Network Evolutions

Organised by Professor Rubina Raja and Professor MSO Søren M. Sindbæk.

Date 18-20 January 2017
Time 13:30-13:30
Venue AU Campus Moesgaard




Urbanism is a catalyst of ways of life marked by social complexity and networks of wider, ultimately global interdependence. Networks are increasingly seen as a defining dynamic of this process. The conference network Evolutions: Conceptual Agendas in Urban Archaeology aims to explore how scientific techniques can be integrated with contextual archaeological and historical approaches to form a “High Definition” view of urban dynamics in the past.

A network approach to urban evolutions asks how modes of connectivity might convey agency by accommodating, catalysing or transferring changes and continuities. Network analysis has proven potential in archaeological and historical research, but refined data is often lacking. Emerging applications of isotopic, biomolecular and geoarchaeological techniques expand the potential for archaeology to refine the precision of dates, contexts and provenance ascribed to excavated materials. We invite contributions which explore evolving urban networks based on archaeological, historical or scientific data, and which address the following questions:

  • How can network theory and concepts inform research on urban societies in the past?
  • How are archaeological and historical questions productively framed as network problems?
  • How is network data identified and processed in urban archaeology and history?
  • How are incomplete data sets and uncertainties managed in different research traditions?
  • How can formal analysis methods, together with qualitative, contextual approaches, contribute to elucidate and interpret network structure, dynamics and change in the archaeology and history of urban societies?

Urban networks is the second of three conceptual conferences aimed to inspire and challenge the theoretical and methodological development of concepts and models which inform contemporary archaeological approaches to the urban past, and thus the work of UrbNet. Together with the first conference (Biographies of Place, held in January 2016) and the third one (High-definition narratives, planned for 2018), the conference will form the basis of a three-volume thematic publication, aiming to develop a perspective of urbanisation as a pattern of evolving social and spatial networks.

We are aiming to bring together approaches that might point the way as to how a better knowledge of the material provenance of objects can inform an understanding of urban practices and interactions, and how contextual interpretations of network data may clarify the structure, dynamics and agency of urban connectivity. Inspired by complex systems theory, we propose to assess network models according to qualitative and quantitative data. From the perspective of past people, we ask: what were the relational and interaction-based opportunities, constraints and abilities, which caused urban places and communities to emerge, endure or cease as recognisably similar patterns from a diversity of practices and situations?

The conference shall explore how new forms of data can be harnessed to test, challenge and revise narratives of particular urban sites and fundamental assumptions about trajectories, dynamics and causal conditions of urbanisation in the pre-modern past. Furthermore, the conference will also explore concepts of urbanism and themes relating to urbanism in a historiographical perspective which will inform us about the ways in which scholarship has been shaped by directions in research.

Confirmed speakers

  • Arzanceva, Irina (University of Moscow)
  • Brughmans, Tom (University of Konstanz)
  • Fletcher, Roland (University of Sydney)
  • Gundersen, Olav E. (Aarhus University)
  • Haase, Kirstine (Aarhus University, Odense City Museums)
  • Hammers, Neeke (Aarhus University)
  • Härke, Heinrich (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
  • Manguin, Pierre-Yves (Ecole francaise d'Extrême-Orient)
  • Möller, Heike (Aarhus University)
  • Murphy, Elizabeth (New York University)
  • Preiser-Kapeller, Johannes (Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Abteilung Byzanzforschung)
  • Rieger, Katharina (Universität Erfurt)
  • Seland, Eivind Heldaas (University of Bergen)
  • Søvsø, Morten (Museum of Southwest Jutland)
  • Taylor, Peter (Loughborough University)
  • Wynne-Jones, Stephanie (University of York/Uppsala University)

Practical information for speakers


Please make your own travel arrangements to/from Aarhus. After your visit, your travel expenses will be reimbursed (only economy class). Please fill out this travel reimbursement form and return it (preferably in Excel-format) to Christina Levisen ( along with scanned copies of your receipts and boarding passes (no need to send the originals).­

NOTE: Once you have booked your trip, please send Christina Levisen your itinerary, so that the hotel booking can be finalised.


We have organised accommodation at:

Hotel Comwell
Værkmestergade 2
8000 Aarhus C

Transport to conference venue

From the city centre, you can take Bus 18 (see timetable), which leaves from Park Allé (see map) three times an hour (direction: Moesgård). Enter the bus through the back or the middle door and purchase your ticket at the ticket machine. Get off at the bus stop "Moesgård Museum" (end station) - the ride takes approximately 25 min. From there, it is only a 300 m walk (see map).

Map of Moesgård campus 

Dinner and diet

Speakers’ dinners have been organised for 18-19 January - at UrbNet and in town, respectively, and of course, we will cater for you during the workshop. If you have any dietary restrictions (e.g. allergies), please let Christina Levisen ( know as soon as possible.


If you wish to use powerpoint, please forward your slides by Tuesday 17 January 2017.