How Social are Archaeological Social Network Analyses?

Author(s): Mark Golitko

Year: 2017


Archaeometric studies of archaeological materials by their nature examine social process—for instance learned technological traditions, socially mediated access to raw materials, or the social act of exchange. Models and methods drawn from social network analysis have gained popularity as a means of more formally modelling social relationships, and hold promise as a missing link between laboratory data and the social dynamics archaeologists wish to understand. However, archaeological applications to date have in many cases lacked detailed discussion of the underlying social processes and behaviors that produce the archaeological record, or rely on network principles conceived at the level of the individual and apply them to aggregate social behavior. Here, I discuss some of the potentials and shortcomings of network analysis in archaeology as practiced to date, and suggest that archaeologists need to become more involved in the production of underlying social network theory if such methods are to achieve lasting relevance to studying the past.

Cite this Record

How Social are Archaeological Social Network Analyses?. Mark Golitko. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429334)

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15093