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City Life

Wouldn't it be interesting for us as archaeologists, if we could study ancient settlements by watching their inhabitants...? This model represents a small experiment in reviving a dead city. It represents a point of departure... more

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view/download model file: pompeiisim2.nlogo

This model marries the information diffusion procedure from my itineraries.nlogo model to the
google-maps-import.nlogo model developed by James Steiner.

I've swapped a Google Map for a map of Pompeii and the street plan of Falerii Novi known from geophysical exploration by Simon Keay (Southampton) and Martin Millett (Cambridge). Other ancient cities could be similarly studied, by adding the file name to the map chooser and pre-processing the maps so that they use the similar color schemes a la Google Maps.

I've also added 'intentionality' to this model. If the proselytize switch is 'on', agents who have heard the message actively seek out agents who haven't, and tell them the message. It could be extended further by allowing agents to actively contest ideas.

What does this show? The fabric of a town, by allowing different patterns of interaction, has an impact on how life was lived in that town. With different base maps, one could compare the rates of information diffusion with and without intentionality for the different towns. That is, information diffusion would be an indicator by which we could measure the effects that different town layouts had on the way life was lived in those places. In terms of archaeology, these simulations would also suggest places of intensification in the towns. The patterns of movements would suggest what we could expect to find archaeologically - especially for towns which are known primarily through geophysics rather than excavation (ie we've got the plan of the town but little else).

The 'track movement' button causes agents to leave a trail of their travels. With this pressed, one can view which regions of the town seem to have the heaviest travel patterns. Frequently, for Falerii Novi, this produces a heavy traffic zone along the eastern edge of town, which also has the clearest structural remains (in the geophysics).

'Importance of the News' ie the relative chance that an encounter will lead to transmission of information.

I would appreciate an email if anybody decides to adapt/expand this model; credit for the original model should be to James Steiner,

To cite this model and this information page, please use:
Graham, S. (2005) "City Life: characterising information flow in ancient cities'
Shawn Graham