digiTAG2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

October 4, 2016

Source:  Dr. Sara Perry’s blog. By Sara Perry and James Taylor.


There is a perception of a divide between archaeological communities dedicated to different topics, and there definitely is quite a bit of miscommunication of research between theoretical and digital archaeology communities. This often leads to archaeologists taking an extreme and unconstructive stance towards the work done in other communities. In my opinion this is a total waste of energy that should be spent on more in-depth critical engagement with digital and theoretical archaeology. But there are very few initiatives that provide a platform for members of different communities to discuss their work in a constructive and friendly way; there is a need for such platforms that help us achieve better, richer ways of doing archaeology.


This is exactly the kind of necessary opportunity provided by digiTAG! One of the most popular sessions at CAA last year was not about networks (surprise surprise) but ‘digiTAG’: a cool new initiative stimulating cross-feritilization between communities predominantly concerned with digital (CAA) and theoretical (TAG) topics. A second session is now announced, to be held at TAG in Southampton on 19-21 December 2016. I strongly recommend attending or presenting at this session.

The following post on Dr. Sara Perry’s blog provides more information about the event. The session focuses on storytelling and the digital turn, which I find great topics for building bridges! Although I think the digital has been turning for a very long time in archaeology and has been ubiquitous in archaeological research for about the last two decades in some form or other. That said, I think there is a massive need for more original creative uses of digital methods that don’t just allow us to do what we did before faster and applied to more data, but that allow us to do entirely new things that push our knowledge of the past further. There is a lack of this in digital archaeology, and I don’t mind turning more in that direction.

I’m so pleased to announce that Dr James Taylor and myself will be hosting a follow-up to our successful first digiTAG (digital Theoretical Archaeology Group) event held in Oslo in the springtime. Sponsored by both TAG and the CAA (Computing Applications in Archaeology), digiTAG II will feature at the TAG UK conference in Southampton, 19-21 December, 2016.

Our aim through the digiTAG series is to deepen our critical engagements w digital media and digital methods in archaeology and heritage. digiTAG II seeks to focus our thinking specifically on digital tools as they are enrolled in creating stories about the past. To this end, we are looking for contributors to talk about, experiment with, involve or otherwise immerse us in their archaeological/heritage storytelling work.

Such storytelling work may entail innovating with:

  • lab or excavation reports
  • recording sheets
  • maps, plans, section views, sketches, illustrations, and other forms of on-site visual recording
  • collections and databases
  • data stories or data ethnographies
  • digital data capture (survey, photogrammetry, laser scanning, remote sensing, etc.)
  • artefact or museums catalogues
  • digital media forms (VR, AR, videogames, webpages, apps, etc.)
  • books or manuscripts
  • articles, zines, comics, news reports, art pieces
  • audioguides, podcasts, music or sound installations
  • maps, trails, panels, labels, guidebooks, brochures, and other forms of interpretation & interpretative infrastructure
  • touch maps, handling materials/collections, tactile writing systems, 3d prints, models & more!

We welcome both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your digiTAG II presentation. Please submit your abstracts (up to 250 words) tojames.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November.

We hope to hear from you & don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. The full CFP is copied below:

TAG and the CAA present…

digiTAG 2: Archaeological Storytelling and the ‘Digital Turn’

Session organisers:

Dr. James Taylor (University of York) – primary correspondant.


Dr. Sara Perry (University of York)



In April of 2016 the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) teamed up with the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference to run a successful Digital TAG (digiTAG) session in Oslo, Norway. This session sought to question, challenge, appraise and reconceive the epistemological and research-oriented implications of the digital turn in archaeology, including its larger social, political and economic consequences.

That event, building on a long history of engagement with digital processes and digital media at both the TAG and CAA conferences, brought together 15 practitioners from around the world working in all domains of archaeology–from the lab to the field, from the museum to the classroom. Here they situated their (and others’) use of digital technologies within wider theoretical contexts, and with critical self-awareness, thereby opening up a space for rigorous evaluations of impact and reflections on overall disciplinary change. digiTAG 2 now aims to build upon the success of the first digiTAG, extending critical conversation about the discipline’s digital engagements at a finer-grained level in concert with a diverse audience of theoretical archaeologists.

