SimulPast -- Simulating the Past to Understand Human Behaviour

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Social and environmental transitions represent key aspects to better understand human behaviour. From a complex systems perspective, the most decisive questions about human societal systems are related to the transitions between phases of equilibrium. Therefore, the study of these transitions is extremely interesting in order to move forward with our current understanding of human behaviour at macro, meso and micro-level. In that respect, ancient societies present a great opportunity to build a virtual laboratory in which to model, explore and simulate different hypotheses and theories about social and environmental transitions. This session will act as a showcase of the final results of the SimulPast project ( The philosophy on which SimulPast is based is transdisciplinary, evading the traditional division that sees the Humanities and Social Sciences and the often-called “Hard Sciences” as mutually impermeable areas of knowledge. Indeed, the research strategy on which the project has worked crossed many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-7 of 7)

  • Documents (7)

  • Climate, resources and strategies: simulating prehistoric populations in semi-arid environments (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carla Lancelotti. Xavier Rubio-Campillo. Matthieu Salpeteur. Marco Madella.

    The aim of this study is to model resource management and decision making among hunter-gatherer and agro-pastoral groups in semi-arid zones in order to explore evolutionary trajectories in relation to (a) the appearance of other specialized groups during the mid-Holocene and (b) environmental variability. The study of coexistence and interaction between groups with different subsistence strategies and land-use behaviours represents an interesting research challenge to understand socio-ecological...

  • Cooperative practices in hunter-fisher-gatherers from Tierra del Fuego: a study on resource visibility and social sharing (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jorge Caro. Maria Pereda. Ivan Briz. Myrian Álvarez. Debora Zurro.

    Cooperation studies have become an essential area of knowledge across different disciplines. Within the humanities and the social sciences, it has been used to explain human behaviour as well as the maintenance of the social tissue itself. It has also given clues to explain the variability and the plasticity of human social organization at different levels. In this presentation we focus on Yamana society a nomadic hunter-fisherer-gatherer group that inhabited the southernmost region of South...

  • Embedding Artificial Intelligence in Agent-Based Models (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Guillem Frances. Xavier Rubio. Carla Lancelotti. Alexis Torrano. Alex Albore.

    Agent-Based Models (ABMs) have been increasingly used to study social phenomena, from the emergence of social norms to population dynamics or cultural transmission processes. Key to this method of computational simulation is the tension for explaining how macroscopic phenomena emerge from the interaction of agents behaving in a plausible manner. However, the behavior is too often encoded as a simple set of condition-action rules. We consider this kind of rule-based behaviour too simplistic,...

  • Land use patterns in the arid Eurasia. Models and historical examples (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andreas Angourakis. Matthieu Salpeteur. Xavier Rubio-Campillo. Bernardo Rondelli. Sebastian Stride.

    The relation between the main variants of pre-industrial economic production in arid Eurasia, from nomadic pastoralism to irrigated agriculture, is known to have been unstable, with abundant examples of conflict and shifting patterns of land use right up to contemporary times. We present a brief review of our experience using Agent-Based models to identify mechanisms and system dynamics that could help explain the different land use configurations, which have been recorded archaeologically for...

  • Modelling group formation in small scale societies (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Xavier Rubio-Campillo. Enrico Crema.

    Several human activities require an optimal number of individuals to maximise their utility, often leading to the coexistence of positive and negative frequency dependence. This generates unstable equilibria, as group close to the optimal size will be invaded by joiners who will increase their fitness by becoming new members, leading either beneficial or detrimental effects to the incumbent members. If a group is optimally sized, incumbent member will experience a decline in fitness, while...

  • Neolithic transitions: demic or cultural? (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Joaquim Fort.

    We review a method to estimate the percentages of demic and cultural diffusion in Neolithic transitions (Fort, PNAS 2012). We extend that method and identify mainly demic and mainly cultural regions in Europe. SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or...

  • You go first. An agent-based model of mating-migration between early farming and foraging societies (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andrea Balbo. Jasmin Link. Jürgen Scheffran. et al..

    Following the introduction of agriculture, domestication and permanent settlement in the early Holocene, patrilinear and patrilocal models have become more common than matrilineal and matrilocal ones. While patrilocality is observed at the worldwide level, matrilocality has been associated to specific areas, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa. Matrilocal and patrilocal residence patterns indicate whether as a rule, a newly formed couple settles with or near the female’s or male’s parents respectively. In...