Stanford lecture simulating Roman economies: register now

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

You can register to attend for free via this link: https://stanford.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEtduuprj4jHdUWCtvyW0t8YJ6wcBz_DX0P

And here’s what I will talk about 🙂

Simulating Roman Economies

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

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

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

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.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