However, digiTAG 2 seeks to narrow our discussion, in specific, on the concept of digital storytelling and the ramifications of the digital turn on larger interpretations of the past. Given the frequency and intensity with which digital media are now enrolled to structure, articulate, visualise and circulate information for the production of archaeological narratives, we invite participants to present papers that critically consider the impact of the digital turn upon archaeological interpretation and archaeology’s many stories.

Whether you direct your digital engagements at professional, academic or non-specialist audiences – whether you deploy digital tools for data collection, data analysis, synthesis, and dissemination or beyond – we ask, how are your stories affected? Does the digital enable new and different narratives? Does it extend or narrow audience engagement? When does it harm or hinder, complicate or obfuscate? And when – and for whom – does it create richer, more meaningful storytelling about the past?

To explore these questions, we encourage both traditional conference papers, as well as more experimental forms of (analogue or digital) argumentation, narrativising and delivery of your talk. Ultimately, digiTAG 2 aims to delve into the critical implications of archaeologists’ use of digital technologies on processes of knowledge creation.

Submit titles & abstracts (up to 250 words) to james.s.taylor@york.ac.uk by 15 November 2016.

CFP: archaeology-history session at EU SNA conference in Paris.

January 27, 2016

eusnaIt’s with great pleasure that we can announce the first ever conference session which is organized by the Res-Hist, The Connected Past and the Historical Network Research group:

Historical and Archaeological Network Research

Submission deadline 16 February 2016.

Submissions via the conference website.

Network analysis, be it inspired by sociology or physics, is making its way in historical and archaeological research on all periods and topics. Over the last decades, a substantial number of studies has shown that both network theories and network methods derived from other disciplines can be fruitfully applied to selected bodies of historical and archaeological data and go beyond the metaphorical use of network-related metaphors. However, most of this work has paid little attention to the specific challenges skills of historical and archaeological research, e.g. concerns with sources, missing data, data standardization, as well as the situation of networks in time and space.

In recent years, a burgeoning community of historians and archaeologists have taken on these challenges and begun to adapt and develop formal network techniques to address the substantive questions and challenges key to their disciplines. This has been made possible thanks to collaboration and interaction with scholars from other disciplines.

The aim of this session is to further develop this community by promoting contacts between the various disciplines that aim at making sense of past phenomena through methods derived from network analysis; and between the various geographic and language-based communities in Europe.

We welcome papers on any period, geographical area, and substantive topic, using any network research method. The authors may by historians, archaeologists, as well as scholars from other disciplines. To be eligible, the proposals should:

  • Address and clearly formulate research questions concerning past phenomena.
  • Critically address issues related to the sources/materials/construction of data used.
  • Explain why it is substantively interesting to consider their topic in formal network terms (i.e. as ties between nodes), what the added value of such a view is, and what methodological choices it implies.

Paper which address questions related to time or space in networks are encouraged but not a requirement.

This call for papers is jointly issued by The Connected Past, Historical Network Research, and Res-Hist – but feel free to submit if you don’t know any of these groups! It will be an opportunity to meet them.

The working language for the conference will be English, but the organizers will be happy to help those who do not feel confident with their English during the discussions. Please note that the oral presentation will be short (ca. 15 minutes, as there will be at least 4 papers per 2-hour time slot, and we want to keep some time for discussion). The papers are not intended to be published together. Feel free to present either work in progress, so as to receive useful suggestions, or work that has already been published, but not in English or not widely circulated: the EUSN will allow a wider audience to discover your research.

The proposals will be selected by: Tom Brughmans (University of Konstanz); Marten Düring (CVCE, Luxembourg); Pierre Gervais (University Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Paris); Claire Lemercier (CNRS, Sciences Po, Paris).
Proposals can be submitted via the conference website.

Join the CAA! Call for candidates for four open CAA committee posts

October 14, 2015


I love the CAA and I thoroughly enjoy being able to give something back to this community by being CAA secretary. If you think this is a great community and are keen to be involved, consider applying for one of the open positions!

Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) invites CAA members to apply for one of four open committee posts: outreach officer, treasurer, publication officer, bursary and student/low income officer. The current treasurer and publication officer will stand down at CAA2016 in Oslo, the outreach and the bursary and student/low income officers are two new posts. Candidates must be CAA members and applications by all CAA members will be considered. CAA encourages in particular applications from female or non-European CAA members. The tasks associated with these posts are given below. Candidates must express an interest in the posts before 29 February 2016 by sending a motivational statement and CV to the CAA secretary. Please contact the CAA secretary if additional information is required. To become a CAA member, please visit our website.

CAA is a growing international community with an active membership of over 500 academics and professionals with a shared interest in archaeological computing. The CAA has organised annual international conferences since 1973 and has 14 national chapters spread across the globe. As an officer of CAA you will help carry on this strong tradition by coordinating CAA’s organisation throughout the year and by encouraging the continued growth of a diverse and inspiring community.

The outreach officer is a steering committee (SC) post (ex-officio member of the executive steering committee [ESC]) that will be filled by the most appropriate candidate selected by the CAA ESC from all received applications.

The other three are ESC Officer posts. ESC officers are elected by CAA members at the Annual General Meeting for terms of three years, and each officer may hold their post for up to two terms. It is then however possible to be elected for a different post. Candidates must be able to commit an estimated equivalent of three weeks of full-time work spread throughout the year to CAA business. Candidates must also be able to attend the yearly conference and an ESC meeting at the conference venue (or sometimes via Skype) usually in December/January before the conference (financial assistance is available for this pre-conference meeting but not for the conference itself). The election of officers for these three posts will happen by CAA members during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at CAA Oslo (29 March – 2 April 2016). If there are multiple candidates for a post, the candidates will be asked to give a short (2 minute) motivational statement at the AGM before the vote takes place.

Outreach (NEW CAA steering committee post)

Candidates for this post will probably be young, creative and pro-active CAA members who have experience and interest in communication, social media, and outreach aimed at diversifying communities.

The tasks of this new post will include:

  • Actively encourage new areas of membership and the diversity of the CAA community
  • Share news, deadlines, advertising of CAA on selected social media and the CAA website
  • Responsible for all external communication of CAA, but not to the membership (which is done by the Membership Secretary)
  • Advise local organisers of social media strategies
  • Oversee our connection to and collaboration with other conferences and academic communities (UISPP, DH, TAG, WAC). Consultation on conference dates and venues with these communities
  • Provide an annual report of activities

Candidates interested in applying for this post should send a short motivational statement and a CV to the CAA secretary before 29 February 2016.

Bursary and student/low income officer (NEW CAA executive steering committee post)

The tasks of this new post will include:

  • Coordinate student/low-income bursaries
  • Chair the bursary committee
  • Coordinate handing out of bursaries
  • Coordinate Nick Ryan bursary
  • Coordinate the student/low-income representation
  • Liaise with local organisers regarding affordable fees/accommodation

The creation of this new ESC post is subject to the acceptance of a modified CAA constitution incorporating this post, which will be proposed at and voted on during the Annual General Meeting in Oslo before the officer’s elections.

Candidates interested in applying for this post should send a short motivational statement and a CV to the CAA secretary before 29 February 2016. Candidates are invited to get in touch with the current student/low income SC officer (John Pouncett, bursaries@caaconference.org) to find out more about the responsibilities and future duties.

Treasurer (CAA executive steering committee post)

The Treasurer deals with all financial activities of CAA, including:

  • Keeping a detailed overview of finances
  • All CAA related bills apart from those directly linked to conference organisation
  • Organise annual auditing
  • Managing bank accounts
  • Primary contact for financial information regarding CAA
  • Reporting all this to the officers and membership

The treasurer is also a member of the bursary committee, which is responsible for deciding which applicants will receive bursaries to attend the conference. Any incoming bursary application is decided by this committee on the basis of a set of rules, which will be published on the CAA webpage.

