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Non-traditional tools and mediums can provide unique methodological and interpretive opportunities for archaeologists. In this case, the Unreal Engine (UE), which is typically used for games and media, has provided a powerful tool for non-programmers to engage with 3D visualization and programming as never before. UE has a low cost of entry for researchers as it is free to download and has user-friendly “blueprint” tools that are visual and easily extendable. Traditional maritime mobility in the Salish Sea is examined using an agent-based model developed in blueprints. Focusing on the sea canoe travel of the Straits Salish northwestern Washington State and southwest British Columbia. This simulation integrates GIS data to assess travel time between Coast Salish archaeological village locations and archaeologically represented resource gathering areas. Transportation speeds informed by ethnographic data were used to examine travel times for short forays and longer inter-village journeys. The results found that short forays tended to half day to full day trips when accounting for resource gathering activities. Similarly, many locations in the Salish Sea were accessible in long journeys within two to three days, assuming fair travel conditions. While overall transportation costs to reach sites may be low, models such as these highlight the variability in transport risk and cost. The integration of these types of tools, traditionally used for entertainment, can increase the accessibility of modeling approaches to researchers, be expanded to digital storytelling, including aiding in the teaching of traditional ecological knowledge and placenames, and can have wide applications beyond maritime archaeology.
This is v0.01 of a UE5.2.1 agent based model.