Colloquium on Digital History and the Transnational History of Nursing Eat, Drink and Be Networked: Feasting and Bronze Age Networks Zack Batist Directed Interdisciplinary Studies Faculty Supervisor, Dr. Shawn Graham March 23, 2012
Project Goals• To learn how design, implement and interpret the results of projects that utilize digital components and methodologies• To explore the use of network analysis in an archaeological setting• To study how the consumption of intoxicating substances contributed to the social stratification of early societies• This was accomplished by studying the distribution of pottery relating to feasting across the Bronze Age Aegean
The Emergence of a Social Hierarchy• The presence of luxury vessels that were reserved for the activities of the wealthy would signify the presence of an upper class, who mobilized resources and oversaw the centralized economies of this setting• The middle/late Bronze Age was a period of transition from a more-or-less egalitarian society to an increasingly hierarchical chiefdom structure with an elite class.• Feasting is an interesting example of conspicuous consumption, through which the leader reinforced his leadership and links to the his allies, while also emphasizing his distinction from the rest of the community.
Network Analysis in Archaeology and the Social Sciences• Network analysis is a method to find relationships between entities that are not plainly obvious.• This set of methods is especially useful in archaeology, since the accumulation of intertwined data is difficult to analyze and interpret• It provides a systematic approach to examine social relationships in a quantitative way.• Network analysis can be used to examine the relationships between any kinds of variables• In the social sciences, interpretation requires the consideration of the nature of what nodes actually represent• When working with objects, they must mean something to the people who used them
Dataset• Individual vessels were recorded from excavation reports – Problems included uneven depths of excavations, limited access to reports• Total of 5669 vessels were recorded – Of them, 2995 vessels were included in the analysis.• Ten sites were included in the analysis• Variations within a pottery type were ‘lumped’ together• Luxury pottery is easily classifiable by function to the activities of the elite within a hierarchal society.
Computational Methods• Gephi – www.gephi.org.• Metrics used:• Degree - The degree represents the number of connections that a particular node is directly associated with.• Betweeness Centrality - The betweeness centrality is the measure of how often a particular node acts as an intermediary between the pats of any two other nodes in a given network. This is usually expressed as an index value.• Modularity - This metric identifies small sub-communities of nodes within the overall network. Densely packed groupings are often connected with less dense intermediaries. In social network analysis, the identification of these sub-communities often reflect real-world applications.Ulrik Brandes, “A Faster Algorithm for Betweenness Centrality,” The Journal of Mathematical Sociology 25, no. 2 (2001): 163–177.Vincent D Blondel et al., “Fast Unfolding of Communities in Large Networks,” Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment 2008, no. 10 (October 9, 2008): P10008.
Ariadne Algorithm• Developed by Evans, Rivers and Knappet• Applied to 34 Bronze Age locations of the Aegean• Included factors that ‘push’ or ‘pull’ people to travel to certain sites – Access to resources, population dynamics, carrying capacity• Also incorporates wind and sea currents, sailing technology and physical location• Tim Evans, Ray Rivers and Carl Knappett, “Interactions in Space for Archaeological Models,” 2011• Carl Knappett, Tim Evans, and Ray Rivers, “Modelling Maritime Interaction in the Aegean Bronze Age,” Antiquity 82, no. 318 (2008): 1009–1024.
One-Mode Network (Pottery) • Displays the relationships between luxury pottery types, based on their co-presence at various archaeological sites • Two separate modules are displayed • Alabastron & Stirrup jar have high centrality values and link these distinct communities
One-Mode Network (Sites) • Displays the relationships between archaeological sites based on which luxury pottery types were found at each one • No luxury vessels at Amorgos, according to this dataset
Some Key Lessons Concerning Network Analysis in the Social Sciences• It is very important to establish goals early on• Data collection must suit these goals• Good quality data is crucial, since the analysis and interpretation are dependent on it• If the interpretations are of social interactions, the dataset must be representative of this – Artifacts must mean something to the people who used them• The digital humanities are about extending the reach of traditional methods of academic research by using technology, working in an interdisciplinary environment, facilitating collaboration with other scholars, and the publication of results in an open and