W7 Agent-based modelling for archaeologists

Stefani Crabtree, Enrico Crema, Iza Romanowska, Colin Wren

This one-day hands-on workshop is divided into two sections. In the morning, we will focus on introducing Netlogo agent-based modelling basics for archaeologists, while after lunch we will have breakout sessions to solve specific problems. Attendees do not need any prior experience with coding.

Agent-based modelling is an increasingly popular simulation technique in archaeology commonly used as a framework for scenario testing and theory building. In this workshop, we will use a commonly applied ABM software platform, NetLogo, which combines the ease of development with robust results.

The morning section will include an introductory tutorial to the software and a group coding activity. Participants will end the morning with an understanding of agent-based modelling methods and the basic functions of NetLogo.

After lunch the group will split according to their interests into separate groups working on the following topics:

  • Human movement
  • Trade and interaction
  • Subsistence

Here we follow the popular concept of a “Hack-a-Thon” where participants aim to code a problem in small groups. Instructors will have working code that can help guide the students, but the aim is for students to work together to solve a problem related to one of the above topics. In this way, participants will walk away from the workshop with a piece of working code that they can use in future models/research.

To attend the first part or both parts no previous experience is necessary. For those who prefer to only join the latter part, basic familiarity with NetLogo is recommended.

Please bring your laptop along and install NetLogo beforehand: https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/download.shtml

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