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.
UrbNet pioneers a “High Definition” view of urban dynamics and constructs 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.