Our goals:

This project aims to aggregate, parametrise, and synthesise primary datasets that inform the evolution of societies in the Ancient Mediterranean (ie. examine the links between social connectivity and complexity manifest in material and textual evidence). In the process, the team will develop a suite of digital approaches and tools, inspired by large-scale ecological projects like Ocean Health Index (Lowndes et al. 2017). The two mains outputs of this project will be

  • a comparative study of proxies for evolution of social complexity in the Ancient Mediterranean
  • digital tools, workflows and processes that scale and that historians and archaeologists can use in their own research.

In its digital aim, this project will deliver the next component of a digital ecosystem for ‘small-data’ domains like the humanities, namely research infrastructure for combining 'messy' and heterogeneous legacy data with 'clean' digitally born data, allowing for their streamlining and analysis in a collaborative environment.

In its empirical mission, this project will evaluate existing hypotheses of Ancient Mediterranean dynamics by aggregating and synthesising available digital datasets.


The Social Dynamics in the Ancient Mediterranean (SDAM) research group is supported by the the Aarhus University Research Foundation in 2019-2022.

  • In search of good practices in digital research

    In the world of digital scholarship, I count myself among rather late adopters. It was during my doctoral studies when I first tried to learn some programming stuff. It took me another three years until I was able to write and run my own first programming scripts in Python. However, since I reached that stage a couple of years ago, I quickly became a programming-enthusiast, fully immersed in the exciting world of web scraping, exploring countless datasets available via GitHub, and always experimenting with new Python packages and libraries. Here I differentiate between two idealized types of behavior: computational skills...

  • Short report: User Acceptance Testing

    User Acceptance Test or UAT is a type of testing performed by the Client to certify the system with respect to the requirements that was agreed upon. This report is to illustrate the application of UAT in developing, testing, and releasing a new or updated R package. User Acceptance Test for R package release In the DTAP process (development → test → acceptance → production), which is part of a software development process, the release of a new version of an R package is at the final step where the deployment needs to meet certain requirements. The “acceptance” portion in...

  • Upcoming workshop on Digital Approaches

    Hello, dear digital enthousiast! We are organising a one day workshop on Digital Approaches to research in Humanities and Social Sciences which you should not miss out! You will hear about the need of building the technical infrastructure, the frustrations of venturing the digital research in the more traditional and conservative fields such as history or epigraphy. We will discuss the joys of collaboration, data standards and dataset sharing. On the top of that, you will learn more about the exciting ongoing digital projects all around the globe! The full program with interactive links to our speakers and their projects...

  • Learning to collaborate

    Collaboration - digital infrastructure We are one month and three meetings into the project. Having had several discussions on the subject of digital infrastructure (understand as the research data storage, system for communicating across different google and outlook identities and the need to keep each other efficiently in the loop but also keep our workplace informed) at SDAM, our team often struggles with different opinions and different priorities when it comes to discussing and deciding on digital infrastructure. Decision making is difficult because we are facing multiple unknowns at once. We do not know local (Danish) resources well, we don’t...

  • Building the infrastructure

    Hello, dear reader! The project has officially started in the beginning of September 2019 and we are already fully immersed in building the digital infrastructure of the new project! After a careful consideration we have mutually agreed on our official name “The Social Dynamics in the Ancient Mediterranean” research group. We will get back to the name in some of the future posts but it appears you can’t really start doing anything, unless you have a name! Even Rome wasn’t built in a day… and so wasn’t the digital infrastructure of a research project. It does not only include to...