing you at one of our future seminars!

The Southampton Hestia2 seminar aimed to explore the potential of innovative spatial networks and linked data techniques for research and work in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors. It attracted an audience with diverse backgrounds and discussions really benefited from this. The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded initiative ‘Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories’ (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.

Mathematics of Networks meeting

graphSome might be interested to attend the 12th mathematics of networks meeting, held on 16 September 2013 at the University of Southampton (conveniently the day before The Connected Past workshop which we will announce next week 🙂 All previous meetings have focused on applied examples of network science, so it should be a multi-disciplinary informal seminar with plenty of social science network studies and maybe even some from Humanities (send in your abstracts humanists!).

More info on the Mathematics of Networks website and below.

The Twelfth Mathematics of Networks meeting will be held at the University of Southampton on 16th September 2013. The conference brings together people from many research backgrounds who have a common interest in using mathematical tools for problems in the study of networks. The theme of this meeting is the mathematics of Social Networks. While any presentations related to mathematics and networking will be considered, those on Social Networks will be given preference. Thanks to Ben Parker for organising this Mathematics of Networks meeting.

This meeting is sponsored and hosted by the Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute and the Southampton Initiative in Mathematical Modelling.

Hestia2 seminar: registration open

hestiaThe Hestia project is pleased to announce “HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources”, a one-day seminar on spatial network analysis and linked data in Classical studies, archaeology and cultural heritage.

The seminar will be held at The University of Southampton on 18 July. Registration for this event is free, but we do recommend registering as early as possible since the number of available places is limited. More information, including abstracts and registration, can be found on The Connected Past website.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Southampton!

Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans

HESTIA2: Exploring spatial networks through ancient sources

University of Southampton 18th July 2013
Organisers: Elton Barker, Stefan Bouzarovski, Leif Isaksen and Tom Brughmans
In collaboration with The Connected Past

A free one-day seminar on spatial network analysis in archaeology, history, classics, teaching and commercial archaeology.

Spatial relationships appear throughout our sources about the past: from the ancient roads that connect cities, or ancient authors mentioning political alliances between places, to the stratigraphic contexts archaeologists deal with in their fieldwork. However, as datasets about the past become increasingly large, spatial relationships become ever more difficult to disentangle. Network visualization and analysis allow us to address such spatial relationships explicitly and directly. This seminar aims to explore the potential of these innovative techniques for research in the higher education, public and cultural heritage sectors.

The seminar is part of Hestia2, a public engagement project aimed at introducing a series of conceptual and practical innovations to the spatial reading and visualisation of texts. Following on from the AHRC-funded initiative ‘Network, Relation, Flow: Imaginations of Space in Herodotus’s Histories’ (Hestia), Hestia2 represents a deliberate shift from experimenting with geospatial analysis of a single text to making Hestia’s outcomes available to new audiences and widely applicable to other texts through a seminar series, online platform, blog and learning materials with the purpose of fostering knowledge exchange between researchers and non-academics, and generating public interest and engagement in this field.


Registration for this event is now open. Please follow the instructions on the HESTIA2 Eventbrite page to obtain your ticket (no payment card needed).

The HESTIA2 seminar is free to attend but registration is required. Since places are limited we suggest you register as soon as possible.


11:00 Registration and coffee

11:30 HESTIA-team

  • Welcome and introduction to HESTIA and HESTIA2

12:00 Maximilian Schich (The University of Texas at Dallas)

12:25 Alex Godden (Hampshire County Council)

12:50 John Goodwin (Ordnance Survey)

13:15 Discussion

13:35 Tea and coffee break

13:55 Terhi Nurmikko (University of Southampton)

14:20 Kate Byrne (University of Edinburgh)

14:45 Giorgio Uboldi (Politecnico di Milano)

15:10 Discussion

15:35 Tea and coffee break

16:00 Keith May (English Heritage)

16:25 Paul Cripps (University of South Wales)

Archaeology in the scanner

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 14.06.17Southampton made the news last week with some of our scanning work. It turns out we have a massive room-sized scanner (misleadingly called a MICRO-CT scanner) at our imaging centre. It is capable of scanning stuff with a resolution of less than 0.1mm and given its size it can do this for quite big objects. Our Archaeological Computing Research Group could not wait to get their hands on this new toy, and collaborated with the British Museum to scan a large cauldron excavated at Chiseldon. The cauldron itself is actually not excavated since it is too fragile. Instead, the archaeologists lifted the big find encased in its soil matrix to preserve it until technologies come along that can tell us more about this fragile find. It seems that this time has now come! With this scanner the archaeologists were able to explore the cauldron by looking through the earth layers without excavating it.

