I have had a long fascination with the use of agent-based modeling (ABM) to explore past cultures and civilizations. There are a number of very good models which I will not do justice to in a single post, unless I write a very very long one. Some works which spring directly to mind include Axtell's et al. (2002) "Population growth and collapse in a multiagent model of the Kayenta Anasazi in Long House Valley" or the collection of papers in Kohler and Gumerman (2000) edited volume "Dynamics in Human and Primate Societies: Agent-Based Modeling of Social and Spatial Processes". Even I have attempted to dabble with them (click here).
Why am I writing about this now? I recently came across a great movie below produced by the Barcelona Super-computing Center which simply shows the utility of ABM for such endeavors and why ABM can be used as a tool more generally. Or to quote from the YouTube description of the movie, its:
"a documentary around the lives of a prehistoric virtual family trying to survive the moody conditions imposed by the scientists studying them."
Thanks to Simulating Complexity (a very good site for Complexity, Archaeology and Agent-based modeling) for the heads up.