Archaeogaming Unconference 2

POSTPONED! Due to a bug in our unconference platform (which prevents some people from accessing the breakout rooms) we’ll be postponing the unconference until February. Our apologies!

We’ll do this on January 25th, 2017, between 9 am and 3 pm Eastern time. Watch this space for the proposed session topics. We will begin with some opening remarks.

First session will then run from 9.10 – 9.50;

second session 10.00 – 10.50;

third session 11.00 – 11.50.

In the afternoon we’ll reconvene at 1pm-1.50;

final session will run – 2.50.

The hashtag on twitter will be #archaeogaming2. As always with an unconference, you’re free to take the conversation elsewhere! There will be a code of conduct however if you join us in the actual ‘unhangout’ space.

Until Tuesday Jan 24th, click on ‘all our ideas’ to suggest or vote on potential session topics.

See this post to see what happened in #archaeogaming1; also, I think there are some other blog pieces out there which I’ll link to once I find them.

SAA 2015: Macroscopic approaches to archaeological histories: Insights into archaeological practice from digital methods

Ben Marwick and I are organizing a session for the SAA2015 (the 80th edition, this year in San Francisco) on “Macroscopic approaches to archaeological histories: Insights into archaeological practice from digital methods”. It’s a pretty big tent. Below is the session ID and the abstract. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, why don’t you get in touch?

Session ID 743.

The history of archaeology, like most disciplines, is often presented as a sequence of influential individuals and a discussion of their greatest hits in the literature.  Two problems with this traditional approach are that it sidelines the majority of participants in the archaeological literature who are excluded from these discussions, and it does not capture the conversations outside of the canonical literature.  Recently developed computationally intensive methods as well as creative uses of existing digital tools can address these problems by efficiently enabling quantitative analyses of large volumes of text and other digital objects, and enabling large scale analysis of non-traditional research products such as blogs, images and other media. This session explores these methods, their potentials, and their perils, as we employ so-called ‘big data’ approaches to our own discipline.


Like I said, if that sounds like something you’d be curious to know more about, ping me.

A Tale of Two Conferences: CAA UK and SAA 2011, as experienced on Twitter

Two conferences at the same time, opposite sides of the world (give or take), and you can’t get to either? There’s an app for that, and it’s called Twitter.

Nicolas Laracuente has been curating tweets relating to the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting in Sacramento via Storify – you can see his reporting on the conference here.

Inspired by Nicolas’ work, Jessica Ogden performed the same service at the Computer Applications in Archaeology UK edition conference, here.

Some of the things going on in the UK in terms of digital archaeology are very exciting indeed. What with my own interest and work in agent based modeling, I’m perhaps a bit biased. But I was also excited to see (‘read about’) some interesting work being done in terms of using game engines for archaeological visualization and outreach. I’m working on a project at the moment using the Web.Alive product (it’s built on Unreal) to render archaeological knowledge in an immersive environment. I’ve applied for funding to see if I can procedurally generate immersive worlds from archaeological repositories such as Stay tuned!

Simulating Patronage & Resource Extraction: An Agent Based Roman Economic Model

International conference

Land and natural resources in the Roman World

Brussels, 2011, Thu. 26th – Sat. 28th May

My contribution bears the provisional title – ‘Simulating Patronage & Resource Extraction: an agent-based Roman economic model’

“Starting with the idea that the Roman economy was socially and politically embedded in networks of patronage, this paper explores the ramifications of that understanding for natural resource extraction, using an agent-based model. Agent models employ hundreds of autonomous, individual software agents, interacting in a digital environment, according to the rules we specify. In this case, the rules are drawn from our understanding of how patronage worked in Roman society. The initial pattern of interactions is based on resource-extraction networks visible in the archaeological record. The environment is one in which the agents extract a scarce, yet renewable, resource (coppiced woodland). Under what circumstances is such a system sustainable? When – and how – can it break down? The patterning of results suggests a framework for understanding archaeological patterns of resource exploitation in the Roman world.”

Still Mulling Playing with History

I was at the Playing with History unconference last week – my first unconference. Twitter’d comments findable at #pastplay

What a neat way to spend a couple of days! I’m still mulling it over, my fever’d brain brimming with possibilities, avenues to explore…  For excellent summaries of what went on, see Rob MacDougall and Geoffrey Rockwell‘s separate evaluations of the day. My discussion pieces on The NetherNet and ‘Rolling your own‘ went over well (though I could’ve made things a whole lot clearer with the latter by reminding everyone that my experience there – my glorious failure, I calls it – was in terms of an online class; no matter!)

