Institute of Archaeology

Agent-based Modelling of Human History


This course offers a unique opportunity to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills in computational modelling, particularly agent-based simulation. It provides a historical overview of the development of the technique before focussing on four of the most exciting areas of current research in the social and historical sciences: 

  1. agent-based models of human decision-making;
  2. models of specialisation and cooperation;
  3. networks, power laws and the small-world phenomenon;
  4. demographic models. The second half of the course develops the practical skills required for building and experimenting with agent-based simulation models. Specifically, students learn to program in Java and implement their own models using RePast, one of the most flexible and widely respected modelling toolkits.

This course would particularly benefit those who wish to develop a basic familiarity with simulation models and computer programming for use in their dissertation or further research. It is assessed in via a project report and one essay.

Course information

  • Code: ARCLG055
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Mark Lake
  • Prerequisite:
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students

  • Moodle page:
  • Reading list:


  • Not Running in 2016-17

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