Discussion papers

CPM-00-61 - 2 May 2000

The Archeology of Artificial Societies

Jim Doran

A Paper at: The “Starting from Society” symposium at ASIB’2000 convention, Birmingham University, 16th-19th April 2000.

Also published as: Jim Doran (2000), “The Archeology of Artificial Societies”, in the Proceedings of the AISB’00 Symposium on Starting from Society – the Application of Social Analogies to Computational Systems, Birmingham, UK: AISB, 21-32. (ISBN 1 902956 13 8)


Can archaeologists help software engineers unravel what has been happening in an artificial society of intelligent agents? We discuss the methods that archaeologists regularly use and how they relate to the properties of an artificial society and the problems faced in recovering its history. As part of the discussion, an abstract model of a typical artificial society is presented, the structure of the process of interpreting evidence is analysed, and the particular macro-social phenomenon of socio-cultural collapse is considered.