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Palaeoenvironmental data indicate that the climate of south-western Madagascar has changed repeatedly over the past millennium. Combined with socio-political challenges such as warfare and slave raiding, communities continually had to mitigate against risk. Here, the authors apply social network analysis to pottery assemblages from sites on the Velondriake coast to identify intercommunity connectivity and changes over time. The results indicate both continuity of densely connected networks and change in their spatial extent and structure. These network shifts coincided with periods of socio-political and environmental perturbation attested in palaeoclimate data and oral histories. Communities responded to socio-political and environmental risk by reconfiguring social connections and migrating to areas of greater resource availability or political security.
Structure from motion (SfM) mapping is a photogrammetric technique that offers a cost-effective means of creating three-dimensional (3-D) visual representations from overlapping digital photographs. The technique is now used more frequently to document the archaeological record. We demonstrate the utility of SfM by studying red scoria bodies known as pukao from Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile). We created 3-D images of 50 pukao that once adorned the massive statues (moai) of Rapa Nui and compare them to 13 additional pukao located in Puna Pau, the island's red scoria pukao quarry. Through SfM, we demonstrate that the majority of these bodies have petroglyphs and other surface features that are relevant to archaeological explanation and are currently at risk of continued degradation.
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