British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Conference on "Tracing Networks: Communicating Knowledge in Antiquity and the Digital Age"
Tuesday & Wednesday, 23 & 24 April 2013, 9am to 5.30pm
Venue: The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH
In this conference, archaeologists and computer scientists will present new approaches to understanding knowledge networks in the ancient past and the present. The analysis of networks is now recognized as an important tool for understanding social, economic and political relations as a means of communication in both past and present-day communities. Networks of craftspeople and technological traditions across the highly interconnected world of the Mediterranean, c.1500-200 BCE, offer case studies through which patterns of knowledge exchange, innovation and technological change can be modelled. These networks of knowledge in antiquity can in turn be used as tools for rethinking communication systems in our digital age. We will explore the mechanisms of knowledge transfer through human relationships, in family and craft-groups, as well as communities and societies as a whole. Knowledge changes as it moves through networks: we will explain changes in traditions, transformations and innovations through network dynamics. The role of texts and objects in the transmission of knowledge will also be addressed, as means of communication beyond words, conveying ideas in a non-verbal way. Treating objects as integral components in dynamic networks offers insights into their lifecycle, including production and consumption, and allows us to explore deep-seated, embodied knowledge.