NEXUS 1492


The ambition of NEXUS 1492 is to rewrite a chapter in global history by focusing on transformations of indigenous, Amerindian cultures and societies across the historical divide of 1492. It investigates the impacts of colonial encounters in the Caribbean, the nexus of the first interactions between the New and the Old World. The project is a joint effort with groups from Universiteit Leiden and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Our role is the reconstructing of archaeological aetworks and their transformations. We address the transformations of archaeological networks of people, objects and ideas across the historical divide by foundational research on ways of reconstructing archaeological networks from sparse, fragmented and dissimilar datasets, driven by and tested in case-studies of interdependent, multi-level Amerindian networks in the period AD 1000-1800. Unparalleled by conventional methods, network approaches bring to archaeology the potential to model relations between past cultures, communities and individuals as opposed to emphasising the inherent qualities of such entities.

  • AG Brandes (Algorithmik)
  van Garderen, Mereke (2018): Pictures of the Past : Visualization and visual analysis in archaeological context

Pictures of the Past : Visualization and visual analysis in archaeological context

Data visualization, the main topic of this dissertation, is the science concerned with the design and creation of visual representations intended to convey information and facilitate understanding. In a scientific context, the data to be visualized are typically research results, which can originate from any discipline. The main challenges in data visualization are to find visual representations which (1) are as accurate as possible, (2) can be understood quickly and well by viewers, and (3) can be produced automatically and efficiently. The latter is especially important when large or dynamic data sets are involved. This dissertation is focused on addressing these challenges for a particular application domain: the visualization of archaeological data. We identify general properties that often characterize archaeological data and discuss a variety of visualization methods suitable for data with these properties. For existing methods from the area of mathematics and computer science, we explain how they can be applied – either directly or with some adaptations – in the context of archaeology. We also introduce new approaches, tailored to various archaeological applications. Case studies and real archaeological data sets are used to demonstrate the use of these approaches in practical applications. However, because of our focus on general data properties rather than specific data sets, the methods presented in this dissertation are in fact widely applicable beyond the field of archaeology as well.

Origin (projects)

Funding sources
Name Project no. Description Period
ERC718/13ERC Synergy Projectno information
Further information
Period: 01.09.2013 – 31.08.2019
Link: Project homepage