8.5. Guest Lecture with Dries Daems (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam): Unravelling the Threads of Connectivity

A guest lecture by Dries Daems on Wednesday 8.5.2024 15–17, Topelia (Unioninkatu 38) D 204.

Unravelling the Threads of Connectivity: Integrating computational modeling and network analysis to trace material networks in the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean

Wednesday 8.5.2024 15–17, Topelia (Unioninkatu 38) D 204

The study of material interaction networks in the ancient Mediterranean is a dynamic and multidisciplinary field engaging with a wide range of topics, such as identifying trade networks and economic exchange facilitating the spread of goods, ideas, and technologies; the production and distribution of material culture; urban networks; road and maritime networks; and socio-cultural exchanges and the spread of ideas, beliefs, and cultural practices.

Yet, our insights are hampered by the nature of the archaeological record, which offers only a limited reflection of the actual socio-economic, cultural, and political dynamics of past connectivity and interaction. Yet, they remain our most important material source of information to help us untangle the complex networks of intentions, relationships, interests, and opportunities underlying the production and distribution of material culture in the Mediterranean.

In this talk, I will present a computational methodology integrating computational modeling with statistical approaches such as mutual information analysis and network science. Using available datasets such as the ICRATES dataset of Hellenistic and Roman tableware and the ORBIS dataset of maritime and terrestrial trade routes in the Mediterranean, I aim to outline a useful way forward towards uncovering some of the underlying drivers of interaction and exchange in the transformative period of the Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Imperial period (150 BCE – 150 CE) in the eastern

Dries Daems is an archaeologist specializing in the Iron Age to Hellenistic Mediterranean. His research interests include social complexity, urbanism, connectivity and information exchange, artisanal production, and human-environment interactions through computational modeling and pottery studies. He is currently Assistant Professor at VU Amsterdam and Visiting Professor at Helsinki University. He has held positions at KU Leuven, Koç University, and Middle East Technical University.

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