Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 3537–3548 | Cite as

The small-world topology of Clovis lithic networks

  • Briggs BuchananEmail author
  • Marcus J. Hamilton
  • J. David Kilby
Original Paper


North America was first settled in the late Pleistocene by Paleoindian peoples, Clovis is the best documented archeological complex associated with this settlement. Undoubtedly, Clovis groups faced adaptive challenges in the novel environments of a sparsely populated New World. In this paper, we ask whether Clovis had small-world networks to help them create and maintain connections across the vast landscape of western North America. Small worlds are properties of many real networks and are characterized by high clustering and short path lengths. To investigate this, we examined the topology of Clovis lithic networks in western North America. We employed two commonly used measures of network topology in our analyses of regional Clovis lithic networks and show that stone raw material was transported and exchanged with the characteristics of a small world. We also show that caching and the long-distance movement of stone was an important part of creating small worlds. Clovis small-world lithic networks may have mapped onto Clovis social networks or may have been independent of other networks, but either way, lithic exchange networks were far from random and served an important role in connecting local populations.


Clovis Lithic network Small world Caches 


Supplementary material

12520_2018_767_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Briggs Buchanan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marcus J. Hamilton
    • 2
  • J. David Kilby
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of TulsaTulsaUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA

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