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Friday, April 1 • 15:55 - 16:20
S14-14 Everything seems possible: Exploring the parametric space of a simulated prehistoric scenario

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EVERYTHING SEEMS POSSIBLE: Exploring the parametric space of a simulated prehistoric scenario.

Juan Antonio Barceló, Florencia Del Castillo Bernal

Simulated scenarios allow exploring (by altering the variables) the entire possible range of outcomes for different past behaviors. Therefore, the starting point of the explanation of social systems by means of computer simulation is not the simulation of one particular system but the investigation of the mathematically possible development of specific classes of model systems (pure systems). As these pure systems usually generate a lot more different paths of development than are known from real human history, the automated archaeologist has to limit these possibilities by introducing known social constraints from social reality. The socially interesting question is then why these constraints appeared in reality. Each one of the resulting “simulations” of a historical trajectory of events can be used both to experiment with a theory of historical transition and social change (parameters are manipulated to test for predicted differences) and as a demonstration tool (parameters are manipulated to test for predicted robustness). In this paper we present a way of using experimentally a simulated universal model of a hunter-gatherer past, in which manipulations are allowed for agent-level parameters to test the global implications of behavioral assumptions in the case of small-scale prehistoric societies, but also it is allowed to manipulate global parameters to test a macro theory about the dynamical implications of social behavior assumptions in the case of more complex societies. Different initial parameters are fully explored, and all possible combinations between them (Initial number of households, household size, mean resource on patch, technological efficiency at start-up, mobility, internal change rate). The paper presents how variation in those parameters affect total survival, technology transfer, social interaction, intensity of cooperation, cultural diversity and social polarity.

Friday April 1, 2016 15:55 - 16:20 CEST
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