Category Archives: Uncategorized

Online Course in Agent-based Modelling for Archaeologists

Starting September 2019, the Archaeology Faculty at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands will be offering an online course in Agent-based Modelling for Archaeologists. The course is open to Leiden students and for external participants and will be held entirely online.

The course format follows the SPOC (Small Private Online Course) principles. That is, while fully online the number of participants is limited to 30 and each of them gets personalised attention from the course instructors. The course consists of:

  • short prerecorded video lectures,
  • reading assignments coupled with short quizzes,
  • practical tutorials in programming and model development,
  • online collaborative tasks,
  • other activities, and
  • regular assignments and a large final assignment, which are graded by the instructors.

You can read more about the SPOC format and the previous edition of the course in this paper:

The objective of the course is to provide students with a deep understanding of the possibilities and limitations of modelling and simulation as a tool in archaeology and to teach them the basics of computer programming, enabling them to create new models and simulations for research purposes. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • identify and translate implicit, conceptual models (scientific hypotheses formulated in natural language) into formal explicit models in a wide range of social and environmental research contexts;
  • build simulation systems to run, test and expand such models following best scientific practice;
  • develop intermediate programming skills with the ability to independently develop and test computer code;
  • interpret simulation results and assess their validity in archaeological and implementation terms;
  • understand the role of simulation techniques in modern scientific practice and appreciate both the potential and the challenges of the method

The course is targeted at archaeologists, historians, social scientists or similar disciplines at all levels, from graduate students, PhDs and postdocs to professional researchers, and from academic, public and commercial backgrounds. Participants who successfully complete the course and the final assignment will receive a certificate, a grade and credits (5 EC).

For more information and the registration procedure please see:


Analogue Simulation on (a) board!

Family intrigues, vast networks of commercial contact, trading with Barbarians, panem et circense – there has never been a period as fun to explore as the Romans and their impressive trade system. Now you can check for yourself how well would YOU do! Make your fortune, climb the ladder of cursus honorum to become the consul of Rome!

The FORVM: TRADE EMPIRES OF ROME board game has been designed by archaeologists with a wide public in mind. Historically accurate (mostly, we’re happy to disclose all skeletons in the closet though!) it transports the players into the world of political and commercial intrigue of the Roman world.

Although, it is not a simulation per se, we would like to encourage everyone to break, negotiate and shape rules of the game and see how this impacts the results.

You can now Buy FORVM: TRADE EMPIRES OF ROME on the online store.

fig1 copyIf you order now the game should arrive on time for Christmas. No profits are made on the game by the authors: it is purely a fun outreach activity. A note on shipping: our online shop is based in the US and international shipping is expensive. However, up to 5 games fit into a single shipping box, so we recommend you combine your orders or team up with friends to split the shipping costs. For international purchases we also recommend you select priority shipping, because it will allow you to track your package in case customs apply in the delivery country.

All artwork by Ian Kirkpatrick.

Come to Atlanta, learn ABM

This year the simulating complexity team is yet again teaching a 2-day workshop on agent-based modelling in archaeology as a satellite to the CAA conference.  The workshop will take place on Sunday and Monday 12-13 March 2017. The workshop is free of charge, however, you have to register to the conference (which has some good modelling session as well).

Last year we had an absolute blast with over 30 participants, 10 instructors and 96% satisfaction rate (of the students, instructors were 100% happy!).

The workshop will follow along similar lines to last year although we have a few new and exciting instructors and a few new topics. For more details check here and here or simply get in touch!

This event is possible thanks to the generous support of the Software Sustainability Institute.


Simulados: a short video explaining what ABM is and how we use it to understand the past

This video, brought to you by our friends over at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, does a great job of explaining in easy-to-understand terms what agent-based modeling is, and how it can be useful for both understanding the past and making the past relevant to the present. No small feat to accomplish in about 3 minutes. Have a look!

