Rugg, G and Holland, N (2011) Quantifying novelty in the archaeological record. Palaeoanthropology, 2011. 166 -173. ISSN 1545-0031

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This paper describes two methods for quantification of novelty, which are not well known in archaeology. These extend the methodological toolkit available to researchers into culture and innovation. The methods are:

- Inverse frequency weighting. This involves allocating a weighting of 1/n to instances of the chosen item, so that
rarer items are given a heavier weighting than common ones, in a way which allows summing of novelty
across components.

- Minimum edit distance. This involves calculating the minimum number of changes which need to be made
to change one item into another specified item (e.g., the number of changes involved in changing from one manufacturing process to another).

Worked examples are given, showing how these can be used to quantify the novelty associated with specific changes in the archaeological record, such as the change from stone to copper and bronze. The article also shows how empirical approaches to measurement of novelty can be usefully linked to concepts from other literatures, such as the concept of the honest indicator, from evolutionary ecology, and to the literature on empirical aesthetics. The “Innovation and Evolution” workshop was held at the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins, University of Southampton, United Kingdom; workshop papers guest edited by Hannah Fluck (University of Southhampton; and, Landscape, Planning and Heritage, Hampshire County Council), Katharine MacDonald (Faculty of Archaeology, University of Leiden), and Natalie Uomini (School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool). This is article #6 of 7.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Gordon Rugg and Nikki Holland (2011) "Special Issue: Innovation and the Evolution of Human Behavior.Quantifying Novelty in the Archaeological Record." PaleoAnthropology 2011:166-173
Uncontrolled Keywords: archaeology, quantification, novelty, methodology
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Computing and Mathematics
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2016 08:21
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2016 08:30

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