Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 1–32

Networks in Archaeology: Phenomena, Abstraction, Representation

  • Anna Collar
  • Fiona Coward
  • Tom Brughmans
  • Barbara J. Mills

DOI: 10.1007/s10816-014-9235-6

Cite this article as:
Collar, A., Coward, F., Brughmans, T. et al. J Archaeol Method Theory (2015) 22: 1. doi:10.1007/s10816-014-9235-6


The application of method and theory from network science to archaeology has dramatically increased over the last decade. In this article, we document this growth over time, discuss several of the important concepts that are used in the application of network approaches to archaeology, and introduce the other articles in this special issue on networks in archaeology. We argue that the suitability and contribution of network science techniques within particular archaeological research contexts can be usefully explored by scrutinizing the past phenomena under study, how these are abstracted into concepts, and how these in turn are represented as network data. For this reason, each of the articles in this special issue is discussed in terms of the phenomena that they seek to address, the abstraction in terms of concepts that they use to study connectivity, and the representations of network data that they employ in their analyses. The approaches currently being used are diverse and interdisciplinary, which we think are evidence of a healthy exploratory stage in the application of network science in archaeology. To facilitate further innovation, application, and collaboration, we also provide a glossary of terms that are currently being used in network science and especially those in the applications to archaeological case studies.


Archaeology Network science Social network analysis Relational archaeology 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Collar
    • 1
  • Fiona Coward
    • 2
  • Tom Brughmans
    • 3
  • Barbara J. Mills
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Classical ArchaeologyAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology, Anthropology and Forensic ScienceBournemouth UniversityDorsetUK
  3. 3.Department of Computer and Information ScienceUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  4. 4.School of AnthropologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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