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Simulations in Archaeology


Edited by Jeremy A. Sabloff

This book aims to clarify the reasons for using systems models and computer simulations in seeking to understand dynamic cultural patterns. Computer simulations grow logically out of the steps taken by archaeology in the past century: from random data collection to cultural description, proceeding through chronological ordering to interest in process, and finally to systems construction. The chapters cover simulations within the framework of four case studies, from site abandonment in Wetherill Mesa, Colorado, to urban growth and decay in ancient Rome; from hunting and gathering to agriculture, and from feudalism to capitalism. The contributors use critical mathematical tools to describe cultural processes, construct and evaluate simulation models, and explore the potential of archaeology’s unique data in the study of long-term cultural change.

1981. 356 pp., 42 figures, 1 map, 15 tables, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Mark S. Aldenderfer, James A. Bell, Kenneth L. Cooke, Linda S. Cordell, Richard H. Day, Gilbert W. Low, Colin Renfrew, Jeremy A. Sabloff, Ezra B. W. Zubrow

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  1. Background
    Jeremy A. Sabloff
  2. Computer Simulation for Archaeology: An Introductory Essay
    Mark S. Aldenderfer
  3. Scientific Method and the Formulation of Testable Computer Simulation Models
    James A. Bell
  4. Creating Assemblages by Computer Simulation: The Development and Uses of ABSIM
    Mark S. Aldenderfer
  5. The Wetherill Mesa Simulation: A Retrospective
    Linda S. Cordell
  6. Simulation as a Heuristic Device in Archaeology
    Ezra B. W. Zubrow
  7. Dynamic Systems and Epochal Change
    Richard H. Day
  8. On the Construction and Evaluation of Mathematical Models
    Kenneth L. Cooke
  9. Using System Dynamics to Simulate the Past
    Gilbert W. Low
  10. The Simulator as Demiurge
    Colin Renfrew
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