Candidates interested in applying for this post should send a short motivational statement and a CV to the CAA secretary before 29 February 2016. Candidates are invited to get in touch with the current treasurer (Axel Posluschny, treasurer@caa-international.org) to find out more about the responsibilities and future duties of the CAA treasurer.

Publication officer (CAA executive steering committee post)

The Publication Officer is responsible for ensuring and organizing the publication of the annual conference proceedings. S/he will be supported by an Editorial Board, consisting of other members of the SC, including co-opted ex officio members and the CAA Review College. Any member of CAA can be co-opted as an Editorial Board member by the ESC upon request from the Publication Officer.

Tasks of the publication officer include:

  • Communication with publishers
  • Communicating with and directing local organizers where it concerns the publication process
  • Occasionally communicating with Editorial Board to discuss relevant issues
  • Occasionally answering questions on publication issues from members
  • Maintaining publication guidelines
  • Maintaining Review College database and communicating with its members
  • Digital archiving of Proceedings
  • Continue the new publication plan for 2016 and beyond, including digital proceedings and the CAA journal

Candidates interested in applying for this post should send a short motivational statement and a CV to the CAA secretary before 29 February 2016. Candidates are invited to get in touch with the current publication officer (Philip Verhagen, publications@caa-international.org) to find out more about the responsibilities and future duties.

CFP Network Science in Archaeology session at EAA 2015 Glasgow

January 21, 2015
We would like to bring the session ‘Network Science in Archaeology: challenges and opportunities’ to your attention. The session will be held at the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) conference in Glasgow on 2-5 September 2015. We welcome papers from all time periods and places, as long as the focus lies on the use of network science in archaeology. The deadline for submissions is 16 February 2015. Please visit the EAA website for more information and to submit an abstract: Network Science in Archaeology: Challenges and Opportunities
Despite pioneering applications in the 1960s and 70s, Network Science has only become more commonly applied within the Historical and Archaeological disciplines in the last decade. The success of initiatives such as The Connected Past or the Historical Network Research Conferences testify to this increasing popularity. However, many challenges remain, and many archaeologists and historians remain unconvinced by the formal application of network science for the study of past societies.
Undoubtedly, a number of issues and difficulties are particular to archaeology and history: the inability to directly observe/interview past societies, the need to use textual and material sources as proxies of past phenomena, and the challenge of dealing with particularly incomplete datasets. In this session we aim to discuss these and other specific issues and difficulties of applying network science in archaeology and history, and learn from successful as well as failed experiments in order to collaboratively work towards solutions to these issues. We welcome contributions from any geographical areas and historical periods, which discuss and illustrate the opportunities and challenges offered by Network Science in Archaeology. Papers can address but are not restricted to the following topics:
• Spatial Networks;
• Long-term perspectives and longitudinal networks;
• Diffusion Networks;
• Trade and Exchange Networks;
• Communication Networks;
• Socio-Political Networks and Networks of Power.
We hope to read your abstract soon and meet you in Glasgow.
Francesca Fulminante, Sergi Lozano, Luce Prignano, Tom Brughmans

KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING! CAA 2015 call for sessions

August 12, 2014

caa2015The CAA is my favourite community of archaeologists, and I am super proud to be the CAA international secretary since April 2014. Next year’s meeting will be in Siena, Italy. And apparently we are a community of revolutionaries! This year’s theme is “KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING”, and I couldn’t agree more. Computational techniques have revolutionised academia, and the CAA has played a pioneering role in this computational revolution for archaeology since 1973. But there is more work to be done. Computational and quantitative work in archaeology should not be a minority pursuit, they should not be considered simplistic or reductionist, all archaeologists use these techniques to some extent. The CAA community will continue to take a leading role in teaching archaeologists good practice in these techniques. So, KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING, submit your session proposal to CAA 2015.

