By Carl Knappett

Whereas the research of networks has grown exponentially some time past decade and is now having an effect on how archaeologists research old societies, its emergence within the box has been dislocated. This quantity presents a coherent framework on community research in present archaeological perform by way of pulling jointly its major topics and techniques to teach the way it is altering the best way archaeologists face the foremost questions of nearby interplay.

Working with the time period 'network' as a set of nodes and hyperlinks, as utilized in community technology and social community research, it juxtaposes quite a number case reports and investigates the positives and negatives of community research. With contributions by way of prime specialists within the box, the amount covers a vast variety: from Japan to the United States, from the Palaeolithic to the Precolumbian.

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If history is taken to be about the past of people in society, then just below the surface of Carr’s classic question is an equally demanding one: Whose history are we writing? Although making rugs or projectile points may normally be the work of individuals, archaeologists generally say that they do not write about the history of individuals, but rather about the history of collective entities variously labelled as cultures, societies, polities, chiefdoms, states, and the like. But is the history of such corporate entities what Carr meant by the history of man in society?

Again, I think a lot of comparing and contrasting can be done using SNA methods without having to make any a priori assumptions about anyone’s ‘level of complexity’. Like Marcus, my colleague Bill Parkinson at the Field Museum is also interested in the evolution of complex societies. He has become well-known as someone who wants archaeologists to reinstate the term tribe to facilitate making the kinds of cross-cultural comparisons that Marcus (2008) favours. He is evidently convinced that such terminology ‘is a necessary evil within the social sciences, where the unit of analysis is seldom clearly defined’ (Parkinson 2002: 2).

The important thing to observe in this second figure is how remarkably restricted in their geographic reach are all of these language families with the notable exception of the Austronesian-speaking communities—just as we had noted in 1992. Fig. 3 is a first-, second-, and third-order proximal point analysis (one of the graphical network techniques I had devised in the 1970s; see Terrell 1986: 130–1) of these same communities carried out to identify probable geographic ‘neighbourhoods’ along this coastline.

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