Timothy Kohler

Paper #: 11-06-023

Processual archaeologists began employing some of the vocabulary now current in complexity studies in the 1960s and 1970s, inspired by cybernetics, general systems theory, and contemporary quantitative approaches in ecology and geography. Kent Flannery and David Clarke played especially notable roles in moving archaeology towards complexity approaches. Current and recent archaeological approaches to central concepts of complexity—emergence, self-organization, and innovation—are reviewed. Methodologically, archaeologists interested in complexity applications have usually gravitated towards scaling studies, agent-based modeling, or analysis and simulation of networks. A great need for innovative approaches to pattern recognition in archaeology remains to be filled.