Broken links and black boxes: material affiliations and contextual network synthesis in the Viking world

Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

Long-distance communication has emerged as a particular focus for archaeological exploration using network theory, analysis, and modelling. Initial attempts to adapt methods from social network analysis to archaeological data have, however, struggled to produce decisive results. This paper argues that the archaeological study of communication networks in the past calls for radically different analytical methods from those employed by most other forms of social network analysis. The fragmentary archaeological evidence presents researchers with the task of reconstructing the broken links of a ruined network from observable distributions and patterns of association in the archaeological record. In formal terms this is not a problem of network analysis, but network synthesis: the classic problem of cracking codes or reconstructing black-box circuits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNetwork Analysis in Archaeology : New approaches to Regional Interaction
EditorsCarl Knappett
Number of pages25
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication year2013
Pages71-94
ISBN (print)0199697094, 978-0-19-969709-0
StatePublished - 2013

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