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Northern Iroquoian Social Network Analysis

By A.D. 1350, most ceramic pots made by northern Iroquoian potters in New York, southern Ontario, portions of Pennsylvania, and the St. Lawrence River valley of Quebec, were made with collars. These are thickened bands of clay that extend around a pot and up to several down from the pot's lip. Collars were most often used as platforms on which to create often complex designs with many incised or stamped lines. These designs in turn functioned as signals that conveyed information about the pot's user(s); for example, what groups they belonged to. Using a formal graphing method called Social Network Analysis, we can gain new understandings on how people in northern Iroquoia interacted and how those interactions changed over time in the form of signaling networks. Results to date indicate that physical distance was not a major contraint on the similarity of collar designs, that signaling networks crosscut historical ethnic territories, and that signaling networks adapted to accommodate changes in regional socio-political systems.