A new review paper by Stefani Crabtree, a Short-term Fellow at CRI Research, and collaborators just appeared in the Springer Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. It discusses the use of network science by archeologists. You can find the full text here.
Archaeologists reconstruct the activities and interactions of individuals using the accumulated material culture of the past, yet detecting these interactions can be difficult using traditional archaeological analytical tools. The development of a methodological framework emerging from graph theory, coupled with the growth of computational power and a growing multidisciplinary theoretical framework aimed at interpreting these analyses, have eased the difficulties of uncover ing, analyzing, and interpreting networks in the past. From examining physical locations of sites and how they interact together to examining trade routes and migration pathways, and the exchange of ideas across time and space, network approaches have infiltrated archaeology and grown exponentially in published studies. As computational power increases, and the use of large datasets that have unequal structure or resolution become easier and more common, network studies will undoubtedly shed further light on the archaeological past. These approaches may well herald new interdisciplinary collaborations and allow archaeologists to use these models of past social networks to understand our present and future.