Over the past decade ‘network’ has become a buzz-word in many disciplines, including archaeology and history. Scholars in both disciplines have begun to explore the idea of complex networks in their efforts to understand social relationships in the past as well as technical relationships in their data, using methodologies drawn from complex network models devised by sociologists and physicists such as Duncan Watts and Albert-László Barabási. These recent developments in network analysis are based on a long tradition of work in many disciplines, including sociology, mathematics and physics, but with the increasing ubiquity of powerful computing technology across the academic spectrum, ‘network’ perspectives and methodologies are now becoming understood and used more broadly throughout the sciences and humanities.
In the winter of 2010, I and my colleagues Tom Brughmans (Southampton) and Fiona Coward (Bournemouth) decided that the time was right for a conference explicitly addressing network analysis in archaeology and history. The Connected Past was born – and we have gone from strength to strength organising conferences (the latest in Bournemouth in August 2017), conference sessions, and practical workshops to bring together scholars from across the globe using or seeking to use the methodological frame of networks and network analysis to think about their data, support each others research and to build this emerging research area within archaeology and history. Details of the various events can be found at The Connected Past.