Rob finishes his summary with,

I have some qualms about the “digital humanities” label, currently having its Elvis moment. (Not the label, I guess, just the way it’s exploded in the last year or so. The inevitable anti-DH backlash is currently scheduled for Spring 2011; watch this space.) But I have nothing but love for the people who do this kind of work. Historians powered up with coding chops and tech fu; geeks leavened with humanist soul. What could be better?

This reminded me of this week’s Escapist, where Jason Della Roca writes,

There will come a day in the near future when there will be no more gamers. Not because they’ll have killed each other in some Grand Theft Auto-induced mass rampage, but rather because the term “gamer” will be irrelevant. Much like how we do not call people who view TV shows “watchers,” or those that enjoy music as “listeners,” playing games will become similarly as pervasive and commonplace as to render the “gamer” distinction archaic.

Some day, in the same way, maybe we’ll all be digital humanists…

The Game’s the Thing

I’m headed of to the Niagara peninsula next month, for Playing With Technology in History.

Here’s what I thought I’d talk about :

Shawn Graham, “Rolling your own: On Modding Commercial Games for Educational Goals”

Making modifications to existing commercial games is a strong and vibrant sub-culture in modern video gaming. Many publishers now provide tools to make this easier, as part of their marketing strategy. In this paper, I look at the nature and quality of the discussions that occur on the fan mod sites as a form of participatory history. I also reflect on some of my own forays into modding commercial games in my teaching of ancient history: what works, what hasn’t, and where I want to take things next.

I’m looking at a lot of the literature on online learning right now, about how to assess the educational value of formal discussion fora (usually in the context of learning management systems), but I’m thinking it’s equally applicable to the fansites. Hmmm. Kevin’s also asked me to take everyone through the process of developing a mod or scenario in Civilization, ideally having something built at the end of the day. Again I say, hmmm. It’ll be fun, but I need to think how best to do that in a useful way that says something interesting and intelligent about history. Here’s Rob’s thoughts about the same conference and the idea that the ‘funnest’ narrative is going to be the one that wins. Civilization as a game is certainly about crafting narratives through play.

I need to dust off my copy of Civ. With one thing or another (including a small fire in the power supply of my computer yesterday!) I haven’t had a solid block of time to play/craft in what feels like ages.



2009 NAACSOS Annual Conference

October 23-24, 2009


This year our NAACSOS Annual Conference will he held on 23-24 October in Tempe, Arizona. It will be hosted by The Center of Social Dynamics and Complexity at Arizona State University.

Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity

Tempe, AZ 85287-4804

Over the past decade simulating social processes has achieved some level of credibility — and yet progress in this area is stifled because of the lack of agreement on several critical core features. The objective of the 2009 conference is to allow scientists the opportunity to present work in this area that extends and solidifies the legitimacy of this methodology. Specifically, the conference organizers are asking that presenters use their models to address some of the following:

· Platform selection

· Validation – using theoretical constructs or extant data

· Agent construction

· Designing social simulations experiments

· Integrating humans into simulations

· Integrating GIS and time into models

· Data reduction and analysis of simulation outcomes

· Integrating social network methods into simulation models

· Integrating feedback into agent behavior

· Agent and system evolution using agent cooperation and competition

· Integrating Individual based models from biology and ecology with agent based models

· Interfacing social simulation and social science theory construction

All fields of social and organizational inquiry are encouraged, including disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary work. Integrative research in computational social and organizational sciences is particularly encouraged.

Submission of Abstracts

Electronic submissions of abstracts (300 words maximum) will be through EasyChair ( The abstract should articulate the objectives of the presenter, a brief but thorough description of the research, and the expected gain by those attending the talk. Specific details about submission will posted on the conference website: .

Important Dates
July 15, 2009: Deadline for submission of abstracts or proposed posters.
August 15, 2009: Acceptance/Rejection notification.
October 15, 2009: Final camera-ready abstracts due in electronic form. Accepted abstracts will be distributed to the conference participants.

Review process

All submissions will be peer reviewed by at least two reviewers. We will be accepting only those abstracts that indicate high quality research and are consistent with the objectives of the conference.

