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

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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.

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