I am the archaeology Postdoctoral Research Associate on the AHRC-funded Arch-I-Scan project. My main role in the project is that of archaeologist/translator facilitating interdisciplinary communication within the project as well as working on the archaeological analyses in the later phases of the project. The project’s intersection between Roman archaeology and innovative mathematical approaches gels particularly well with my own interests.
In general I like collaborating with others and discussing life, the universe, and everything to collectively come to a better understanding of the world. Taking oneself too seriously is something that academia is too full of so I enjoy joining in laughing with the rest of the world which rightfully does not take me seriously. In my spare time I like birdwatching and doing acrobatics, which really just means lifting my children (and anyone else who is willing) over my head and throwing them about.
My research centres around archaeological thinking and the epistemological status of archaeological knowledge. It is characterised by the extremes of levity and moralization between which I veer wildly. In my PhD thesis entitled ‘To identity and beyond: exploring the limits of the archaeological study of identity’ (which is on the preachy side) I worked on the philosophy and methodology of the archaeological study of identity emphasising the importance of being humble and honest about the potential but also limits of archaeological research and the importance of reflecting on the epistemic merit of our conclusions. On the other end of the spectrum I have, together with Dr Robert Witcher (University of Durham), published ‘Researching the archaeological past through imagined narratives: a necessary fiction’ a collection on the use of fiction as an archaeological research tool.
I am also interested in exploring the potential of Fuzzy Set Theory for archaeological thinking and research.
2021 Núñez Jareño, S.J., van Helden, D.P., Mirkes, E.M., Tyukin I.Y. & Allison, P.M. Learning from Scarce Information: Using Synthetic Data to Classify Roman Fine Ware Pottery. Entropy 23(9), 1140.
2021 Witcher, R.E. & van Helden, D.P. Something more than imagination: archaeology and fiction. In: Gill, J., McKenzie, C. & Lightfoot, E. (eds.) Writing Remains: New Intersections of Archaeology and Literature. London: Bloomsbury.
2020 van Helden, D.P. & Witcher, R.E. (eds.): Researching the archaeological past through imagined narratives: a necessary fiction. Oxford, Routledge.
2020 van Helden, D.P. & Witcher, R.E. Introduction. In: D.P. van Helden & R.E. Witcher (eds.) Researching the archaeological past through imagined narratives: a necessary fiction. Oxford, Routledge.
2020 van Helden, D.P. & Witcher, R.E. Walking in someone else's shoes to a fusion of horizons: empathy and archaeology. In: D.P. van Helden & R.E. Witcher (eds.) Researching the archaeological past through imagined narratives: a necessary fiction. Oxford, Routledge.
2018 van Helden, D.P., Hong, Y. & Allison, P.M.: Towards an inter- and intra-site ontology using 'legacy data'. In: P.M. Allison, M. Pitts & S. Colley (eds.) Big data on the Roman table: Proceedings of a research network, 2015-2016. Internet Archaeology, special volume.
AI in archaeology;
Storytelling and archaeology