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Environmental Variation and Technological Change: Results of an Agent-based Simulation

Author(s): Cheyenne Laue

Year: 2017

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Summary

Computer modeling is an increasingly important aspect of evolutionary anthropology and archaeology. Computer models of change in cultural and technological forms are often highly revelatory of the ways in which large-scale evolutionary patterns arise from the local interactions between individuals. As such, the results of these models may have broad implications, both within the anthropological sciences and without. This paper details simulation results from an agent-based model of cultural evolution that focuses on the processes of technological innovation and diffusion. In particular, the model discussed here examines the emergence of different technological strategies in the context of spatial structuring and environmental variation. Drawing from both population genetics and cultural evolutionary theory, this model is oriented around previous work on evolutionary dynamics and parameters such as cultural selection and drift, and population size and density. Model results are discussed in the context of current archaeological understandings of the relationship between technological complexity, specialization, and environmental change.


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Environmental Variation and Technological Change: Results of an Agent-based Simulation. Cheyenne Laue. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431523)


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Abstract Id(s): 15980

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America