Many Roman Bazaars: exploring the need for simple computational models in the study of the Roman economy

Author(s): Tom Brughmans; Shawn Graham

Year: 2015


The study of the Roman economy is a battlefield of sometimes conflicting archaeological and historical models. Each model argues for different factors as the driving forces of the Roman economy. Yet the model authors rarely make explicit how their descriptions of the functioning of Roman trade can be abstracted as concepts that allow comparison with other models. Moreover, the development of these descriptive models has not gone hand in hand with the development of methods that allow for them to be formally represented, tested, or compared.

This paper explores the use of simple computational models for exploring the many descriptive models of the Roman economy. It presents two agent-based models developed using different conceptualisations of Peter Bang’s (2008) descriptive Roman Bazaar model. It concludes that general patterns in diverse archaeological data types allow one to test different aspects of descriptive models through computational modelling. However, to facilitate this process, authors of descriptive models should provide guidelines of how their models can be expressed using common concepts, as well as describe the expected data patterns that would be the outcomes of their model, which would allow for their models to be tested against archaeological data and compared with other models.

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Cite this Record

Many Roman Bazaars: exploring the need for simple computational models in the study of the Roman economy. Shawn Graham, Tom Brughmans. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395148)


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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;