Bipartite network diagram of Byzantine artefacts and site associations
Unlike the Roman Empire, based on a strong urban network, the Byzantine Empire, because of economic and demographic decline, was to rely on a network of smaller ports, harbours and beachheads. Some of these smaller sites may be recognised through the distribution of artefacts and, at times, even the presence of graffiti on rock faces. These, partly substituting the large ports of antiquity that were linked to large urbanised hinterlands, in aggregate allowed Constantinople to remain a strong political and commercial presence throughout the Mediterranean, until the spread of the Normans in Italy and, later, the Turks in the East. The evaluation of connectivity between the Byzantine territories of southern Italy with other areas of the Empire, the Mediterranean and northern and central Europe will be attained through the use of instruments such as affiliation network analysis.