Modeling Expansive Phenomena in Early Complex Societies: The Transition from Bronze Iron Age in Prehistoric Europe

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Abstract

The Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in Prehistoric Europe represents a perfect case study to test different and competing hypotheses of social dynamics and economic change in small-scale societies. The paper discusses the possibilities of modeling what could have happened in Europe between 1800 and 800 bc, in terms of spatiotemporal dynamics. The paper presents some theoretical aspects of the dynamic study of expansive phenomena and gives an overview of a computer model programmed to explain the way new burial forms expanded in Europe. The main idea is comparing classic demic diffusion models (spread of population), cultural transmission models (spread of ideas), and technological innovation diffusion model (spread of goods). We will present the fundamentals of a preliminary study towards the computational simulation of such hypothetical social mechanisms, using a dataset composed of more than 1,500 georeferenced and radiocarbon dated archaeological contexts of a period between the Early Bronze Age and the first Iron Age (1800-800 bc) from an area including the North-East of Iberian Peninsula, Southern France, Northern and Central Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Southern Germany. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-510
JournalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Bronze Age
  • Computer modeling
  • Cultural transmission
  • Demic expansion
  • Prehistoric Europe
  • Radiocarbon

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