tcpThe Connected Past edited volume: now available from Oxford University Press!

The Connected Past. Challenges to Network Studies in Archaeology and History

Edited by Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, and Fiona Coward

  • Features a comprehensive volume introduction which explains what network science is, why it is of interest for studying the past, and outlines the challenges faced when using network science in archaeology and history
  • Provides archaeologists and historians with a selection of the methodological and conceptual tools they need to compare and evaluate the strengths and limitations of different network approaches
  • Features international contributors from a range of disciplines (archaeology, history, physics, and mathematics) who are all pioneers in applying network perspectives to the study of the past
  • Presents a solid set of case studies which demonstrate how the challenges of applying network science perspectives to archaeological and historical datasets are overcome

One of the most exciting recent developments in archaeology and history has been the adoption of new perspectives which see human societies in the past—as in the present—as made up of networks of interlinked individuals. This view of people as always connected through physical and conceptual networks along which resources, information, and disease flow, requires archaeologists and historians to use new methods to understand how these networks form, function, and change over time. The Connected Past provides a constructive methodological and theoretical critique of the growth in research applying network perspectives in archaeology and history, and considers the unique challenges presented by datasets in these disciplines, including the fragmentary and material nature of such data and the functioning and change of social processes over long timespans. An international and multidisciplinary range of scholars debate both the rationale and practicalities of applying network methodologies, addressing the merits and drawbacks of specific techniques of analysis for a range of datasets and research questions, and demonstrating their approaches with concrete case studies and detailed illustrations. As well as revealing the valuable contributions archaeologists and historians can make to network science, the volume represents a crucial step towards the development of best practice in the field, especially in exploring the interactions between social and material elements of networks, and long-term network evolution.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors
Part I: Challenging Network Methods and Theories
1: Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward: Introduction: Challenging Network Perspectives on the Past
2: Carl Knappett: Networks in Archaeology: Between Scientific Method and Humanistic Metaphor
3: Astrid Van Oyen: Networks or Work-Nets? Actor-Network Theory and Multiple Social Topologies in the Production of Roman Terra Sigillata
Part II: Challenging Network Analysis of Archaeological and Historical Data
4: Matthew A. Peeples, Barbara J. Mills, W. Randall Haas, Jr., Jeffery J. Clark, and John M. Roberts, Jr.: Analytical Challenges for the Application of Social Network Analysis in Archaeology
5: Marten Düring: How Reliable are Centrality Measures for Data Collected from Fragmentary and Heterogeneous Historical Sources? A Case Study
6: Constantinos Tsirogiannis and Christos Tsirogiannis: Uncovering the Hidden Routes: Algorithms for Identifying Paths and Missing Links in Trade Networks
Part III: Challenging Network Models
7: Ray Rivers: Can Archaeological Models Always Fulfil our Prejudices?
8: Tim Evans: Which Network Model Should I Use? Towards a Quantitative Comparison of Spatial Network Models in Archaeology
9: Anne Kandler and Fabio Caccioli: Networks, Homophily, and the Spread of Innovations