Representing archaeology’s full complexity or too many assumptions about things you cannot know?
Agent-based Modelling (ABM), a simulation method that allows modelling the interaction of individual "agents" in explicit space and time, is recently gaining momentum in Archaeology (Rogers & Cegielski 2017, Lake 2014). Proponents of ABM emphasize that it allows representing archaeology’s full complexity (Barceló & Castillo 2016). At the same time, the preconceptions that are often associated with formal modelling are amplified by ABMs (Cegielski & Rogers 2016). One may summarize these preconceptions with the claim that ABMs make too many assumptions about things you cannot know. Should this methodology be rejected, if so many ad-hoc assumptions are necessary? Quite the opposite argues Edmund Chattoe-Brown (2013, §9.1): "ABM gives us a perspective from which to unpick preconceptions (based on existing research methods)". Especially in situations where we do not have enough evidence yet – and probably never will – using ABMs can be paramount as a tool for theory building: “models are not depictions of reality, but formal thought experiments designed to test and explore specific research questions” argue Drost and Vander Linden (2018).
14:00 to 14:10
14:10 to 14:30
Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff, Ruhr-University Bochum
14:30 to 15:15
Edmund Chattoe-Brown, University of Leicester
15:15 to 16:00
Marc Vander Linden, University of Cambridge
16:00 to 16:30
Edmund Chattoe-Brown (University of Leicester)
Marc Vander Lindern (University of Cambridge)
Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)
Michael Roos (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Moderation: Maja Gori & Frederik Schaff
16:30 to 17:00
Questions and comments from the local audience. This part is excluded from the streaming.
Snack & Chat open to all participants
Barceló JA & F del Castillo (2016): Simulating the Past for Understanding the Present. A Critical Review. Chapter 1. In JA Barceló, F del Castillo (eds.): Simulating prehistoric and ancient worlds. Cham, Switzerland: Springer (Computational social sciences).
Drost CJ & M Vander Linden (2018): Toy Story. Homophily, Transmission and the Use of Simple Simulation Models for Assessing Variability in the Archaeological Record. In Journal for Archaeological Method and Theory 122 (2): 1087–1108.
Chattoe-Brown E (2013): Why Sociology Should Use Agent Based Modelling. In Sociological Research Online 18 (3): 1–11.
Cegielski, Wendy H.; Rogers, J. Daniel (2016): Rethinking the role of Agent-Based Modeling in archaeology. In Journal Of Anthropological Archaeology 41: 283–298.
Lake, M. W. (2014): Trends in Archaeological Simulation. In Journal of Archaeological Methodology and Theory 21 (2), pp. 258–287.
Rogers, J. Daniel; Cegielski, Wendy H. (2017): Opinion. Building a better past with the help of agent-based modeling. In PNAS 114 (49): 12841–12844.