Some archaeological entries in this year’s competition:
Posted by dmlcAdmin 2 days agoThe heritage sites of the Mississippi Delta are important cultural monuments. This project brings three key Arkansas heritage sites into Second Life, allowing direct access to those sites for students and the general public. This virtual learning platform will be designed to allow a direct engagement with historic material.The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is planning a new exhibit called Treasures of the Earth. The goal is to create an adventure in archaeology featuring three major archeological discoveries and a lab where families can use technology to learn about science and uncover clues to the past.Dive a hundred feet below sea level and take a voyage back hundreds of years in a virtual simulation game to learn how scientific archaeological methods are used to survey, explore, excavate and interpret submerged cultural resources.Stone Mirror introduces archaeology via participation in a 3-D “virtual dig” of Çatalhöyük, Central Anatolia (southern Turkey). Based on Swigart’s Stone Mirror: A Novel of the Neolithic, students experience both past and present to create a “path of inference” from discovering objects to creating narratives describing their historical meaning.
Posted by dmlcAdmin 2 days agoThe goal is to create a system of virtual collaborative environments able to teach how to virtually reconstruct ancient worlds in 3D, involving a community of young users. The system is based on the following archaeological case studies: Roman imperial Villas, ancient Chinese tombs and Mayan sites.
I’ve been reading John Miller and Scott Pages’ Complex Adaptive Systems – an introduction to computational models of social life, and Melanie Mitchell’s Complexity – a guided tour, both of which have set my wheels to turning.
Of the two, Mitchell’s book is the more accessible. Miller & Page dive heavily into cellular automata, and it takes some real leaps of the imagination to see how any of that applies to social life. One thing that they do discuss (and as does Mitchell) are Stephen Wolfram‘s theories that certain kinds of automata are universal computers. In principle this then suggests that simplified models such as cellular automata or more complicated ABM are widely applicable: that with a conceptual shift, a model may do double duty. A model about predator-prey interactions becomes a model about shopping malls.
Mitchell also explores by-ways where the distributed, no-central-control system has as an emergent property the ability to compute solutions to problems facing the ant colony, the bee hive, the group, as a whole. Ants explore their world, and leave pheromone trails behind them. Another ant encounters the pheromone trail, leave its own traces, which reinforces the route. Trails that lead nowhere evaporate away; trails that lead to food sources are reinforced, and soon you have a map of all local food sources for the colony. (or the Tokyo rail network, as the case may be.) No central direction.
Mitchell’s book is also quite good when it comes to explaining how networks figure into all of this, and some basic statistical properties of networks and how they conform/are formed by various behaviors.
Which is sparking a thought in my head, as a route to a new project. In my thesis work, I was able to compute the statistics for a variety of networks in Rome. I was then able to model these networks, to see how decentralized control solved the problem of resource exploitation (in this particular case, building materials to Rome). It would be interesting to compare the statistics of various patronage systems from various cultures at various times around the world. How did these systems solve the problems of resource management? I would then reanimate these various networks in a ‘sugarscape‘ type world. Which ones are more effective? How do I measure effectiveness? Which social configurations are more fit? Then, translating that back into history & culture, it would be interesting to see how that plays out when you’ve got two cultures in roughly the same environment – Medieval Florentine patronage vs Ancient Roman patronage…
Another thought sparked by these readings: in a patronage system where clients have choice over who their patron is – ie, they can insert themselves into the train of a new patron- naturally evolve to a state where there is a single patron. In this, I’m recasting Miller and Page’s City Formation model (pg 151, section 9.4) in patronage terms.
In this model, imagine a world where all of the available patrons are standing in a ‘police-lineup’ style line in the town square. The population of the town is randomly sorted in lines in front of each patron. There are a host of reasons why a client might wish to swap patrons; let’s collapse all these into two variables: displayed support (# of clients the patron already has, hence the desirability of becoming a client) and ‘difficulty’ in switching allegiances – it is hard to gather knowledge about patrons further down the chain to either side, so the further away a patron is in the line, the more difficult it is to get into that chain. A patron’s success depends on his ability to marshal the resources made available via his client base.
So – behavior. Following Miller and Page, the agents want to have access to the most successful patron. A client can stay where it is, or move one step to the right, or the left. If the model is run, allowing clients to assess the entire line of patrons, this ‘society’ sorts itself out so that all clients are clients of a single patron. (situation a)
That’s quite neat.
If the ability of clients is restricted so that they can only see locally (a step to the right, or a step to the left), you end up with multiple ‘poles of power’, a handful of patrons with all the clients. (situation b)
So… if we have a society in history characterized by patronage… is it more like situation a, or is it more like situation b? In this model, it’s all about the clients. They choose where to go: so the key dynamic is in how they ‘learn’ about the world. The daily display, in ancient Rome, of a patron walking to the Forum with his clients then is a way through which clients learn about the relative fitness or desirability of potential patrons: thus leading to a single patron….?
…I’m just riffing off the top of my head here, but I think there’s something to this…
Heard of Twitter Times?
