Past social network reconstruction from material culture data

Project: Research

Project Details


This data-driven project establishes interdisciplinary collaboration between archaeologists and
network scientists to create the first integrated computational workflow for reconstructing past
social networks from material culture data. It will enhance archaeological method and theory for
network data representation of material culture data and for testing assumptions about how this data reflects past social networks. It will also enrich network science: archaeology provides network data with critical incompleteness issues but that is also rich in metadata. The project will enable studies on the diversity of social networks of our species, and how processes evolve over long time periods beyond the scope of current social network studies.

Layman's description

Social networks shape human behaviour and interactions. They are a medium through which
beliefs, innovations, and diseases spread. An accurate reconstruction of past social networks using
archaeological data is crucial for understanding cultural and disease transmissions in past and
present human societies, but our empirical understanding of past social networks is in its infancy.
How did social network structures change over centuries, and how did innovations and disease flow
through them?
Effective start/end date11/03/202410/09/2026

Collaborative partners


  • Villum Foundation: DKK2,999,409.00


  • social networks
  • archaeology
  • complex networks
  • roman empire


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