“Transforming Legacy Spatial Data into Testable Hypotheses about Socioeconomic Organization,” co-authored by Assistant Professor of Anthropology Colin Quinn, was recently published in Advances in Archaeological Practice. It was written with Daniel Fivenson, a student with whom Quinn had worked while completing his graduate studies at the University of Michigan.
According to the authors, “legacy data can be a critical resource to help predict characteristics of sites and socioeconomic systems.” The article presents “a combined geographic information system and network analysis methodology” that the authors say “turns site location data into testable hypotheses about site characteristics and the organization of regional settlement systems.”
Using a case study from southwest Transylvania during the Bronze Age, Quinn and Fivenson developed testable predictions “about sites, regional networks, and socioeconomic systems that can be evaluated through future systematic surveys and large-scale excavations.
“Such testable hypotheses can inform archaeological research design by providing a quantitative basis for determining where to focus research efforts and can also help secure funding and fieldwork permits,” they said.
They noted that this method “can be applied in diverse archaeological contexts to reinvigorate legacy data as part of future archaeological research design.”