Digitale Geschichte und Historiographie

Agent-based modeling as an interdisciplinary bridge in spatial humanities. Designing the modeling framework for simulation of Mesolithic settlement patterns

Settlement patterns have been one of the central products of Stone Age archaeological research. Because of long time spans and very scarce information, scientific explanations of the patterns are usually limited to just defining the areas of the phenomena of interest. Any further deductions about past communities tend to be without additional proof and thus presented as hypotheses in scientific literature.

In this paper we introduce a study that seeks to create a general framework for modeling the emergence of settlement patterns. The central concept for modeling is the human / social perception of the environment and how it is related to potential residential space – places that can be used for human habitation. We hypothesize that the human perception can be used to simulate the processes of emergence of immigration and seasonal mobility.

The first goal of the research is to identify possible knowledge sources (eg. paleoecology,
geography, geology, anthropology) that give information about residential mobility of pre-agricultural societies. The second goal is to translate selected knowledge to algorithmic representation and evaluate its usability for modeling. The purpose of which is to find the determining factors in the emergence of the settlement patterns and to distinguish between emerging and irreducibly complex phenomena.

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