Have a look at the video and read the article on the BBC website.

Portus and ACRG work on BBC 1

Visualisation of Harbour produced by BBC for Rome’s Lost Empire in collaboration with Portus Project
Visualisation of Harbour produced by BBC for Rome’s Lost Empire in collaboration with Portus Project
On Sunday a show called Rome’s Lost Empire featured loads of great work by Southampton archaeologists. Since 2007 a team led by Prof. Simon Keay and Dr. Graeme Earl has been excavating at Portus, the port of the city of ancient Rome. The BBC 1 show reveals some of their latest findings, as well as the 3D modelling work of our Archaeological Computing Research Group team.

You can watch the show on BBC iPlayer.

Read more about the computer models that were created for this show on the Portus blog. There you can also read a message by Prof. Simon Keay about the show.

CT and animation of coin hoard

My colleagues Grant Cox and James Miles have been doing some amazing computerised magic with a coin hoard, and I thought it was time I wrote about their work. Both of them work with me at the Archaeological Computing Research Group at the University of Southampton. The Selby coin hoard consists of a bunch of coins still in their original container. The thing was submitted to a CT scan produced and processed by Richard Boardman and Mark Mavrogordato (mu-Vis CT centre). The results of this were then arranged into a sequence of animation by James Miles while Grant Cox made an accompanying animation in 3DS Max of coins raining down on the container. The video is now on show in the British Museum as part of the permanent Citi money exhibition. Worth a visit!

SMiLE: But who is going to read 12,000 tweets?!

A second blogpost about the SMiLE project I am involved in appeared recently on the London School of Economics website. I wrote about the project’s aims before as Nicole Beale and Lisa Harris explained it on the LSE website earlier. This second blog post introduces a first glimpse at the results including a short discussion of Twitter network visualization and analysis. Exciting!

In fact, this second blog post reveals some of the really cool work the project members have been up to. MSc students here in Southampton have been busy using the collected social media data in creative ways for their projects. The project is also working with the Oxford e-research centre on a guide for best practice for using social media at conferences. But that’s not all! We are also working on depositing the entire social media archive with the Archaeology Data Service in York, and publishing some of the results in Internet Archaeology.

The rest of the blog post goes on to discuss some of the issues surrounding all this. How does one go about depositing an electronic social media archive? Lisa and Nicole looked into some of the comments of the conference delegates, provided in feedback forms, to get a more qualified picture of the issue and how to proceed. The blog also discusses the issue of developing an interface through which this dataset can be explored. Mark Borkum and I are looking at using network analysis tools for this. More on the network side of things will be revealed in later posts.

Have a look at the original article, definitely worth a read!

An overview of The Connected Past

Over the weekend of 24-25 March 2012 a group of 150 archaeologists, historians, mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists and others from 19 different countries met at The University of Southampton. Their objective: to discuss the critical application of network and complexity perspectives to archaeology and history. The result: a stimulating and friendly gathering of academics from very diverse backgrounds who collectively created the exciting discussion platform the organisers believe is crucial to the development of future critical applications in our disciplines.

The last few weeks were hectic for Anna Collar, Fiona Coward and myself. There were many last-minute decisions to be made and problems to be solved. But in the end everything and everyone arrived on time to kick-start the symposium. Most delegates arrived from all over Europe and North America, and some joined us from as far as Australia and Japan. We were happy to welcome delegates from over 60 different universities. The most important work during the symposium took place behind the scenes by Lucie Bolton and her great team of volunteers who were there to welcome all delegates at 8am and make sure they were fuelled with lunch, coffee and cakes throughout the day. The Connected Past would not have been possible without them.

Jon Adams, head of the Department of Archaeology here in Southampton, opened the symposium and introduced our first keynote speaker Alex Bentley. Alex discussed in what cases certain types of network approaches are useful when exploring complex social systems. His paper provided a great start of the conference by setting out a framework for complex systems simulation and identifying the role networks could play within this. A first session of the symposium followed with a very diverse group of papers discussing a range of theoretical and methodological issues. Tom Brughmans explored the evolution of formal archaeological network analysis through a citation network analysis. Johannes Preiser-Kapeller argued for the incorporation of Luhmann’s systems theory in historical network approaches. Andy Bevan explored the issues involved in tracing ancient networks in geographical space. After a coffee break Astrid Van Oyen presented us with the Actor-Network-Theory perspective and how this might be usefully applied in an archaeological context. Søren Sindbæk made some very critical remarks concerning a direct mapping of exchange networks from distributions of archaeological data. Finally, Marten Düring presented a particularly fascinating approach of support networks for persecuted Jews in World War II and compared the usefulness of different centrality measures on it.

