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A complex systems and network science approach to the emergence of social complexity on Cyprus during the Prehistoric Bronze Age

Author(s): Laura Swantek

Year: 2016

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Summary

People who seek wealth and power structure and restructure the social networks that underlie society. From these networks that bind people together and facilitate the movement of goods, services and information, emerges the phenomenon we call social complexity. To better understand this phenomenon in past societies, this project uses data from the Prehistoric Bronze Age on Cyprus (2400-1700 Cal BCE) and novel methods derived from complex systems and small world network science, and modern economics, namely Gini Coefficients for quantifying wealth inequality. Using data from previously excavated settlements and cemeteries, this project focuses on building the networks that structure society at the community, region and island-wide scales during each sub-period of the Prehistoric Bronze Age (Philia Phase, PreBA 1, PreBA 2) through archaeological proxies for the control of labor, participation in inter- and intra-regional and international trade, and access to technological, material and ideological resources. This paper will present the results of this study, highlighting social instability over time in a non-linear trajectory toward increasing social complexity and regional differences. Further, it will illustrate how shifts in underlying social networks are linked to reaching certain thresholds of inequality within societies.


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A complex systems and network science approach to the emergence of social complexity on Cyprus during the Prehistoric Bronze Age. Laura Swantek. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404846)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America