Where? University of Siena
When? March 30, 2015 – April 2, 2015
Submission deadline? 30 September 2014
Submission URL
More info

The 43rd Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology “KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING” Conference (CAA 2015 SIENA) will explore a multitude of topics to showcase ground-breaking technologies and best practice from various archaeological and computer sciences disciplines, with a large diversity of case studies from all over the world. Some of these topics are specific to the Italian scientific community, which played since the early stage of computer applicationa central role, participating to the debate and development in particular of GIS, databases, semantic, remote sensing, 3D data collection, modeling, visualization, etc.

The conference will be held in Italy at the University of Siena in collaboration with the National Research Council, from March 30th to April 3rd 2015.

The conference usually brings together hundreds of participants coming from all over the world involving delegates in parallel sessions, workshops, tutorials and roundtables. For general information please email: info@caa2015.org

Archaeological and historical network analysts unite!

July 10, 2014

315px-I_Need_You_on_the_Job_Every_Day_-_NARA_-_534704Network science is becoming more commonly applied in both archaeology and history. But this is not happening without difficulties. Pioneers in both disciplines are now trying to overcome the numerous challenges that still surround their use of network techniques: how to deal with fragmentary data, performing analyses over extremely long time spans, using material data in network science to understand past human behaviour, …. I believe archaeologists and historians should face these challenges together! Through collaboration we might come to a better understanding of the use of network science in our disciplines much faster. In a recently published article in Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, Anna Collar, Fiona Coward, Claire Lemercier and myself show how many of the challenges that archaeologists and historians have identified are actually not discipline-specific: we CAN collaborate to tackle them together. Since this article is in French I wanted to provide an English summary of our argumentation here (written with my co-authors). The full article can be downloaded on Academia or through my bibliography page.


One of the key aspects of historical sources, compared to archaeological sources, is that the former often allow for the identification of past individuals, by name, and by role. This richness of data at the individual level means that network analytical methods can be very powerful in the illumination of past social networks and the details of particular places and times – offering, where the data are good enough, a window onto past social lives and interactions, and allowing the synchronic analysis of social networks at a particular moment in time.

However, the issues most commonly mentioned by historical network analysts also concern problematic and incomplete data. These issues are undeniably more significant for archaeology and history than for contemporary social sciences such as sociology. But we should not overestimate their potential impact. Even sociological research in contemporary populations face similar issues where full data may not be available for a variety of reasons, and although the problems are clearly more fundamental in history and archaeology, this also means that researchers in both disciplines have long been accustomed to dealing with, and developing methods at least partially compensating for, partial and biased datasets. As a result, this may be one important area where archaeology and history can contribute its expertise to other disciplines working with imperfect network data.


In contrast to history, archaeology is much less frequently furnished with such focused evidence. In archaeology, individuals are typically identified indirectly through the material remains they leave behind, and even where they can be identified, they often remain without names or specified roles.  Not only is archaeological data typically not ‘individualized’, but it can also rarely be attributed an exact date. Most archaeological data typically has date ranges with differing probabilities attached to them, making the establishment of contemporaneity between entities/potential nodes in networks (e.g. individuals; events; settlements) highly problematic. Because of this, archaeologists have tended to focus on the synchronic study of human behavioural change over the long-term, rather than on the diachronic examination of behaviour and interaction. A further characteristic of archaeological data is that it is also likely to be more strongly geographically grounded. Indeed, the geographical location of archaeological data is often among the few pieces of information archaeologists possess. Finally, network analytical methods in archaeology tend to focus most closely on long-term changes in the everyday lives of past peoples.

Common challenges in archaeology and history

Alongside these differences, there are also a number of common challenges facing archaeology and history, as ultimately both disciplines aim to achieve similar goals relating to understanding past interactions and processes.

The most significant of these common challenges are the fragmentary datasets that often characterize both disciplines; we typically deal with bad samples drawn from populations of unknown size and/or with unknown boundaries, snapshots of the past that are heavily biased by differential preservation and/or observation effects. However we argue that this does not exclude the use network techniques in our disciplines, nor does it limit us to only those research contexts for which high quality datasets are available.

A second issue facing our disciplines is that many methodological and theoretical network approaches have been developed in other disciplines to address particular research themes. As a result, they therefore function according to certain rules and/or have certain specific data requirements that might prevent straightforward applications in our disciplines.