After lunch we reconvened for a session called ‘Big data and archaeology’, which included presentations of big datasets that showed particular potential to explore using networks on the one hand and archaeological applications of network analysis on the other. The session was opened by Barbara Mills who presented the work of her team on exploring distribution networks of a large archaeological dataset from the US southwest. Caroline Waerzeggers presented a dataset of tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets which hold a large variety of past relationships that can be usefully explore with network techniques. Mark Depauw and Bart Van Beek similarly presented an impressive dataset which includes references to almost half a million people living in Graeco-Roman Egypt. After tea Eivind Heldaas Seland introduced us to a highly qualified view of networks of travel and religion in late antiquity. Alessandro Quercia and Lin Foxhall presented their networks of loom weights, which is part of the wider Tracing Networks project. Angus Mol took us to the Caribbean with his network approach of a rather small but fascinating lithic assemblage. Finally, Craig Alexander discussed his study of visibility networks in Iron Age Valcamonica.

At the end of the day we had the pleasure of listening to Carl Knappett live from Toronto via a Skype call. We decided to go for this low-tech option because sadly we could not guarantee tech-support during the weekend and wanted to avoid complications. I am sure this is the first time Carl had a Skype meeting with 150 people at the same time. Carl Knappett suggested that in order for network approaches to be usefully applied in archaeology we need be aware of the diversity of available approaches and preferably work in collaboration with network specialists. In some cases, however, networks are not the best perspective to approach our archaeological questions. In his recently published ‘An archaeology of interaction’ Carl points to a wide range of theories and methods that may or may not work within the same framework, but knowledge of this diversity might lead to their more critical and useful applications. This second keynote presentation was followed by a wine reception and a visit to our local pub The Crown.

After a long night out and a nights-sleep further shortened by daylight savings time we were surprised to see almost all delegates appear at 9am to listen to our third keynote Irad Malkin. Irad recently published ‘A small Greek world’ in which he sees the emergence of Greek identity through network goggles by using a vocabulary adopted from complex network analysis to describe the processes he identified in ancient sources. Irad’s keynote address stressed how a networks approach allows us to revisit old questions and how it allows for spatial structure to be compared with other types of relationships. The subsequent session titled ‘Dynamic networks and modelling’ began with a great presentation by Ray Rivers stressing that archaeologists need to be aware of the implications of decisions made when modelling the past and selecting ‘Goldilocks’ networks that seem just right. Next, Anne Kandler presented her network model for exploring the transmission of ideas, which shows how the structure of complex networks influences cultural change. Caitlin Buck presented the work by her team on a new (and very robust looking) model for the spread of agriculture in Britain and Europe at large. After the break Tim Evans presented a much needed paper comparing different network models and their potential uses. The discussions after this paper revealed that such a comparison along with archaeological case studies would be a very welcome resource to archaeologists interested in networks. Juan Barceló presented a Bayesian network approach to explore causal factors determining the emergence and the effects of restricted cooperation among hunter-gatherer societies. Marco Büchler presented his fascinating work on text re-use graphs he and his team in of the eTraces project in the Leipzig centre for eHumanities are working on.

After lunch we had the pleasure of listening to papers in our last session ‘Personal, political and migration networks’. Wilko Schroeter presented on marriage networks of Europe’s ruling families from 1600-1900. Ekaterini Mitsiou moved our attention to the Eastern Mediterranean in her discussion of aristocratic networks in the 13th century. Evi Gorogianni made us look at dowry in a new way by stressing the relationships they establish and express. After tea Elena Isayev made us explore the early 3rd century BC networks of Italy outside the Italian peninsula. Claire Lemercier provided us with some critical comments on the historical use of formal network techniques and illustrated this through a case study on migration in northern France. Amara Thornton traced networks of individuals linked to the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem. Finally, Katherine Larson showed us a particularly creative way of seeing networks in the archaeological record by linking sculptors’ signatures on ancient statues.

In our eyes The Connected Past was a great success. We enjoyed the experience of organising the event and were delighted with the overwhelming response to our call for papers and registration. We received some great reviews from Tim Evans and Matteo Romanello. In the end, however, it was the delegates themselves who seized the opportunity to engage in multi-disciplinary discussions and to consider future collaborations in innovative research directions.

