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.
This model is an extended version of the original MERCURY model (https://www.comses.net/codebases/4347/releases/1.1.0/ ) . It allows for experiments to be performed in which empirically informed population sizes of sites are included, that allow for the scaling of the number of tableware traders with the population of settlements, and for hypothesised production centres of four tablewares to be used in experiments.
Experiments performed with this population extension and substantive interpretations derived from them are published in:
Hanson, J.W. & T. Brughmans. In press. Settlement scale and economic networks in the Roman Empire, in T. Brughmans & A.I. Wilson (ed.) Simulating Roman Economies. Theories, Methods and Computational Models. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
MERCURY aims to represent and explore two descriptive models of the functioning of the Roman trade system that aim to explain the observed strong differences in the wideness of distributions of Roman tableware.