Market Exchange Seen Through the Mist: Network Visualization for Variable Data

Author(s): Christine Johnston

Year: 2015


In analyzing micro and mesoscale distribution systems, it is necessary to identify the economic structures and elucidate the socio-economic conditions governing the interaction of agents. Of particular interest in assessing economies of the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean is the potential incorporation of extra-palatial actors in privatized production and non-centralized exchange. Central to this issue is the question of whether marketing activity was extant outside royal jurisdiction, providing independent access to imports and luxury goods. In recent scholarship, materially based frameworks including the Distributional Approach have supplemented traditional studies on the location, and spatial configuration of the physical marketplace by examining the distribution of objects throughout consumption units. This paper will explore these methods while assessing the utility of certain approaches when applied to variable datasets. Using the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean port kingdom of Ugarit as a test case, the economic structure of the site will be profiled through an examination of small finds. With a lengthy excavation history, Ugarit offers an apposite example of the opportunities and limitations provided by large and variable datasets. The illustrative capabilities of Network Visualization will then be explored for contexts in which quantitative analysis is constrained by issues of data robustness.

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Market Exchange Seen Through the Mist: Network Visualization for Variable Data. Christine Johnston. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398010)

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