The Connected Past does not end here! In some time we will make some of the recorded talks available online, we will publish the proceedings and we have plans for future meetings. All to be revealed in time. For now all we want to say is: thank you for a fascinating weekend and keep up the multi-disciplinary discussions!

Personal Histories of CAA

This year marks the 40th anniversary of CAA. We will celebrate this event with the ‘Personal Histories of CAA’ session to be held at the CAA conference venue on Wednesday 28 March, from 2pm to 4pm. The founders, former chairs and key members of CAA throughout the last 40 decades will share their personal experiences with us. We are honoured that for this event we are able to welcome to Southampton Sue Laflin, Phil Barker, Clive Orton, John Wilcock, Nick Ryan, Paul Reilly and Hans Kamermans, as well as listen to an interview with Irwin Scollar. The session will be moderated by the current chair of CAA, Gary Lock.

Find out more about this great event on the CAA2012 website. And do also visit the Personal Histories project website.

Over the last forty years CAA has grown from an annual event at the University of Birmingham to a national and now worldwide conference attracting over 300 participants every year. It also lived through major changes in the role computing played in academia and people’s personal lives, through the availability of computers at academic institutions, the introduction of GIS, the affordability of computers for private use, the rise of user friendly operating systems, and last but not least the emergence and extreme impact of the world wide web. These events have strongly influenced the way archaeologists have used computing and quantitative techniques, and no organisation is a better reflection of this than CAA. The ‘Personal histories of CAA’ session aims to make the current generation of archaeologists aware of such dramatic shifts, and to provide personal perspectives for charting fascinating future research avenues.

Connected Past registration closes 12 March

In just a few weeks ‘The Connected Past: people, networks and complexity in archaeology and history’ will take place at the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Humanities (24-25 March 2012). There are still a few places available, registration will remain open until Monday 12 March. The full schedule is now available online and included below this email. We are looking forward to contributed papers and posters by scholars from a wide range of disciplines, as well as to our keynote speakers Carl Knappett, Irad Malkin and Alex Bentley.

More information on the event can be found online.

New Human Origins journal launched

A new open-contents journal edited by members of the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins here at Southampton was just launched. You can download all the papers of the first issue on the new website. This first issue includes papers from the Lucy to Language seminar series. It includes some fascinating papers by my colleagues here. The journal also welcomes new submissions, guidelines can be found on the website.

Human Origins is a British-based peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal dedicated to human origins research and Palaeolithic archaeology. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we offer a broad and interdisciplinary emphasis on Palaeolithic archaeology as well as primatology, osteology, evolutionary psychology, ethnography, palaeo-climatology, geology, anthropology and genetics (phylogeography).

Issue 1 has now been published and is a special volumecontaining papers from the British Academy Lucy to Language: Archaeology of the Social Brain Seminar Series on Palaeolithic Visual Display.

Registration open for CAA2012

You can now register for the Computer Applications and Quantitative methods in Archaeology conference 2012, in Southampton. So register, register, register! And don’t forget to include your social media profiles so we can make this a real CAA 2.0!

The CAA2012 registration system is now open:

The early bird registration rates will end on 1 February. We very much look forward to seeing you in Southampton in March.

As part of the registration process we would very much like you to provide us with your social media profiles e.g. twitter, linkedin, academia etc. If you agree we will place these on the CAA2012 website in order to create an online community in advance of the conference and to help interactions during and after it. Please also follow @caasoton if you are a twitter user for regular updates.

Registration open for The Connected Past!

Registration for ‘The Connected Past: People, Networks and Complexity in Archaeology and History’ is now open. Everyone is welcome to attend this two-day multi-disciplinary symposium. Registration and payment details are available online. Please note that places to the event are limited, we suggest registering well before the deadline of 29 February to make sure your seat is reserved. Registration for concessions is £30, standard rate is £45.

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

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

Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar and Fiona Coward

Confirmed presentations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ray Rivers (Imperial College London)
“‪Can we always get what we want?”

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

Søren Sindbæk (University of York)
“Contextual network synthesis: Reading communication in archaeology”

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

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

Confirmed posters:

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron Greener

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

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

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

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

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

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

CAA2012 timetable out

We received an incredible number of abstracts for this year’s CAA conference. I think the Southampton crew did a great job in processing all these and making sure we have an exciting schedule. The full session timetable is now available on the CAA website. The amazing spatial networks session John Pouncett and I are chairing will be the afternoon of Wednesday 28 March. Here is the general outline of all days:

Monday 26th March – workshops 10am-3pm; plenary session 3pm-6pm; conference opening reception in Southampton Old Town

Tuesday 27th March – sessions 9:00am-6:30pm. National chapter meetings 6:30-7:30pm. Drinks receptions.