Furthermore,  using a network approach to study a past phenomenon necessarily requires a researcher to make a series of decisions about how the parameters of that phenomenon should be represented – for example, what entities to use as nodes and what forms of relationship to model as vertices. Archaeologists and historians familiar with the analytical and visualization techniques used by researchers studying modern phenomena may find many analytical approaches and visualization techniques that are not appropriate or achievable. The past phenomena we are interested in, the kinds of questions our data allows us to ask, and the often very specific parameters of human behaviour assumed by archaeologists and historians for investigating the past, are likely to mean we will ultimately need to develop purpose-made visualization and analysis techniques. At the least we will need to acquire a critical understanding of the various methods available if we are to represent archaeological and historical network  data in appropriate ways – and indeed, to ‘read’ such visualizations and analysis results correctly.

Finally, the poor chronological control characteristic to a certain extent of historical and to a much greater extent of archaeological datasets, limits our knowledge regarding the order in which nodes and links in networks became salient and also the degree of contemporaneity between nodes. This is likely to have significant ramifications for the ways in which archaeologists and historians visualize and analyse networks, driving a need to consider ‘fuzzy’ networks, margins of error and probabilistic models, as well as the consideration of complex processes of network change and evolution over time.

Unite! Meeting the challenges together

In the recent surge of network applications in archaeology and history, it would seem that the two disciplines have thus far focused their efforts on the more obvious potential applications which mirror those most common in other disciplines, such as the identification and interpretation of ‘small-world’ network structure or the choice of datasets that are readily envisaged as or translated into network data (e.g. road and river networks). Such analyses have demonstrated the potential of the methods for archaeological and historical datasets; however, we believe that potential applications go far beyond this, and that network approaches hold a wealth of untapped potential for the study of the past. To achieve this potential, we will need to become more critical and more creative in our applications, and explore not simply what network science can offer the study of the past, but also what our disciplines offer in terms of developing that science – firstly to tackle specifically archaeological and historical questions, but ultimately to broaden the scope of the science itself as methodologies specifically developed for use in archaeological and historical contexts are taken up for use in tackling similar questions in other disciplines.

TCP (2013_05_12 19_17_14 UTC)Initiatives like The Connected Past and Historical Network Research offer a platform that would allow for exactly this kind of interaction between network scientists and those applying network science to the study of the past. The challenges individual members were encountering in our own research across archaeology and history encouraged us to consider developing a mutually supportive space in which to share concerns and problems, and to discuss ideas and approaches for moving beyond these.

We suggest that simply bringing people together through conferences, workshops, conference sessions and more informal groupings is key to fostering the dialogue between the disciplines that is so important to move forward applications of network analysis to the study of the past. Talking to each other across traditional disciplinary boundaries is vital in the ongoing development of network perspectives on the past. However, as noted above, at the same time we also need to be more sensitive to the specific demands of our disciplinary goals and our datasets and develop new network methods that suit our disciplines better. The sociological roots of most social network analysis software packages means that these are often designed and engineered to address discipline-specific research concepts that may not be appropriate for archaeology and history. SNA software has generally been created to deal with interactions between people in a modern setting – where the individual answers to questions about interactions can be documented with a degree of accuracy. As such, this software and network methodologies in general will need to be applied with care and ideally even developed from scratch for use with networks comprised of nodes which are words, texts, places or artefacts, for the characteristically fragmentary and poorly chronologically controlled datasets of archaeology and history, and for research that aims to go beyond the structuring of individual networks of contemporary nodes to investigate questions of network evolution and change. While interdisciplinary dialogue is crucial, we will need to be sensitive to the discipline-specific idiosyncracies of our data and to critique rather than adopt wholesale practices used in other fields. In this way, rather than apologizing for the ‘deficiencies’ of our datasets in comparison with those characteristic of other disciplines, we will also be able to make novel contributions to the wider field based on the new questions and challenges the study of the past offers network science.

