Computational Model Library

The Archaeological Sampling Experimental Laboratory (tASEL)

Isaac Ullah | Published Fri Mar 11 21:14:43 2022 | Last modified Wed Jun 1 20:46:45 2022

The Archaeological Sampling Experimental Laboratory (tASEL) is an interactive tool for setting up and conducting experiments about sampling strategies for archaeological excavation, survey, and prospection.

Studies of colonization processes in past human societies often use a standard population model in which population is represented as a single quantity. Real populations in these processes, however, are structured with internal classes or stages, and classes are sometimes created based on social differentiation. In this present work, information about the colonization of old Providence Island was used to create an agent-based model of the colonization process in a heterogeneous environment for a population with social differentiation. Agents were socially divided into two classes and modeled with dissimilar spatial clustering preferences. The model and simulations assessed the importance of gregarious behavior for colonization processes conducted in heterogeneous environments by socially-differentiated populations. Results suggest that in these conditions, the colonization process starts with an agent cluster in the largest and most suitable area. The spatial distribution of agents maintained a tendency toward randomness as simulation time increased, even when gregariousness values increased. The most conspicuous effects in agent clustering were produced by the initial conditions and behavioral adaptations that increased the agent capacity to access more resources and the likelihood of gregariousness. The approach presented here could be used to analyze past human colonization events or support long-term conceptual design of future human colonization processes with small social formations into unfamiliar and uninhabited environments.

Ger Grouper

Stefani Crabtree | Published Tue Jan 5 18:35:05 2021

A “Ger” is a yurt style house used by pastoralists in Mongolia. This model simulates seasonal movements, fission/fusion dynamics, social interaction between households and how these relate to climate impacts.


Stefani Crabtree | Published Tue Jan 5 18:07:20 2021

This model examines the economic interaction between Gaulish wheat farmers and Etruscan and Greek wine farming in 7th century B.C. France.

The Bronze Age Collapse model (BACO model) is written using free NetLogo software v.6.0.3. The purpose of using the BACO model is to develop a tool to identify and analyse the main factors that made the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age socio-ecological system resilient or vulnerable in the face of the environmental aridity recorded in the Aegean. The model explores the relationship between dependent and independent variables. Independent variables are: a) inter-annual rainfall variability for the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in the eastern Mediterranean, b) intensity of raiding, c) percentage of marine, agricultural and other calorie sources included in the diet, d) soil erosion processes, e) farming assets, and d) storage capacity. Dependent variables are: a) human pressure for land, b) settlement patterns, c) number of commercial exchanges, d) demographic behaviour, and e) number of migrations.

AncientS-ABM is an agent-based model for simulating and evaluating the potential social organization of an artificial past society, configured by available archaeological data. Unlike most existing agent-based models used in archaeology, our ABM framework includes completely autonomous, utility-based agents. It also incorporates different social organization paradigms, different decision-making processes, and also different cultivation technologies used in ancient societies. Equipped with such paradigms, the model allows us to explore the transition from a simple to a more complex society by focusing on the historical social dynamics; and to assess the influence of social organization on agents’ population growth, agent community numbers, sizes and distribution.

AncientS-ABM also blends ideas from evolutionary game theory with multi-agent systems’ self-organization. We model the evolution of social behaviours in a population of strategically interacting agents in repeated games where they exchange resources (utility) with others. The results of the games contribute to both the continuous re-organization of the social structure, and the progressive adoption of the most successful agent strategies. Agent population is not fixed, but fluctuates over time, while agents in stage games also receive non-static payoffs, in contrast to most games studied in the literature. To tackle this, we defined a novel formulation of the evolutionary dynamics via assessing agents’ rather than strategies’ fitness.

As a case study, we employ AncientS-ABM to evaluate the impact of the implemented social organization paradigms on an artificial Bronze Age “Minoan” society, located at different geographical parts of the island of Crete, Greece. Model parameter choices are based on archaeological evidence and studies, but are not biased towards any specific assumption. Results over a number of different simulation scenarios demonstrate better sustainability for settlements consisting of and adopting a socio-economic organization model based on self-organization, where a “heterarchical” social structure emerges. Results also demonstrate that successful agent societies adopt an evolutionary approach where cooperation is an emergent strategic behaviour. In simulation scenarios where the natural disaster module was enabled, we observe noticeable changes in the settlements’ distribution, relating to significantly higher migration rates immediately after the modeled Theran eruption. In addition, the initially cooperative behaviour is transformed to a non-cooperative one, thus providing support for archaeological theories suggesting that the volcanic eruption led to a clear breakdown of the Minoan socio-economic system.

Geographic Expansion Model (GEM)

Sean Bergin | Published Fri Feb 28 17:41:57 2020

The purpose of this model is to explore the importance of geographic factors to the settlement choices of early Neolithic agriculturalists. In the model, each agriculturalist spreads to one of the best locations within a modeler specified radius. The best location is determined by choosing either one factor such as elevation or slope; or by ranking geographic factors in order of importance.

Roman Amphora reuse

Tom Brughmans | Published Wed Aug 7 13:41:32 2019

A model that allows for representing key theories of Roman amphora reuse, to explore the differences in the distribution of amphorae, re-used amphorae and their contents.

This model generates simulated distributions of prime-use amphorae, primeuse contents (e.g. olive oil) and reused amphorae. These simulated distributions will differ between experiments depending on the experiment’s variable settings representing the tested theory: variations in the probability of reuse, the supply volume, the probability of reuse at ports. What we are interested in teasing out is what the effect is of each theory on the simulated amphora distributions.

The results presented in the related publication (Brughmans and Pecci in press) for all experiments were obtained after running the simulation for 1000 time steps, at which point the simulated distribution patterns have stabilized.

Peer reviewed lgm_ecodynamics

Colin Wren | Published Mon Apr 22 20:46:09 2019

This is a modification of a model published previous by Barton and Riel-Salvatore (2012). In this model, we simulate six regional populations within Last Glacial Maximum western Europe. Agents interact through reproduction and genetic markers attached to each of six regions mix through subsequent generations as a way to track population dynamics, mobility, and gene flow. In addition, the landscape is heterogeneous and affects agent mobility and, under certain scenarios, their odds of survival.

MERCURY extension: transport-cost

Tom Brughmans | Published Mon Jul 23 11:08:11 2018

This is extended version of the MERCRUY model (Brughmans 2015) incorporates a ‘transport-cost’ variable, and is otherwise unchanged. This extended model is described in this publication: Brughmans, T., 2019. Evaluating the potential of computational modelling for informing debates on Roman economic integration, in: Verboven, K., Poblome, J. (Eds.), Structural Determinants in the Roman World.

Brughmans, T., 2015. MERCURY: an ABM of tableware trade in the Roman East. CoMSES Comput. Model Libr. URL

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