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Structure and Dynamics

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Understanding Ancient Societies: A New Approach Using Agent-Based Holistic Modeling


Archaeologists and other scholars interested in the past have begun to explore issues in ancient societies by incorporating new computer simulation techniques in their research. Among the popular approaches, agent-based methodologies are commonly used to answer questions involving the interactions of natural and social systems. Building upon such efforts, a new object-oriented simulation framework is being developed for ancient Mesopotamia that can assemble and execute highly complex simulation scenarios. This framework can be used to investigate socioecological interactions over a broad range of social, spatial, and temporal scales, allowing for a wide range of past socioecological issues to be concurrently addressed. Such capabilities are enabled by simulation tools that are flexible, scalable, and highly expressive. Perhaps the greatest promise of these tools for studying the past is their potential for enabling scholars to gain new insights by testing various theoretical hypotheses and perspectives in social-natural systems in a rich socioecological simulation context.

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