Social networking before Facebook: people, places and things from the earliest hunters and gatherers to settled agriculturalists, and everything in between.


Monday 1 October 2018, 1.00PM to 14:00

Speaker(s): Fiona Coward

The shift from a mobile hunting-and-gathering way of life to a more sedentary, village-based and ultimately agricultural lifestyle necessarily involved dramatic changes in social interaction, organization and identity, both at the group and individual level. In this talk I will discuss the potential of methods derived from network science and especially social network analysis for a new perspective on these changes. Analyses of a database of material culture from more than 500 sites from across the Near East at this time demonstrate some significant temporal trends in inter-group interaction over the course of this period, and highlight the fundamental significance of material culture to personal and group identity at this time. I will discuss the relationship between material culture and social change at this time, and also consider whether these developments are unique to the Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic, or whether the incorporation of material culture into social networks began much earlier and potentially helped shape the course of human evolution.

Location: The Philip Rahtz Lecture Theatre (K/133), King's Manor

Admission: This is part of the York Seminar series and is free to attend and open to all.