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Community structure of copper supply networks in the prehistoric Balkans: An independent evaluation of the archaeological record from the 7th to the 4th millennium BC

Radivojević, M; Grujić, J; (2018) Community structure of copper supply networks in the prehistoric Balkans: An independent evaluation of the archaeological record from the 7th to the 4th millennium BC. Journal of Complex Networks , 6 (1) pp. 106-124. 10.1093/comnet/cnx013. Green open access

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Abstract

Complex network analyses of many physical, biological and social phenomena show remarkable structural regularities [1]-[3], yet, their application in studying human past interaction remains underdeveloped. Here, we present an innovative method for identifying community structures in the archaeological record that allows for independent evaluation of the copper using societies in the Balkans, from c. 6200 to c. 3200 BC. We achieve this by exploring modularity of networked systems of these societies across an estimated 3000 years. We employ chemical data of copper-based objects from 79 archaeological sites as the independent variable for detecting most densely interconnected sets of nodes with a modularity maximization method [4]. Our results reveal three dominant modular structures across the entire period, which exhibit strong spatial and temporal significance. We interpret patterns of copper supply among prehistoric societies as reflective of social relations, which emerge as equally important as physical proximity. Although designed on a variable isolated from any archaeological and spatiotemporal information, our method provides archaeologically and spatiotemporally meaningful results. It produces models of human interaction and cooperation that can be evaluated independently of established archaeological systematics, and can find wide application on any quantitative data from archaeological and historical record.

Type: Article
Title: Community structure of copper supply networks in the prehistoric Balkans: An independent evaluation of the archaeological record from the 7th to the 4th millennium BC
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/comnet/cnx013
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/comnet/cnx013
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Archaeology, complex networks, Balkans, copper, trace elements, modularity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056061
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