Dries Daems

Dries Daems

Assistant Professor in Spatial Digital Humanities

VU Amsterdam


Dries Daems is an archaeologist specializing in the Iron Age to Hellenistic Mediterranean. His research interests include social complexity, urbanism, connectivity and information exchange, artisanal production, and human-environment interactions through computational modeling and pottery studies. He is currently Assistant Professor at VU Amsterdam and Visiting Professor at Helsinki University. He has held positions at KU Leuven, Koç University, and Middle East Technical University.


  • Social Complexity
  • Agent-Based Modelling
  • Hellenistic Pottery
  • Urbanism
  • Human-Environment Interactions
  • Digital Humanities


  • PhD in Archaeology, 2018

    University of Leuven - Funded by Research Foundation Flanders

  • MA in Archaeology, 2012

    University of Leuven

  • BA in Archaeology, 2011

    University of Leuven

Recent Posts

Reimagining the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

From ancient empires to the industrialized nation-states of our globally-interconnected world, complexity theory offers a fresh perspective on the past and possible futures of human societies.

Rethinking Connectedness from Past to Future: An Archaeological Perspective on the Covid-19 Pandemic..

Our world has been hit in its very core. The connectivity that so characterises our modern world, is also one of the drivers of the pandamic that wanders through our society. Can we rethink this connectivity in a way that it addresses this brave new world? And can we use a historical lens to aid this rethinking?



Iron Age to Hellenistic pottery at Sagalassos and the surrounding study area

Macroscopic material studies on the production and distribution patterns of pottery material in Sagalassos and environs from Iron Age to Hellenistic times (1000-50 BCE).

Network for Agent-based modelling of Socio-ecological Systems in Archaeology (NASSA)

An international research network to promote and advance the usage of agent-based modelling in archaeology.

Polis formation and synoikismos in southwest Anatolia

Postdoctoral research project with Koç University’s Suna & Inan Kiraç Research Centre for Mediterranean Civilizations (https://akmed.ku.edu.tr/en/).

Sustainability and Resilience in Past and Present Populations (SuRP+)

An interdisciplinary research project of young scholars with the aim of studying sustainability and resilience through time.

Recent Publications

Search for specific works by filtering publications.

Time Averaging

Quantitative analysis of the effects of time-averaging on archaeological networks using three different archaeological datasets. The results of our analysis indicate that time-averaging reduces the fidelity of network interpretations compared to the non-time-averaged networks when analyzing network or node properties. Our results also showed that the effects of time-averaging are highly dependent on initial network structures. This makes it difficult to establish general rules for how to interpret time-averaged networks in archaeology. However, our study shows that it is of paramount importance that archaeologists are aware of these biases and evaluate the reliability of their data accordingly.


In this paper we present SAGAscape, an agent-based model of resource exploitation and subsistence strategies to explore the human impact of hilltop settlements on the natural environment in the study area of Sagalassos (southwest Turkey) during the Iron Age to Hellenistic period.


In this paper we discuss the evidence of synoikismos as a driver for polis formation in southwest Anatolia and its potential role in the urban transformation of Sagalassos during the Hellenistic period.

Disentangling ecological and taphonomic signals in ancient food webs

This paper traces the impact of fossilization on inferences of ancient community structure and network topology.

Origin of Polis

This paper traces the origin and development of the polis as a political and urban phenomenon in southwest Anatolia, focusing on Lycia in a comparative approach with the neighbouring regions of Pisidia and Pamphylia.

Recent & Upcoming Talks

ReSoC 2020

Talk to be delivered at ReSoC 2020

Falling Walls Lab Leuven

Talk delivered at Falling Walls Lab Leuven

Poznan Workshop

Talk delivered at Procurement of Raw Materials Workshop.

TAG 2019

Talk delivered at TAG 2019.

CAA 2019

Talk delivered at CAA 2019.



Assistant Professor

Middle East Technical University

Jan 2021 – Present Ankara
  • Teaching in MA Archaeology Program
  • Coordinator of Digital Archaeology Program
  • Mentoring MA/PhD students

Visiting Assistant Professor

University of Leuven

Jan 2021 – Present Leuven
  • Coordinator of Network for Agent-based Modelling in Archaeology

Postdoctoral researcher

University of Leuven - Funded by C1 Project

Oct 2019 – Dec 2020 Leuven
  • Researcher in interdisciplinary project on the role of change in long-term regional development
  • Role: Interdisciplinary integration of theoretical frameworks for change and complexity in human-environment interactions.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Centre for Mediterranean Civilizations (Koç University - Funded by TÜBITAK)

Oct 2018 – Apr 2019 Antalya
  • Research on polis formation and synoikismos in Hellenistic Anatolia

Substitute Lecturer

University of Leuven

Jan 2018 – Sep 2020 Leuven
  • Substitute Lecturer for courses in BA and MA programs in Archaeology at University of Leuven

Ph.D. Researcher

University of Leuven - Funded by Research Foundation Flanders

Oct 2014 – Sep 2018 Leuven
  • Research on social complexity and polis formation in southwest Anatolia during Iron Age to Hellenistic times


Agent-based modelling (NetLogo)


Data science (R)




Network Science (Visone/Gephi)


Database Management (Neo4j/Access)


Pottery Studies



  • Üniversiteler Mah. Dumlupınar Blv. No.1 - Mimarlık Fakültesi, Yeni Bina, No.413l, Ankara, Çankaya 06800
  • My Twitter
  • Skype