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

Advance notice of a two-day collaborative, multi-disciplinary symposium being held at the University of Southampton 24-25 March 2012.

Over the past decade ‘network’ has become a buzz-word in many disciplines, including archaeology and history. Scholars in both disciplines have begun to explore the idea of complex networks in their efforts to understand social relationships in the past as well as technical relationships in their data, using methodologies drawn from complex network models devised by sociologists and physicists such as Duncan Watts and Albert-László Barabási. These recent developments in network analysis are based on a long tradition of work in many disciplines, including sociology, mathematics and physics, but with the increasing ubiquity of powerful computing technology across the academic spectrum, ‘network’ perspectives and methodologies are now becoming understood and used more broadly throughout the sciences and humanities.

This conference will provide a platform for pioneering, multidisciplinary collaborative work in the field of network science. It aims to bring together the disparate international community of scholars working to develop network-based approaches and their application to the past and to provide a forum for the discussion of the most recent applications of the techniques, in order to ask what has been successful or unsuccessful, to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations and cooperation, and to stimulate debate about the application of network science within the disciplines of archaeology and history in particular, but also more broadly across the entire field.

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