The Equifinality of Archaeological Networks: an Agent-Based Exploratory Lab Approach
- 760 Downloads
When we find an archaeological network, how can we explore the necessary versus contingent processes at play in the formation of that archaeological network? Given a set of circumstances or processes, what other possible network shapes could have emerged? This is the problem of equifinality, where many different means could potentially arrive at the same end result: the networks that we observe. This paper outlines how agent-based modelling can be used as a laboratory for exploring different processes of archaeological network formation. We begin by describing our best guess about how the (ancient) world worked, given our target materials (here, the networks of production and patronage surrounding the Roman brick industry in the hinterland of Rome). We then develop an agent-based model of the Roman extractive economy which generates different kinds of networks under various assumptions about how that economy works. The rules of the simulation are built upon the work of Bang (2006; 2008) who describes a model of the Roman economy which he calls the ‘imperial Bazaar’. The agents are allowed to interact, and the investigators compare the kinds of networks this description generates over an entire landscape of economic possibilities. By rigorously exploring this landscape, and comparing the resultant networks with those observed in the archaeological materials, the investigators will be able to employ the principle of equifinality to work out the representativeness of the archaeological network and thus the underlying processes.
KeywordsAgent-based modelling Networks Roman economic history Simulation Trade Natural resources
An early exploration of this model was presented at the Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World conference in Brussels, May 2011. A subsequent elaboration was presented at SAA2013 in Honolulu at the Connected Past session. We would like to thank Paul Erdkamp, Koen Verboven and Tom Brughmans for inviting us to participate in those conferences, and also the participants for their insight and criticism of these ideas. Thanks also to Fiona Coward, Anna Collar and Barbara Mills for their feedback and support for this special issue. Various drafts have been seen by various people at various stages, and we thank them for their comments and patience, especially Mark Lawall. We are especially grateful for the thoughtful and generous comments of the anonymous peer reviewers. Errors of logic or understanding are of course our own.
- Agar, M. (2003). My kingdom for a function: modeling misadventures of the innumerate. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 6(3) http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/6/3/8.html. Accessed 19 Sep 2013.
- Aubert, J.-J. (1994). Business managers in Ancient Rome. A Social and Economic Study of Institores, 200 BC – AD 250. Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 21. New York: E.J. Brill.Google Scholar
- Bang, P. (2006). Imperial Bazaar: towards a comparative understanding of markets in the Roman Empire. In P. Bang, M. Ikeguchi, & H. Ziche (Eds.), Ancient economies modern methodologies. Archaeology, comparative history, models and institutions (pp. 51–88). Bari: Edipuglia.Google Scholar
- Bang, P. (2008). The Roman Bazaar. A comparative study of trade and markets in a tributary empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Barabási, A.-L. (2002). Linked: the new science of networks. Cambridge: Perseus.Google Scholar
- Bastian, M., S. Heymann, & Jacomy, M. (2009). Gephi: An open source software for exploring and manipulating networks. Third International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2009), San Jose, Ca. 2009. http://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/09/paper/view/154 and http://gephi.org.
- Box, G., & Draper, N. (1987). Empirical model-building and response surfaces. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Christakis, N., & Fowler, M. (2009). Connected: the surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.Google Scholar
- Cilliers, P. (1998). Complexity and postmodernism: understanding complex systems. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Drummond, A. (1989). Early Roman clientes. In A. Wallace-Hadrill (Ed.), Patronage in ancient society (pp. 89–116). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Garnsey, P., & Woolf, G. (1989). Patronage of the rural poor in the Roman world. In A. Wallace-Hadrill (Ed.), Patronage in ancient society (pp. 153–170). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Gilbert, N., & Troitzsch, K. (2005). Simulation for the social scientist (2nd ed.). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Graham, S. (2005). Of lumberjacks and brick stamps: working with the Tiber as infrastructure. In A. MacMahon & J. Price (Eds.), Roman urban living (pp. 106–124). Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
- Graham, S. (2006a). Ex Figlinis: The Network Dynamics of the Tiber Valley Brick Industry in the Hinterland of Rome. BAR International Series 1468. Oxford: John Hedges.Google Scholar
- Graham, S. (2006c). Who’s in charge? Studying social networks in the roman brick industry in Central Italy. In C. Mattusch & A. Donohue (Eds.), Proceedings of the XVIth International Congress of Classical Archaeology (pp. 359–362). Oxford: Oxbow.Google Scholar
- Graham, S. (2009a). The space between: The Geography of Social Networks in the Tiber Valley. In Coarelli, F. and H. Patterson (eds.) Mercator Placidissimus: the Tiber Valley in Antiquity. New research in the upper and middle river valley. Proceedings of the Conference held at the British School at Rome, 27-28 Feb. 2004. (pp.671-686) Rome: British School at Rome – Edizioni QVASAR.Google Scholar
- Graham, S. (2009b). Behaviour space: Simulating Roman social life and civil violence. Digital Studies / Le Champ Numérique, 1(2). http://www.digitalstudies.org/ojs/index.php/digital_studies/article/view/172/214. Accessed 18 Sep 2013.
