Multiscalar perspectives on social networks in the late Prehispanic Southwest

Barbara J. Mills, Matthew A. Peeples, W. Randall Haas, Lewis Borck, Jeffery J. Clark, John M. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Analyzing historical trajectories of social interactions at varying scales can lead to complementary interpretations of relationships among archaeological settlements. We use social network analysis combined with geographic information systems at three spatial scales over time in the western U.S. Southwest to show how the same social processes affected network dynamics at each scale. The period we address, A.D. 1200-1450, was characterized by migration and demographic upheaval. The tumultuous late thirteenth-century interval was followed by population coalescence and the development of widespread religious movements in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In the southern Southwest these processes resulted in a highly connected network that drew in members of different settlements within and between different valleys that had previously been distinct. In the northern Southwest networks were initially highly connected followed by a more fragmented social landscape. We examine how different network textures emerged at each scale through 50-year snapshots. The results demonstrate the usefulness of applying a multiscalar approach to complex historical trajectories and the potential for social network analysis as applied to archaeological data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-24
Number of pages22
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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