The Connected Past: PastNet Conference

pastnet logo of a woman's head inside a light circle with criss-cross webbing over it.

A two-day international cross-disciplinary conference providing a friendly and informal platform for debating the use of network research in the study of the past.

Keynote speakers: Dr. Nathalie Riche (Microsoft Research) and Dr. Matthew Peeples (Arizona State University)

Open call for registration to be announced. See also the call for papers for this event. 

How do social networks evolve over very long time-scales? How did geography constrain or enhance the development of past social networks? These are fundamental questions in both the study of the human past and network research, yet our ability to answer them is severely hampered by the limited development of spatiotemporal network methods. PastNet is an inter-disciplinary network that aims to stimulate the development and application of such methods through networking meetings, a conference and a workshop.

Formal network methods are increasingly commonly applied in a wide range of disciplines to study phenomena as diverse as the connectivity of neurons in the human brain, terrorist networks, a billion interlinked Facebook profiles, and power grids. Despite this diversity and the decades-long tradition of using network methods in the social sciences, physics and computer science, the development of techniques for the study of spatial networks and long-term network change has so far been largely neglected. Network research is also becoming more common in disciplines concerned with the study of past human behaviour: archaeology, classics and history. These disciplines have a strong tradition in exploring long-term human behavioural change and spatial phenomena, despite being forced to use fragmentary textual and material sources as indirect evidence of such phenomena.

By bringing together network researchers from a diverse range of fields such as archaeology, computer science, history and physics, The Connected Past 2018 conference in Oxford aims to foster cross-disciplinary exchange to push network research further. The historical disciplines will contribute new spatiotemporal approaches and datasets to network research, whereas the traditional network research disciplines will further stimulate the critical application of network approaches to the study of the human past.

This event is part of PastNet Workshop, Michaelmas 2018. It is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities and is organised by the TORCH research network PastNet.


PastNet Network

Contact name: Tom Brughmans

Contact email:

Audience: Open to all