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The Connected Past

PDF One of the most exciting recent developments in archaeology and history has been the adoption of new perspectives which see human societies in the past-as in the present-as made up of networks of interlinked individuals. This view of people as always connected through physical and conceptual networks along which resources, information, and disease flow, requires archaeologists and historians to use new methods to understand how these networks form, function, and change over time. The Connected Past provides a constructive methodological and theoretical critique of the growth in research applying network perspectives in archaeology and history, and considers the unique challenges presented by datasets in these disciplines, including the fragmentary and material nature of such data and the functioning and change of social processes over long timespans. An international and multidisciplinary range of scholars debate both the rationale and practicalities of applying network methodologies, addressing the merits and drawbacks of specific techniques of analysis for a range of datasets and research questions, and demonstrating their approaches with concrete case studies and detailed illustrations. As well as revealing the valuable contributions archaeologists and historians can make to network science, the volume represents a crucial step towards the development of best practice in the field, especially in exploring the interactions between social and material elements of networks, and long-term network evolution.

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