Digitale Geschichte und Historiographie

Conceptual framework of assessing the influence of cultural complexity to settlement pattern formation

Settlement patterns are one of the main products of prehistorical archaeological research and are used as spatial projections of past societies. In current paper we study how geographical locational data can reveal information about cultural complexity. The formation of the patterns is influenced by multiple factors from human-environment interactions to complex processes within society.
We analyse the forces behind formation of settlement patterns from an agent based modelling perspective. For the purpose we construct a spatial discrete choice model and formulate it using random utility theory. We argue that agent decisions in the models can be decomposed into different rulesets. Those rules are mostly determined by attraction to natural affordances and sociocultural behaviours.
Paleoecological and geological data can be used to extract information about human attraction to natural affordances. Analysing the resulting empirical data can reveal the significance of environment as determining settlement choice which we argue is declining with growing cultural complexity.

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