Regional Trajectories in Network Dynamics: the case of continued connections between the Aegean and Italy during the Bronze Age – Iron Age transition

  • K.A.M. van den Berg (Speaker)

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


Until recently, the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age (ca. 1250–1000 BC) was viewed as a major cultural breaking point in the archaeology of the Aegean. The period before the destruction of the palaces around 1200 BC was considered to have been a golden age, whereas the period following the destructions – known as LH IIIC or the Postpalatial period – was treated as an era of general decline and deterioration. Recent research, however, shows that the impact of the destructions greatly varies between regions; many sites continued to be inhabited and were still actively engaged in overseas contacts. Particularly conspicuous in this respect are the connections between the Aegean and Italy, because they do not only continue but actually seem to grow stronger after the destructions. This situation cannot be adequately explained by current interpretative models that attribute a central role to the palaces in the organization of external relations. As an alternative, I explore the potential of a network approach . One promising model is the so-called scale-free network. In this type of net¬work, some nodes (“hubs”) show a high degree of connectivity, whereas most nodes are connected to only a few others. As a result, the network is both robust and fragile: one failing hub will not cause a loss of connectedness, but the network will disinte¬grate when more major hubs fail. By using the scale-free network model, I arrive at the hypothesis that the survival of nonpalatial hubs was key to the continuation of Italo-Aegean interconnections. As a means to test this hypothesis, it is necessary to rephrase research questions in terms of network dynamics and to redirect the focus of research beyond the palaces by including other regions besides the archetypical palatial ones.
Period29 Nov 2012
Event titleIGBA Symposium
Event typeConference