Theory of Modelling

  • Oliver Nakoinz
  • Daniel Knitter
Part of the Quantitative Archaeology and Archaeological Modelling book series (QAAM)


This chapter is dedicated to the term ‘model’ which is explored in the first part. The chapter presents different definitions and characterisations of the term ‘model’ and aims to provide readers with a deeper understanding of differences and similarities in the various concepts of models, as well as their practical applications. A brief discussion of some classifications of models introduces the reader to the most important distinctions in the modelling terminology. Among these classifications, the distinction between theoretical and empirical models plays a dominant role and is pivotal for understanding the methodological chapters. In addition, we present the SQM classification and address the development and reduction of complexity in models. Different purposes and benefits of models are described and may serve as a starting point for describing modelling applications. In order to have practical rules of thumb for the usage of models some modelling directions are given. Finally, examples from archaeology and geography complete this conceptual chapter on modelling.


model modelling model theory complexity theoretical models empirical models 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Nakoinz
    • 1
  • Daniel Knitter
    • 2
  1. 1.University of KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Excellence Cluster TopoiFreie UniversitätBerlinGermany

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