Assessing Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistory with Resource-Consumer Models

01 March 2024
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


CSH Salon


Complexity Science Hub
  • Attendance: in person
  • Language: EN


Assessing Human-Environmental Interaction in Prehistory with Resource-Consumer Models

Resource-consumer models provide a useful framework to understand the environmental limitations on historical human populations.

Dynamical systems models of varying complexity have been previously proposed to capture important factors in the growth and decline of farming communities from the beginnings of agriculture.

While these often involve elaborate interaction components to represent social and economic factors, resource dynamics have been most often modeled only as a simple logistic growth process.

In their work, focusing on the interaction of Neolithic farmers with soil resources, they have critically examined the role of resource dynamics and have found that it plays an important role in determining system stability.

They argue that the logistic model is not appropriate for soil nutrients, which are better modeled as a linear regrowth to an equilibrium value. This in turn has an important effect on the system, leading to more stable dynamics.

They interpret these findings as showing that exhaustion of soil nutrients is unlikely the cause of significant booms and busts in population numbers that we see during the European Neolithic.

In this talk, Daniel Kondor will present an overview of key considerations when using dynamical (ODE) systems to model human-environmental interactions, along with our main results about how resource regeneration dynamics affects system stability.



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