Monday, 1 December 2014

New Center for Urban Network Evolutions

A center of excellence with the title Center for Urban Network Evolutions has just been awarded by the Danish National Research Foundation to Professor Rubina Raja, Classical Archaeology, Aarhus University, Denmark.
The Danish National Research Foundation has awarded 12 new centers, of these only one was given to the humanities. For the first time a budget exceeding those of the natural sciences has been awarded to a humanities center. Professor Raja is furthermore the youngest recipient of a center in the current round. The center will be based at Aarhus University and is expected to begin early in 2015 with a budget of 100 million DKK for the first six-year phase of the center. In total the center is expected to run for ten years.
The center will bring together a large group of established researchers as well as junior scholars on Ph.D. and postdoc level, who will work together in a completely new constellation across disciplinary borders with a firm foundation in archaeology spanning from Northern Europe over the Levant to the coastal regions of Eastern Africa.
More can be read about the Danish National Research Foundation here:

Short description of the center idea: Center for Urban Network Evolutions

Becoming urban is widely recognized as one of the great turning points of history. The innovations, cultural entanglements and environmental exchanges afforded by urbanism led to social and material complexity, which make up the core of today’s civilization. The complex stratigraphies of urban archaeology form a uniquely rich archive of this process. This evidence – the single most data-rich material archive of anthropogenic change in the last five millennia – remains vastly underexploited. The Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) will develop research that will offer comparison of convergent developments and determine how, and to what extent, past urban networks catalysed societal and environmental expansions and crises, potentially on a global scale. Emerging applications of isotopic, biomolecular and geoarchaeological methods are transforming archaeology’s ability to read the scale and pace of events and processes. UrbNet will pioneer a “High Definition” view of urban dynamics and construct a leading research body, integrating scientific techniques with contextual archaeological and historical approaches It aims to unleash new forms of data that are able to significantly test, challenge and revise narratives of particular urban sites as well as fundamental assumptions about trajectories, dynamics, and causal conditions of urbanization in the era of globally interlocking pre-industrial civilizations, here defined as being the period app. between the 2nd century BCE and the 16th century CE.