I sometimes get a bit annoyed that fellow archaeologists assume I don’t do theory because I use calculators. In fact, network science and all archaeological research is completely useless unless it is explicitly theoretically informed, and I have published this argument loads. Yet I notice that it is rather rare for the theories that archaeologists formulate about relationships to be explicitly recorded in their papers alongside their network analysis results.
So let’s try to change this: here’s a call to be explicit about our theoretical frameworks when doing archaeological network research. This is the topic of a session I co-chair with Paula Gheorghiade at the CAA in Krakow 2019.
Submit your abstract before the 10 October deadline!
We invite abstracts for our session on archaeological network research (S26) at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference, Kraków 23-27 April 2019.Deadline 10 October.Submission link: https://2019.caaconference.org/call-for-papers/Archaeological network research: formal network representation of archaeological theoriesPaula Gheorghiade (Department of Art, University of Toronto)Tom Brughmans (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford)In this session we aim to discuss and encourage the explicit representation of archaeological theories as network data, and the explicit theoretical motivation of network science method selection.Formal network science methods are increasingly commonly applied in archaeological research to study diverse aspects of past human behaviour. The vast majority of these applications concern the use of exploratory network analysis techniques to study the structure of a network representation of an archaeological dataset, which often lead to a better insight into the structure of the dataset, help identify issues or missing data, and highlight interesting or surprising data patterning.Less common is the explicitly formulated theoretical motivation of exploratory network analysis tool selection. What tools are appropriate representations of my theorized assumptions? What tools violate my theoretical framework? Equally uncommon is the formal representation of archaeological theories (rather than archaeological data) as network data. What network data pattern do I expect to see as the outcome of a theorized process? What does a theorized past relational phenomenon look like in network terms?Taking explicitly formulated theories rather than datasets as the starting point of archaeological network research is useful for a number of reasons. It forces the researcher to specify the theory that will enable its formal representation, and possibly improve or modify it through this process. It allows for understanding the behaviour and data predictions of a theory: in exploring the structure of the theorized relationships, the implications for processes taking place on theorized networks, and the evolution of theorized network structure. It facilitates the selection of appropriate network analytical tools that best express the theory or that are appropriate in light of the assumptions inherent in the theory. Finally, it allows for comparisons of data patterns simulated as the outcome of a theorized network process with archaeological observations, to evaluate the plausibility of the theory.This session welcomes presentations on the following topics:• Archaeological network research: applications, methods or theories• Network representation of archaeological theories• Testing archaeological theories with network science• Using network configurations, motifs and graphlets for representing theories• Exponential random graph modelling• Agent-based network modelling• Spatial network modelling