More recently, social media such as Twitter has provided a surprisingly good set of pointers toward worthy materials I should be reading or exploring. (And as happened with blogs five years ago, the critics are now dismissing Twitter as unscholarly, missing the filtering function it somehow generates among so many unfiltered tweets.) I follow as many digital humanists as I can on Twitter, and created a comprehensive list of people in digital humanities. (You can follow me @dancohen.)
Digital Humanities Now is a new web publication that is the experimental result of this thought. It aggregates thousands of tweets and the hundreds of articles and projects those tweets point to, and boils everything down to the most-discussed items, with commentary from Twitter. A slightly longer discussion of how the publication was created can be found on the DHN “About” page.
I’m following mostly folks in elearning, archaeology, and digital humanities; you can see my edition here.
It is a truism in the digital humanities, a constant one, and a good one, that it is always in a state of transition. Such an observation is not surprising since the instrument upon which it relies – the computer – is itself in a state of flux. For the moment, its computational power remains firmly in the grip of Moore’s Law, exponentially increasing its computational power as the decades pass. Scholars, whether they want it or not, are constantly being presented with new paradigms of computing — be it cloud computing, ubiquitous computing, or high performance computing — and new tools and markup schemes to express, treat and analyze content. In any publication devoted to the digital humanities, then, it would seem superfluous to mention that change is our constant condition and our constant preoccupation, a trite observation best left unsaid. We sympathize with this view. But when it comes to describing digital humanities scholarship generally, and computationally supported scholarship in Canada particularly, we think it is wrong. In Canada and abroad, a number of important developments have recently emerged that will impinge on the practice and future trajectory of our inter-discipline. They are new, important, and are reflected in the contributions to this issue. They are of sufficient moment and frequency that we feel justified in rendering this issue of Digital Studies with the thematic stamp it now bears: that of transition.
So I was quite honored to be included in this collection. The abstract from my contribution:
Behaviour Space: Simulating Roman Social Life and Civil ViolenceShawn Graham
Agent based modelling, also known as individual-based modelling, holds great promise for historians as a tool for formalizing and visualizing historians’ understandings of historical processes. It also provides a means to explore exploring the emergent consequences of such assumptions. Such models specify the possible behaviours for a single individual, and then enable individuals within the simulation to interact, with each applying the behaviours in a context-specific manner. Artificial societies begin to emerge from these interactions, allowing us to study their characteristics. Moreover, when these models produce behaviours that cohere with patterns embedded in historical or archaeological data, it becomes possible to interrogate aspects of past experience otherwise lost to us. This article presents PatronWorld, an agent based model of the ancient Roman daily ritual of salutatio, a ritual in which clients gathered to make a morning greeting to their patron. It explores the ritual’s role in the development and maintenance of patronage networks, and its relationship to the emergence of civil violence in the Roman world. The model is also based on a framework that describes the social network surrounding land holding (the foundations of wealth in antiquity) in the City of Rome from the late first – early second century AD. Civil violence was a constant feature of Roman society, frequently targeting the men upon whose social connections the political economy of the state depended. Results from the model suggest the social conditions that made the state vulnerable to periodic bouts of violence, and suggest new directions for further research.
I’ve recently been reading John Miller and Scott Page’s Complex Adaptive Systems: An introduction to computational models of social life (2007, Princeton UP) and there are some models and insights there which are making me rethink the complexity of the model that I created for Behaviorspace. But that’s a post for another day…
(For those interested in novel uses of GIS for historical situations, see in the same special issue,
|‘Buried Beneath the Waves’: Using GIS to Examine the Physical and Social Impact of a Historical Flood||Abstract HTML|
|Mathew Novak, Jason Gilliland||)|
I just realized. I’ve been intermittently blogging now for three years, as of this December past. In that time, I think I’ve remained more or less true to the ‘mission’ of Electric Archaeology – to try out new techs, recount experiments, disseminate my research, in new media for archaeology and history. There have been times when I could post thoughtful, in-depth pieces; and times when I’ve merely passed on the interesting things that have turned up in my inbox. As of this morning according to WordPress, Electric Archaeology has had over 85,000 views, spread across 394 posts. There have been 329 comments made. I have 62 categories – clearly I need some rationalization there.
I sometimes toy with the idea of moving Electric Archaeology to my own space, so I can put some better analytics on it, but for whatever reason, that just doesn’t happen…
The all time most viewed posts on Electric Archaeology (the most recent posts of course are at the bottom, having had less chance to be viewed):
The offerings at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria (BC) are quite interesting this year – though I note nothing on Agent Modelling. If I was in that neck of the woods, I’d be quite keen to take the following -
Geographical Information Systems in the Digital Humanities
Ian GregoryThe course offers an introduction to the theory and practice of using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to research the past. It will be primarily based on using the ArcGIS software package, the use of Google Earth to disseminate humanities data will also be explored. The course will be relevant to historians, historical geographers, demographers, and others with an interest in the geographies of the past. Quantitative and qualitative approaches will both be explored. We would welcome attendees bringing their own data so that we can explore how to get it into GIS form and what can then be done with it.
There are scholarships and some other limited financial aide available.
WIKITUDE World Browser presents the user with data about their surroundings, nearby landmarks, and other points of interest by overlaying information on the real-time camera view of a smart-phone.