Problems with archaeological networks part 3

May 5, 2014

spagThis third blog post in the series discusses space-related issues in archaeological network studies. As I mentioned before, I recently published a review of formal network methods in archaeology in Archaeological Review from Cambridge. I want to share the key problems I raise in this review here on my blog, because in many ways they are the outcomes of working with networks as an archaeologist the last six years. And yes, I encountered more problems than I was able to solve, which is a good thing because I do not want to be bored the next few years🙂 In a series of four blog posts I draw on this review to introduce four groups of problems that archaeologists are faced with when using networks: method, data, space, and process. The full paper can be found on Academia.

The definition of nodes is not only dependent on data type categorisation but also necessarily reflects the research questions being asked, revealing an issue of spatial scales. Do the past processes we are interested in concern interactions between regions, sites or individuals? How will this be represented in node, tie and network definitions? The ability of network approaches to work on multiple scales is often mentioned as one of the advantages of using formal network methods (Knappett 2011). In practice, however, archaeological network analysts have traditionally focused on inter-regional or macro-scales of analysis. Knappett (2011) argues that it is on the macro-scale that network analysis comes into its own and a recently published edited volume reveals this regional emphasis (Knappett 2013). This insistence to work on large scales becomes quite unique in light of social network analysts’ traditional focus on individual social entities in interaction. SNA provides a multitude of good examples of how network methods could be usefully applied on a micro- or local scale of analysis (e.g. ego-networks). However, the nature of archaeological data, which rarely allows for individuals and their interactions to be identified with any certainty, should not be considered the only reason for this focus on the macro-scale. Arguably, networks lend themselves very well to exploring inter-regional interaction, and archaeologists have always had a particular interest in the movements and flows of people, resources and information across large areas. Moreover, many of the early applications of network methods in archaeology, which in some cases might have served as an example to more recent applications, concerned inter-regional interaction (e.g. Terrell 1976). One should acknowledge the importance of exploring how local actions give rise to larger-scale patterns if we are to benefit from the multi-scalar advantage of formal network methods (Knappett 2011).

It is not surprising that many archaeological network analysts are interested in exploring the dynamics between relational and geographical space (e.g. Bevan and Wilson 2013; Knappett et al. 2008; Menze and Ur 2012; Wernke 2012), given the importance of spatial factors in understanding archaeological data and archaeologists’ traditional interest in geographical methods (e.g. Hodder and Orton 1976). Despite early work by archaeologists on geographical networks (for an overview see chapter 2 in Knappett 2011), geographical space has been almost completely ignored by sociologists and physicists, resulting in a very limited geographical network analysis toolset for archaeologists to draw on (although see a recent special issue of the journal Social Networks [issue 34(1), 2012] and the review work by Barthélemy [2011], as well as techniques used in Space Syntax [Hillier and Hanson, 1984]).

Barthélemy, M. (2011). Spatial networks. Physics Reports, 499(1-3), 1–101. doi:10.1016/j.physrep.2010.11.002
Bevan, A., & Wilson, A. (2013). Models of settlement hierarchy based on partial evidence. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(5), 2415–2427.
Hillier, B., & Hanson, J. (1984). The social logic of space. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hodder, I., & Orton, C. (1976). Spatial analysis in archaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Knappett, C. (2011). An archaeology of interaction: network perspectives on material culture and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Knappett, C. (2013). Introduction: why networks? In C. Knappett (Ed.), Network analysis in archaeology. New approaches to regional interaction (pp. 3–16). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Knappett, C., Evans, T., & Rivers, R. (2008). Modelling maritime interaction in the Aegean Bronze Age. Antiquity, 82(318), 1009–1024.
Menze, B. H., & Ur, J. a. (2012). Mapping patterns of long-term settlement in Northern Mesopotamia at a large scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(14), E778–87. doi:10.1073/pnas.1115472109
Terrell, J. E. (1976). Island biogeography and man in Melanesia. Archaeology and physical anthropology in Oceania, 11(1), 1–17.
Wernke, S. a. (2012). Spatial network analysis of a terminal prehispanic and early colonial settlement in highland Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39(4), 1111–1122. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.12.014