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Urbanization within a dynamic environment : modeling bronze age communities in Upper Mesopotamia.

Wilkinson, T. J. and Christiansen, J and Ur, J. and Widell, M. and Altaweel, M. (2007) 'Urbanization within a dynamic environment : modeling bronze age communities in Upper Mesopotamia.', American anthropologist., 109 (1). pp. 52-68.


Here agent-based models are employed to explore the behavior of small communities and their associated economic systems within an area of climatically marginal environment in northern Syria and Iraq. The examples, drawn from late prehistoric and Bronze Age societies that developed at the onset of urbanization, show how small communities might respond to various resource stresses and environmental fluctuations. The computer simulations demonstrate that some households gain resources at the expense of others and the community becomes more economically differentiated through time with some households benefiting at the expense of others. The approaches discussed demonstrate that complex societies were capable of a wide range of responses to stresses that could be absorbed or amplified via a number of social, economic, or demographic processes.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Social complexity, Simulation, Archaeology, Bronze Age, Agent-based models, Environmental, Modeling, Communities, Urbanization, Economic, Expense of others, Societies, Responses, Households.
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Publisher statement:Published as T. J. WILKINSON, J. H. CHRISTIANSEN, J. UR, M. WIDELL, M. ALTAWEEL (2007) Urbanization within a Dynamic Environment: Modeling Bronze Age Communities in Upper Mesopotamia American Anthropologist 109 (1) , 52-68 doi:10.1525/aa.2007.109.1.52 Copyright 2007 by the American Anthropological Association. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by American Anthropological Association for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [Caliber (] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,
Record Created:23 Jun 2008
Last Modified:01 Jun 2011 17:04

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