Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …
Open Access

Open Archaeology

Editor-in-Chief: Harding, Anthony

Covered by:
Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Sources Citation Index

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

From 3D Scans to Networks: Using Swords to Understand Communities of Central European Bronze Age Smiths

Kristina Golubiewski-Davis
Published Online: 2018-04-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2018-0008


This case study uses 3D scans of Central European Bronze Age swords (~1400-800BC) to recreate community networks of knowledge. 3D scans of 111 bronze swords were analyzed, from which measurements including blade profile, hilt profile, and decorative shape data were collected. The data were analyzed using a variety of statistical methods. Cluster analysis was used to create links between the nodes of networks that were modelled. A community detection algorithm was run on the networks to examine potential communities of bronze smiths based on theorized manufacturing decisions. These analyses suggest there were four distinct areas within which craft workers were sharing knowledge.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: 3D Scanning; Bronze Swords; Network Analysis; Bronze Age; Fourier Analysis


  • Barabási, A. I. (2014). Linked: How everything is connected to everything else and what it means for business, science, and everyday life. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

  • Bastian, M., Heymann S. & Jacomy, M. (2009). Gephi: an open source software for exploring and manipulating networks. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.Google Scholar

  • Blake, E. (2014). Social Networks and Regional Identity in Bronze Age Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Blondel, V. D., Guillaume, J.L., Lambiotte, R. & Lefebvre, E. (2008). Fast unfolding of community hierarchies in large networks. Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment, doi:CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Brughmans, T. (2013). Thinking Through Networks: A Review of Formal Network Methods in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Method & Theory, 20(4), 623-662.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Bunnefeld, J.-H. (2014). Das Eigene und das Fremde - Anmerkungen zur Verbreitung der Achtkantschwerter. In L. Deutscher, M. Kaiser and S. Wetzler (Eds.), Das Schwert - Symbol und Waffe. Beiträge zur geisteswissenschaftlichen Nachwuchstagung vom 19.-20. Oktober 2012 in Freiburg/Breisgau. (pp. 17-32) Rahden: Leidorf.Google Scholar

  • Carr, C. & Neitzel, J. E. (Eds.). (1995). Style, Society, and Person: Archaeological and Ethnological Perspectives. New York: Plenum Press.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • CartoDB. “Location Intelligence Software - CARTO.” CARTO - Location Intelligence Software. Accessed 20 March 2016.Google Scholar

  • Christakis, N. & Fowler, J. H. (2009). Connected: How your friends’ friends’ friends affect everything you feel, think and do. New York: Black Bay Books.Google Scholar

  • Coles, J. (2000). Patterns in a Rocky Land: Rock Carvings in South-West Uppland, Sweden. Uppsala: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University.Google Scholar

  • Craddock, P. T. (1995). Early Metal Mining and Production. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar

  • Dallal, G. E. (2012) The Little Handbook of Statistical Practice. Version 1.10. Kindle edition.Google Scholar

  • Dietler, M. & Herbich, I. (1998). Habitus, Techniques, Style: An Integrated Approach to the Social Understanding of Material Culture and Boundaries. In M. T. Stark (Ed.), The Archaeology of Social Boundaries (pp. 232-263). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar

  • Farbstein, R. (2011). Technologies of art: A critical reassessment of Pavlovian art and society, using chaîne opératoire method and theory. Current Archaeology, 52(3), 401-432.Google Scholar

  • Golubiewski-Davis, K. (2016). Supplementary Data for Reconstructing Past Craft Network: A case study using 3D scans of Late Bronze Age swords to reconstruct specialized craft networks, PhD. Dissertation. Data Repository for U of M. http://dx.doi.org/10.13020/D6PK5CCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Harding, A. (1995). Die Schwerter im ehemaligen Jugoslawien. (Vol. Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV Band 14). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.Google Scholar

  • Holland, S. M. (2008). Principal components analysis (PCA). Department of Geology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.Google Scholar

  • Ioviţă, R. (2009). Ontogenetic scaling and lithic systematics: method and application. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36, 1447-1457.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Iwata, H. & Ukai, Y. (2002). SHAPE: A computer program package for quantitative evaluation of biological shapes based on elliptic Fourier descriptors. Journal of Heredity, 93, 384-385.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kemencezei, T. (1991). Die Schwerter in Ungarn II. (Vol. Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV Band 9). München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.Google Scholar

  • Knappett, C. (Ed.). (2013a). Network Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction. Oxford University Press: 2013.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Knappett, C. (2013). Introduction: Why Networks?. In C. Knappett (Ed.), Network Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction (pp. 201-210). Oxford University Press: 2013.Google Scholar

  • Krämer, W. (1985). Die Vollgriffschwerter in Österreich und der Schweiz (Vol. Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV Band 10). München: C.H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.Google Scholar