- Graham, S., & Ruffini, G. (2007). Network analysis and Greco-Roman prosopography. In K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, (ed.) Prosopography Approaches and Applications. A Handbook. Occasional Publications of the Unit for Prosopographical Research (pp. 325–336). Oxford: Linacre College.Google Scholar
- Graham, S., & Steiner, J. (2008). Travellersim: growing settlement structures and territories with agent-based modelling. In J. Clark & E. Hagemeister (Eds.), Digital discovery: exploring new frontiers in human heritage. CAA 2006. Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology. Proceedings of the 34th Conference, Fargo, United States, April 2006 (pp. 57–67). Budapest: Archaeolinga.Google Scholar
- Grimm, V., Berger, U., Bastiansen, F., Eliassen, S., Ginot, V., Giske, J., Goss-Custard, J., Grand, T., Heinz, S. K., Huse, G., Huth, A., Jepsen, J. U., Jørgensen, C., Mooij, W. M., Müller, B., Pe'err, G., Piou, C., Railsback, S. F., Robbins, A. M., Robbins, M. M., Rossmanith, E., Rüger, N., Strand, E., Souissi, S., Stillman, R. A., Vabø, R., Visser, U., & DeAngelis, D. L. (2006). A standard protocol for describing individual-based and agent-based models. Ecological Modelling, 198(1-2), 115–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Helen, T. (1975). Organization of roman brick production in the first and second centuries A. D.: an interpretation of Roman Brick stamps. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia.Google Scholar
- Horden, P., & Purcell, N. (2000). The corrupting sea: a study of Mediterranean history. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Kiiskinen, H. (2009). Review of: The Roman Bazaar: A Comparative Study of Trade and Markets in a Tributary Empire. Cambridge Classical Studies (51 2009). Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.06.51 http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2009/2009-06-51.html. Accessed 20 Nov 2013.
- Knappett, C. (2011). An archaeology of interaction. Network perspectives on material culture and society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Kowarik, K., Reschreiter, H., & Wurzer, G. (2012). Modelling Prehistoric Mining. In F. Breitenecker, I. Troch, (eds.) Mathmod Vienna 2012, full paper preprint volume. http://seth.asc.tuwien.ac.at/proc12/full_paper/Contribution468.pdf Accessed 18 Sep 2013.
- Kuchar, J. (2011). Social network analysis plugin for Gephi. http://gephi.org/plugins/social-network-analysis/ Accessed 18 Sep 2013.
- Lo Cascio, E. (2006). The role of the state in the Roman economy: making use of the New Institutional Economics. In P. Bang, M. Ikeguchi, & H. Ziche (Eds.), Ancient economies modern methodologies. Archaeology, comparative history, models and institutions (pp. 215–236). Bari: Edipuglia.Google Scholar
- Malkin, I. (2011). A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean. Greeks Overseas. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Manning, J. (2010). Networks, hierarchies, and markets in the Ptolemaic economy. In J. Archibald, J. Davies, & V. Gabrielsen (Eds.), The economies of Hellenistic societies, third to first centuries BC (pp. 296–323). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Manning, J., & Morris, I. (2005). The ancient economy: evidence and models. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Meiggs, R. (1982). Trees and timber in the ancient Mediterranean world. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- Mitchell, M. (2009). Complexity: a guided tour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Premo, L. S. (2006). Agent-based models as behavioral laboratories for evolutionary anthropological research. Arizona Anthropologist, 17, 91–113.Google Scholar
- Scheidel, W., & Meeks, E. (2012). ORBIS The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World. Stanford. http://orbis.stanford.edu Accessed 18 Sep 2013.
- Setälä, P. (1977). Private Domini in Roman brick stamps of the empire: a historical and prosopographical study of landowners in the district of Rome. Helsinki: Suomalainen tiedeakatemia.Google Scholar
- Shennan, S. (2002). Genes, memes and human history: Darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
- Silver, M. (2009). Historical otherness, the Roman bazaar, and primitivism: P.F. Bang on the Roman economy. Journal of Romance Archaeology, 22(2), 421–443.Google Scholar
- Skydsgaard, J. (1976).The Disintegration of the Roman Labour Market and the Clientela Theory. Studia Romana in honorem Petri Krarup Septuagenari (pp. 44–48). Odense: Odense University Press.Google Scholar
- Steinby, E. M. (1993).L’Organizzazione produttiva dei laterizi: un modello interpretativo per l’instrumen in genere? In W. Harris (Ed.), The inscribed economy : production and distribution in the Roman empire in the light of instrumentum domesticum : the proceedings of a conference held at the American Academy in Rome on 10-11 January, Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 6 (pp. 139-144). Portsmouth, Rhode Island.Google Scholar
- Tesfatsion, L. (2013). Growing Economies from the Bottom Up. Agent-Based Computational Economics (ACE) http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/ace.htm Accessed 2 Sep 2013.
- Verboven, K. (2002). The economy of friends. Economic aspects of Amicitia and Patronage in the Late Republic. Bruxelles: Latomus.Google Scholar
- Wallace-Hadrill, A. (Ed.). (1989a). Patronage in ancient society. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Wallace-Hadrill, A. (1989b). Patronage in Roman society: from Republic to Empire. In A. Wallace-Hadrill (Ed.), Patronage in ancient society (pp. 63–87). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Watts, D. (1999). Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness. Princeton Studies in Complexity, Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Weingart, S. (2011) Demystifying Networks, Parts I & II. Journal of Digital Humanities 1.1. http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-1/demystifying-networks-by-scott-weingart/ Accessed 20 Nov 2013.
- Wilensky, U. (1998). NetLogo Wealth Distribution model http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/WealthDistribution. Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
- Wilensky, U. (1999) NetLogo. http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/ . Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
- Wilkinson, T. J., Gibson, M., Christiansen, J., Widell, M., Schloen, D., Kouchoukos, N., Woods, C., Sanders, J., Simunich, K.-L., Altaweel, M., Ur, J. A., Hritz, C., Lauinger, J., & Tenney, J. (2007). Modeling settlement systems in a dynamic environment: case studies from Mesopotamia. In T. Kohler & S. Van der Leuw (Eds.), The model-based archaeology of socionatural systems (pp. 175–208). Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press.Google Scholar