Reconstructing Human-Centered Interaction Networks of the Swifterbant Culture in the Dutch Wetlands: An Example from the ArchaeoEcology Project

Philip Verhagen*, Stefani Crabtree, Hans Peeters, Daan Raemaekers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

In archaeology, palaeo-ecological studies are frequently used to support archaeological investigations, but linking and synthesizing datasets and concepts from ecology, ethnography, earth sciences, and archaeology has historically been rare. While advances in computational approaches and standards of data collection have enabled more collaborative approaches to understanding the past, these endeavors are only now beginning to pick up pace. Here, we propose a method to collect data of these assorted types, synthesize ecological and archaeological understanding, and move beyond subsistence-focused studies to those that incorporate multifaceted economies. We advocate for the use of ‘human-centered interaction networks’ as a tool to synthesize and better understand the role of culture, ecology, and environment in the long-term evolution of socio-ecological systems. We advance the study of human-centered interaction networks by presenting an archaeoecological (archaeological-ecological) perspective on the Neolithic transition of the Swifterbant culture in the northwestern Netherlands (approximately 4700–4000 BCE). We employed network science to better understand the relationships of animal and plant species to the uses that people made of them. The analysis of the Swifterbant system reveals a highly connected set of interactions among people, plants, and animals, as could be expected on the basis of the hypothesis of an ‘extended broadspectrum economy’. Importantly, this broad spectrum extends beyond the subsistence sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4860
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Sciences
Volume11
Early online date1-Jan-2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25-May-2021

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