  • Kristiansen, K. (1998). Europe Before History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Kristiansen, K. (2011). Constructing Social and Cultural Identities in the Bronze Age. In B. W. Roberts, & M. V. Linden (Eds.), Investigating Archaeological Cultures: Material Culture, Variability, and Transmission (pp. 201-210). London: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Kristiansen, K. (2002). The tale of the sword - swords and swordfighters in Bronze Age Europe. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 21(4), 319-332.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kuhl, F. P. & Giardina, C. R. (1982) Elliptic Fourier features of a closed contour. Computer Graphics and Image Processing 18, 236-258.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kuijpers, M. (2008). Bronze Age Metalworking in the Netherlands (c.2000-800BC): A research into the preservation of metallurgy related artifacts and the social position of the smith. Leiden: Slidestone Press.Google Scholar

  • Kuijpers, M. (2017). The Bronze Age, a World of Specialists? Metalworking from the Perspective of Skill and Material Specialization. European Journal of Archaeology, 1-22. doi.org/10.1017/eaa.2017.59CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Latitude/Longitude Finder - MY NASA DATA. NASA. Accessed February 10, 2016. http://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/latitudelongitude-finder/.Google Scholar

  • Laux, F. (2009). Die Schwerter in Niedersachsen. (Vol. Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV Band 17). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. Lemonnier, P. (1992). Elements for an Anthropology of Technology. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan/ Museum of Anthropology.Google Scholar

  • McCulloh, I., Armstrong, H., & Johnson, A. (2013). Social Network Analysis with Applications. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

  • Mills, B. J. (2017). Social Network Analysis in Archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology, 46, 379-397.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Mödlinger, M. & Ntaflos, T. (2009). Manufacture and Use of Bronze Age Swords Multidisciplinary Investigation of Austrian Metal Hilted and Organic Hilted Swords. 2nd International Conference Archaeometallurgy in Europe 2007 Selected Papers (pp. 191-200). Aquileia, Italy: Associazione Italiana di Metallurgia.Google Scholar

  • Mödlinger, M. (2011). Herstellung und Verwendung bronzezeitlicher Schwerter Mitteleuropas (Vol. 193). Wien: Universitätsforschungen zur Prähistorischen Archäologie aud dem Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte der Universität Wien.Google Scholar

  • Molloy, B. (2017). Hunting Warriors: The Transformation of Weapons, Combat Practices and Society during the Bronze Age in Ireland. European Journal of Archaeology, 20(2), 280-316, doi.org/10.1017/eaa.2016.8.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Naue, J. (1903). Die vorrömischen Schwerter aus Kupfer, Bronze, und Eisen. München.Google Scholar

  • Neaher, N. C. (1979). Awka who travel : itinerant metalsmiths of southern Nigeria. Africa, 49(4), 352-366.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Prähistorische Bronzefunde (4.1-17). (1970-2009). München, Stuttgart: Beck, Steiner.Google Scholar

  • Reinecke, P. (1899). Studien zur Chronologie des ungarländischen Bronzealters. Teil 1. Budapest.Google Scholar

  • Rowlands, M. J. (1971). The archaeological interpretation of prehistoric metalworking. World Archaeology, 20(3), 210-224.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • SAS Institute Inc. 2016. SAS/STAT® 14.2 User’s Guide. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar

  • Sicherl, B. & Brandherm, D. (2001). Überlegungen zur Schwertproduktion der späten Urnenfelderzeit. Bemerkungen zur Herstellung späturnenfelderzeitlicher Vollgriffschwerter anhand zweier Beispiele von nördlich und südlich der Alpen. Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 31, 223-241.Google Scholar

  • Sicherl, B. (2004). Studien zur mittelbronzezeitlichen Bewaffnung in Tschechien, dem nördlichen Niederösterreich und der südwestlichen Slowakei. Bonn: Habelt.Google Scholar

  • Sorensen, M. L. S. & Rebay, K. (2005). Interpreting the body: burial practices at the Middle Bronze Age cemetery at Pitten. Archaeologia Austriaca 89, 153-175.Google Scholar

  • Stark, M. T. (1998). Technical Choices and Social Boundaries in Material Culture Patterning: An Introduction. In M. T. Stark (Ed.), The Archaeology of Social Boundaries (pp. 1-11). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar

  • Stockhammer, P. (2004). Zur Chronologie, Verbreitung und Interpreation urnenfolderzeitlicher Vollgriffschwerter. Rahden: Verlag Marie Leidorf GmbH.Google Scholar

  • Terrell, J. E. (2013). Social Network Analysis and the Practice of History. In C. Knappett (Ed.), Network Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction (pp. 201-210). Oxford Scholarship Online: doi:CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Tylecote, R. F. (1987). The early history of metallurgy in Europe. New York: Longman.Google Scholar

  • Von Quillfeldt, I. (1995). Die Vollgriffschwerter in Süddeutschland. (Vol. Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV Band 11). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.Google Scholar

  • Wells, P. S. (1989). Intensification, Entrepreneurship, and Cognitive Change in the Bronze - Iron Age transition. In M. L. Sorensen (Ed.), The Bronze Age - Iron Age Transition in Europe (Vol. BAR International Series 483(i)) (pp. 173-183). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.Google Scholar

  • Wüstemann, H. (2004). Die Schwerter in Ostdeutschland (Vol. Prähistorische Bronzefunde IV Band 15). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2017-05-23

Accepted: 2017-11-09

Published Online: 2018-04-28

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 123–144, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2018-0008.

Export Citation

© 2018. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in