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An Enchantment of Digital Archaeology: Raising the Dead with Agent-Based Models, Archaeogaming and Artificial Intelligence

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Volume 1

Digital Archaeology: Documenting the Anthropocene

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An Enchantment of Digital Archaeology

Raising the Dead with Agent-Based Models, Archaeogaming and Artificial Intelligence

Shawn Graham

210 pages, bibliog., index, digital ABM teaching-guide

ISBN  978-1-78920-786-6 $149.00/£110.00 / Hb / Published (July 2020)

ISBN  978-1-78920-871-9 $29.95/£23.95 / Pb / Published (July 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-787-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - edit   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The aim and personable, essayistic, almost diary-style kind of writing is simultaneously avant-garde (for academic works) and fitting for our (post-)digital times and the digital field it covers. This combination is what makes it a very worthwhile and refreshing read.” • Angus Mol, Leiden University Centre for Digital Humanities

“Many readers of this book…will find in this book inspiration and encouragement to pursue those ideas they previously discarded as wacky, frivolous or “not academic”; they are allowed to play, fail and be enchanted. There is huge value in this message.” • Tom Brughmans, University of Barcelona


The use of computation in archaeology is a kind of magic, a way of heightening the archaeological imagination. Agent-based modelling allows archaeologists to test the ‘just-so’ stories they tell about the past. It requires a formalization of the story so that it can be represented as a simulation; researchers are then able to explore the unintended consequences or emergent outcomes of stories about the past. Agent-based models are one end of a spectrum that, at the opposite side, ends with video games. This volume explores this spectrum in the context of Roman archaeology, addressing the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of a formalized approach to computation and archaeogaming.

Shawn Graham is a digital archaeologist at Carleton University, where he is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities. He is a co-author with Ian Milligan and Scott Weingart of Exploring Big Historical Data: The Historian's Macroscope (Imperial College Press, 2015). He was awarded the Archaeological Institute of America's 2019 Award for Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology for the creation of the Open Digital Archaeology Textbook Environment,

The appendices to this book form an ABM (Agent-Based Model) teaching guide hosted on the Berghahn Books Digital Archaeology platform, with interactive code available on GitHub.

Subject: Archaeology Media Studies Heritage Studies Anthropology (General)


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