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Social complexity and wealth inequality in middle-range society: A complex systems and network science approach to the Prehistoric Bronze Age on Cyprus

Author(s): Laura Swantek

Year: 2017

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Summary

Economic and social leaders create and maintain unequal or dominance relationships within and between communities by controlling labor, and limiting access to technological, material and ideological resources, and trade networks. Through these kinds of actions and interactions, social networks are structured and restructured altering the flow of goods, services and information. From this bottom-up process, social complexity emerges. To understand how the structure of underlying social networks leads to the emergence of social complexity in past middle-range societies, archaeological proxy data for each of the relationships defined above are analyzed using methods derived from complex systems and small world network science. Using the Prehistoric Bronze Age on Cyprus, a transitional period on a Mediterranean island with clear indications of changes in complexity from small egalitarian communities to those with social and economic leadership, the emergence of complexity will be tested at multiple scales across both space and time. These results are compared to Gini coefficients for scaling wealth inequality, and diversity measurements to understand how wealth and diversity co-vary with different kinds of social network arrangements and identify inequality thresholds for changes in social networks. The presented results will highlight a non-linear trajectory for social complexity in middle-range society.


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Social complexity and wealth inequality in middle-range society: A complex systems and network science approach to the Prehistoric Bronze Age on Cyprus. Laura Swantek. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429890)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16064

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