Thinking Through Networks: A Review of FormalNetwork Methods in Archaeology
Published online: 20 April 2012
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012
This review aims to expose the potential of formal network methods for archaeology by tracing the origins of the academic traditions, network models, andtechniques that have been most influential to archaeologists. A brief discussion of graphtheoreticapplicationsinarchaeologyrevealshowgraphvisualizationandanalysiswasusedsincethe1960sinaverysimilarwaytolaternetworkanalysisapplications,butdidnotseemto have influenced the more widespread adoption of network techniques over the past decade. These recent archaeological applications have been strongly influenced by twoacademic traditions, social network analysis and sociophysics. The most influential and promisingtechniquesandmodelsadoptedfromthesetraditionsarecriticallydiscussed.Thisreview reveals some general trends which are considered to be the result of two criticalissuesthatwillneedtobeaddressedinfuturearchaeologicalnetworkanalysis:(1)ageneralunawareness of the historicity and diversity of formal network methods both within andoutsidethearchaeologicaldisciplinehasresultedinaverylimitedmethodologicalscope;(2)the adoption or development of network methods has very rarely been driven by specificarchaeological research questions and is dominated by a few popular models and techni-ques, which has in some cases resulted in a routinized explanatory process. This reviewillustrates, however, the great potential of formal network methods for archaeology andarguesthat,ifthispotentialistobeappliedinacriticalway,abroadmultidisciplinaryscopeis necessary and specific archaeological research contexts should dominate applications.
In a previous article (Brughmans 2010), I have argued that in the archaeologicaldiscipline, network methods have been insufficiently explored and have been
J Archaeol Method Theory (2013) 20:623
662DOI 10.1007/s10816-012-9133-8T. Brughmans (
)Archaeological Computing Research Group, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton,Avenue Campus, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BF, UK e-mail: email@example.com