The Intellectual Base of Archaeological Research 2004-2013: a visualisation and analysis of its disciplinary links, networks of authors and conceptual language

Anthony Sinclair

Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, 12-14 Abercromby Square, Liverpool L69 7WZ, UK. Email: sinclair@liverpool.ac.uk http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7498-8379

Cite this as: Sinclair, A. (2016) The Intellectual Base of Archaeological Research 2004-2013: a visualisation and analysis of its disciplinary links, networks of authors and conceptual language, Internet Archaeology 42. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.42.8

Summary

Close-up screenshot of network map

An exponential growth in research outputs, the great diversity of sources used, and the number of active researchers in archaeology make it impossible for any individual to present an overview of the discipline using reading and narrative alone. It is suggested that archaeologists might instead take a lead from scientometric studies and develop visualisations of their discipline as a research domain using data extracted from the citation indices. Three visualisations of the intellectual base of archaeology are presented, in the form of network maps of sources used, authors and terms. These maps, with their clustering of nodes, reveal the extreme multidisciplinary nature of archaeological research, patterns of overlapping and divergent communication networks among archaeological researchers, and the language and conceptual knowledge of archaeology. They also show marked variation in the gendered structure of academic reputations as created through citation practices across a series of specialisms of archaeology. Finally, these maps also suggest that archaeology as a discipline might be characterised by a process of fractal division into subgroups of practitioners following distinct but repeated forms of engagement in their archaeological enquiry.

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