FREDERIQUE BERTONCELLO - Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, CEPAM - UMR 7264 CNRS, Nice - Keywords: Agent-Based Modeling

FREDERIQUE BERTONCELLO - Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, CEPAM - UMR 7264 CNRS, Nice - Keywords: Agent-Based Modeling

Contribution title: Modeling complex systems in Archaeology: general issues and first insights from the ModelAnSet project


After the first forays at the end of the 1960s under the influence of the « New Archaeology » movement, the theory of complex systems really spread in archaeology from the end of the 1990s. Complexity theory provides useful concepts for archaeological issues related to the understanding of past societies and their environment. More specifically, Agent-Based Modeling is a relevant tool to explore scenarios and to test hypotheses about the impacts of complex socio-environmental interactions on the transformations of ancient settlement systems evident in archaeological records. This paper will first make a brief review of the particular characters and challenges of archaeological models, which must use heterogenous (archaeological, textual, palaeoenvironmental), uncertain, and flawed data (the collected data only represent a portion of past reality, and the representativeness of this sample is usually not quantifiable) to simulate systems that are, by definition, non-reproducible. We will then present as a case study a work in progress involving the archaeologists, historians, palaeoenvironmentalists, geographers, economists, and computer scientists of the project ModelAnSet (Modeling the role of socio-environmental interactions on Ancient Settlement Dynamics) supported by UCA JEDI Academy 2 « Complex Systems ». Agent-Based Modeling is used to explore the respective roles of environmental and social factors in the evolution of the settlement pattern and dynamics during the Roman period in South-Eastern France.