The information is drawn from Wikipedia and other sources. This to me has obvious applications in overlaying landscape archaeology information into the landscape… if it works. Has anybody used this?
I note also that Wikitude provides an API for building your own augmented reality applications:
The WIKITUDE API is a powerful application programming interface which allows for the open development of markerless AR experiences, providing developers with the tools to either create their own android augmented reality applications, or enhance their existing Android applications with an AR camera-view engine. [more]
The Horizon 2010 report has a whole section on AR:
While the capability to deliver augmented reality experiences has been around for decades, it is only very recently that those experiences have become easy and portable. Advances in mobile devices as well as in the different technologies that combine the real world with virtual information have led to augmented reality applications that are as near to hand as any other application on a laptop or a smart phone. New uses for augmented reality are being explored and new experiments undertaken now that it is easy to do so. Emerging augmented reality tools to date have been mainly designed for marketing, social purposes, amusement, or location-based information, but new ones continue to appear as the technology becomes more popular. Augmented reality has become simple, and is now poised to enter the mainstream in the consumer sector.
The Hispanic Baroque project at UWO has quite a complex simulation underway, exploring
[...] the origin, evolution, transmission and effectiveness of the baroque patterns of behaviour and representation in the Hispanic world.
[...] The objectives of the project are: to describe the most common, resistant baroque patterns in different environments; to establish its relationship with processes of social identity and organization; to analyze the technologies of culture that have made this adaptability of the baroque possible; to determine its effectiveness based on the reappearance in Neo-baroque phenomena of the contemporary world; with the participation of other disciplines, to create new tools that fortify investigation methods in the humanities.
It’s a tremendously ambitious project. I had the pleasure of speaking to participants in the project a few weeks ago, on complexity and agent based modeling, detailing my own research and the mistakes/accomplishments I’ve had in trying to deal with cultural complexity in the past. I’m pleased to say that I’ll be working with these folks a bit more in this new year, though we’re still in the progress of getting-to-know each other. The Hispanic Baroque, as a period, as a worldview, as Atlantic History, is brand-new territory for me. It’ll be quite exciting, I think!
For more on this project’s Agent Modeling work, please see this page. The model itself can be explored here. It appears tremendously interesting, and I suspect there are important insights emerging from this model. However, I would wish that there was a bit more documentation with the applet, explaining the mechanics and ‘things to try’. The model appears to be linked to this model, with the outputs of the latter becoming the inputs of the former.
Are there other examples of linked agent-models out there?
Courtesy of Andrew Crooks GIS and Agent Modelling blog , I learn today of a series of seminars exploring the latest in GIS & dynamic modelling, at the Global GIS Academy
Of particular interest (to me, at any rate) are the following:
Ling Bian (Buffalo)
A dynamic social network model for disease transmission
The work in this presentation was sponsored by a health care agency and some of the results reported remain confidential until we have permission from that agency to make the presentation available.
See also: Bian, L. (2003) The representation of the environment in the context of individual-based modeling. Ecological Modelling, 159 (2-3): 279-296.
Bian L 2004 A conceptual framework for an individual-based spatially explicit epidemiological model. Environment and Planning B 31(3): 381-95. @ www.envplan.com/abstract.cgi?id=b2833
Bian, L., Liebner, D. (2004) A network model for dispersion of communicable diseases . Transactions in GIS , 11(2): 155-173. @ www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118490206/issue
Raja Sengupta (McGill)
What’s so spatial about Agent-Based Models?
See also: Sengupta, R., and Bennett, D.A.(2003) Agent-based modeling environment for spatial decision support. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 17(1): 157-80
Sengupta, R., Sieber, R. (2007) Geospatial Agents, Agents Everywhere…. Transactions in GIS, 11(4): 483-506.
Derek Karessenberg (Utrecht)
Integrating spatio-temporal GIS data with spatio-temporal models.
Download PDF (1.3 Mb) of presentation HERE (ITEM 4)
See also: Karssenberg, D., Schmitz, O., de Vries, L.M., and de Jong, K (2008) A tool for construction of stochastic spatio-temporal models assimilated with observational data. 11th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science 2008, University of Girona, Spain. 7 pages
An interesting platform for obtaining funds for your project is at Kickstarter. Say you’re a local community history group, and you have a great idea for a project using Omeka to showcase some fascinating aspect of your region, but you need funds to hire someone to set it up for you. That kind of microproject probably wouldn’t attract the regular funding sources… but maybe the people browsing the projects on Kickstarter can help. On Kickstarter, you describe your project. People pledge funds. If you get enough pledges to reach your target, the money is sent to you.
Seems to me it might be an interesting way of funding and promoting local archaeological projects to. Search ‘history’ in their current list of projects, and you’ll find projects such as:
Bring historical thinking and creative fun to kids in rural Georgia through make-believe, music, and games, and get a signed copy of Annette’s book!$2,046 pledged136% fundedsuccessful
Visually exploring and documenting significant historic industrial sites in the greater Pittsburgh area – using low altitude aerial photography$424 pledged141% fundedsuccessful