CFP: Computational Social Science Society of the Americas, Santa Fe, Nov 17-20

The CSSSA will be hosting its annual conference in November, bringing researchers from all stripes of computational social science together in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to the website, some of the topics to be discussed at the meeting include (but are not limited to):

  • Social network analysis
  • Agent-based models / modeling
  • Emergence
  • Economic models / resource allocation
  • Population dynamics
  • Ecosystems
  • Political/social systems
  • Biological systems / metabolism / bioenergetics
  • Efficiencies / fitness functions
  • Competition / cooperation
  • Networks / information flow
  • Social contagion
  • Vision / knowledge acquisition
  • Influence
  • Swarm intelligence
  • Adaptation / evolution
  • Decision making
  • Local knowledge / global patterns
  • Game theoretic models
  • Strategy
  • Learning

Applications close August 15th, 2016. For more information, check out the CSSSA website.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Public Domain

CAA call for sessions open

Sharing the CAA 2016 call for sessions and workshops via our good friend Tom over at Archaeological Networks. More on this conference as it develops!

Archaeological Networks

caaThe countdown to CAA 2016 in Oslo has begun! Time to submit your awesome session and workshop proposals!

The annual Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) conference will be held in Oslo, Norway, from March 29th to April 2nd 2016. The Call for sessions and workshops is now open until 7 September 2015. More info about the conference can be found on the conference website.

To propose a session or workshop, go to the CAA Open Conference System and click on the ‘Submissions’ link on the right-hand side of the page.

Hope to see you all in Oslo for my favourite conference of the year!

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Simulating Complexity at the SAAs!

Come see the  Simulating Complexity team at the Society for American Archaeology meetings in San Francisco in April! Our session, “Simulating Social Complexity to Understand the Archaeological Past” will present new research into complexity science and archaeology with leaders in the field and is sure to be an exciting afternoon.

Mark your calendars for April 16th from 1-4pm.

Participants include: Mark Lake, Tim Kohler, Philip Fisher & Luke Premo, Ben Davies, Iza Romanowska, Matt Grove, Colin Wren, Stefani Crabtree & Kyle Bocinsky, John Murphy, Isaac Ullah, Rachel Opitz, Devin White, Shawn Graham and Enrico Crema

For more information on the SAA meetings, go here.

CAA 2015 Siena Call for Sessions open

KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING! is the next year’s CAA motto. So for all of you who would like to keep alive the several-years-long streak of fantastic sessions on complexity science, simulation, network analysis and modelling, here’s the call for sessions.
See you all in Siena!


Call for session proposals
DEADLINE – Tuesday, September 30th 2014

The Organising Committee wish to inform you that the Call for Sessions for the 43rd International Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) is open. The conference will be held at the University of Siena (Italy), in collaboration with the National Research Council (ISTI-Pisa), from March 30th to April 3rd 2015.

Please submit your SESSION ABSTRACT PROPOSAL online before Tuesday, September 30th 2014.

The 43rd Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference, “KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING” (CAA 2015 SIENA) will explore a multitude of topics to showcase ground-breaking technologies and best practice from various archaeological and computer science disciplines, with a large diversity of case studies from all over the world.

The conference committee encourages you to consider a presentation format that will engage your colleagues in discussion and learning beyond the simple dissemination of information. The main themes of the conference are likely to include the following, but may be modified or extended according to the session proposals we receive:

  • Field and laboratory data recording
  • Data modelling, management and integration
  • Linked data and the semantic web
  • Data analysis and visualisation
  • 3D modelling, visualization, thinking, interpretation and simulations
  • Spatio-temporal modelling, GIS and remote sensing
  • Users and interfaces: education, museums and multimedia
  • Theoretical issues, and the relation of CAA with the Digital Humanities
  • Digital Cities, cultural heritage interpretation and modelling the past.

Author Guidelines
Your abstract should not be longer than 500 words including title, affiliations and key words.

Provide the full names and affiliations of all authors, including e-mail addresses. Please indicate the name of the corresponding author.

Provide 3-5 keywords describing the contents of your session.

The official language of the conference is English. Spelling should conform to British practice and follow the Oxford English Dictionary.