Wednesday 28th March – sessions 9:00am-6:15pm. CAA Committee meeting at lunchtime. CAA AGM 6:15-7:15pm. Followed by the Conference Dinner at Highfield Campus 7:15pm until 1:30am.

Thursday 29th March – sessions 9:00am-6:15pm.

Friday 30th March – conference trips.

CAA submission deadline extended

We have extended the CAA2012 submission deadline to 7 December! This means you have 7 more days to submit abstracts to mine and John’s session ‘Geography and-or-not topology’ 🙂

It has been a crazy day at CAA2012 HQ. We are now approaching 300 submissions for the conference, with an amazing range of topics. So, thank you VERY much for your submissions.

We have also received a lot of requests for slightly more time, and so we have decided to extend the deadline until 11:59pm UK time on Wednesday 7th December. Submission is via the Open Conference System.

We will still endeavour to release the programme before Christmas so to help the referees please get your submissions in as early as possible.

We will also be announcing the registration fees and process next week.

The website also carries details of the Student Bursary application process which is now open. Also remember the Recycle Award.

Finally you can now follow us on twitter via #caasoton

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.


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.

Student bursaries for connected past!

We are delighted that the Classical Association has provided us with financial support to give out a number of student bursaries for attending the “connected past” conference! Find more details on the Connected Past website.

Thanks to the generous support of the Classical Association we are delighted to be able to offer a limited number of small bursaries to help students cover travel or accommodation expenses. The bursaries can not be used to cover the conference registration fee.

We encourage students planning on attending or presenting at the conference to apply for these bursaries. Please send a short email explaining why you should be considered for one of the bursaries and detailing expected travel and accommodation costs to before the registration deadline of 29 February 2012.

Call for papers: the connected past

Finally after months of planning Anna, Fiona and I can reveal to you the most amazing conference of 2012 🙂

We would like to announce ‘The connected past: people, networks and complexity in archaeology and history’, a two-day symposium at the University of Southampton 24-25 March 2012 (the two days before CAA2012 in Southampton). Confirmed keynote speakers include Professor Carl Knappett and Professor Alex Bentley.

The call for papers is now open and we would like to invite you to send in abstracts of up to 250 words by November 20th 2011. Feel free to circulate the call for papers and the attached poster, which you can download here. More information on the event is available on the website.

Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar and Fiona Coward


The Connected Past: people, networks and complexity in archaeology and history

University of Southampton 24-25 March 2012
Organisers: Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward

Confirmed keynote speakers: Professor Carl Knappett and Professor Alex Bentley

Over the past decade ‘network’ has become a buzz-word in many disciplines across the humanities and sciences. Researchers in archaeology and history in particular are increasingly exploring network-based theory and methodologies drawn from complex network models as a means of understanding dynamic social relationships in the past, as well as technical relationships in their data. This conference aims to provide a platform for pioneering, multidisciplinary, collaborative work by researchers working to develop network approaches and their application to the past.

The conference will be held over two days immediately preceding the CAA conference (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology), also hosted by the University of Southampton (, allowing participants to easily attend both.

The conference aims to:
· provide a forum for the presentation of multidisciplinary network-based research
· discuss the practicalities and implications of applying network perspectives and methodologies to archaeological and historical data in particular
· establish a group of researchers interested in the potential of network approaches for archaeology and history
· foster cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaborative work towards integrated analytical frameworks for understanding complex networks
· stimulate debate about the application of network theory and analysis within archaeology and history in particular, but also more widely, highlight the relevance of this work for the continued development of network theory in other disciplines

We welcome contributions addressing any of (but not restricted to) the following themes:
· The diffusion of innovations, people and objects in the past
· Social network analysis in archaeology and history
· The dynamics between physical and relational space
· Evolving and multiplex networks
· Quantitative network techniques and the use of computers to aid analysis
· Emergent properties in complex networks
· Agency, structuration and complexity in network approaches
· Agent-based modelling and complex networks
· Future directions for network approaches in archaeology and history

Please email proposed titles and abstracts (max. 250 words) to: by November 20th 2011.
Visit the conference website for more information:

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