Conference Chair

William A. Griffin, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity

Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-4804

If you have questions please contact:

Lyn Mowafy, Coordinator
ASU Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity
IS&T Building 1, Room 412

Local Program Committee

Marco Janssen, Center for Institutional Diversity

Erik Johnston, Center for Policy Informatics

Conference: Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World, 1-3 Oct 2009

As I don’t expect I’ll be in Oxford any time soon :( , maybe somebody could take notes on William Harris’ presentation on the timber trade in the Roman world? Many thanks! I’ve been interested in that trade for a while – it is woefully underexplored – and I have some thoughts on it coming out in the Cambridge Companion to the City of Rome (due out soon, I believe!), but these are mostly cursory. I’m imagining someone like Harris probably has some very interesting things to say…

Conference: Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World

Oxford Conference on Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World
1–3 October 2009

The Oxford Roman Economy Project will be holding a three-day conference
on trade, commerce, and the state on 1–3 October, with sessions on
institutions and government stimuli, trade within the empire, and trade
across imperial boundaries. Attendance is free, but, in order for us to
plan numbers, please register with Gareth Hughes
( orinst.ox.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Government intervention or stimulation through fiscal instruments,
markets, subsidies for military, long-distance supply etc.

10:00–10:30 Coffee and registration

10:30–13:00 Morning session

• Philip Kay, Oxford —Financial institutions and structures in
the last century of the Roman Republic

• Alan Bowman, Oxford —Taxation and fiscal controls

• Boudewijn Sirks, Oxford— Law, commerce, and finance

13:00–14:00 Lunch

14:00–15:30 Early-afternoon session

• Elio Lo Cascio, Rome Sapienza— Market regulation and
transaction costs in the Roman Empire

• Jean-Jacques Aubert, Neuhâtel—respondent

• General discussion

15:30–16:00 Tea

16:00–18:00 Late-afternoon session

• Hannah Friedman, Oxford—Supplying the Faynan: local resources
vs imperial will

• Salvatore Martino, Lecce —Transport in the Roman
Mediterranean: an integrated system

• Colin Adams, Liverpool — respondent

18:00 Drinks

Friday 2 October 2009

Trade and manufacture within the empire.

9:00–10:30 Early-morning session

• William Harris, Columbia — Trade in timber under the Roman

• Ivan Radman, Arh. Mus. Zagreb —Prices and costs in the textile
industry in the light of the lead tags from Siscia

10:30–11:00 Coffee

11:00–12:30 Late-morning session

• Ben Russell, Oxford — Moving mountains: contextualising the
imperial stone trade

• Emanuele Papi, Siena — Import and export in Mauretania
Tingitana: the evidence from Tamusida

12:30–13:30 Lunch

13:30–15:00 Early-afternoon session

• Danièle Foy, Aix-Marseille —Lacirculation du verre en
Méditerranée antique : matières premières, produitsfinis,
vaisselle, vitres et contenants

• Michael Fulford, Reading — The pull of the north: Gallo-Roman
sigillata in Britain in the 2nd and 3rdcenturies

15:00–15:30 Tea

15:30–17:30 Late-afternoon session

• Michel Bonifay, Aix-Marseille — The diffusion of African
pottery under the Roman Empire: evidence and interpretation

• Paul Reynolds, Barcelona — Supply networks of the Roman East
and West: interaction, fragmentation, and the origins of Byzantine

• Andrew Wilson, Oxford—respondent

17:30–18:00 General discussion

18:00 Drinks

Saturday 3 October 2009

Eastern and Red Sea trade, India, Arabia and the deserts.

9:00–11:00 Early-morning session

• Dario Nappo, Oxford — Costand profit in Red Sea trade

• Jennifer Gates-Foster, Texas — Eastern Desert trade

• Steven Sidebotham, Delaware —respondent

11:00–11:30 Coffee

11:30–13:30 Late-morning session

• David Peacock, Southampton — The Roman Red Sea ports and the
Chinese connection

• Barbara Davidde, ISCR Rome — The port of Qana, a junction
point between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea: the underwater

• Roberta Tomber, British Museum—respondent

13:30–14:30 Lunch

14:30–16:00 Early-afternoon session

• David Graf, Miami — The Silk Road between Syria and China

• Raffaela Pierobon Benoit, Naples Frederico II — From Palmyra
to Northern Mesopotamia: the archaeological evidence

16:00–16:30 Tea

16:30–18:00 Late-afternoon session

• David Mattingly, Leicester — Rome and the Garamantes:
practicalities and realities of Saharan trade

• General discussion

18:00 Drinks