Evolutionary game-theoretic modeling of past societies' social organization

Conference Date
Lyon, France
Date Published
September 2017
Conference Date: 2017, Vol. 14, Pages 98-105.
(doi: 10.7551/ecal_a_020)
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license
Article PDF (993.03 KB)

In this work, we extend a generic agent-based model for simulating ancient societies, by blending evolutionary game theory with multiagent systems’ self-organization. Our approach models the evolution of social behaviours in a population of strategically interacting agents corresponding to households in the Early Minoan era. To this end, agents participate in repeated games by means of which they exchange utility (resources) with others. The games’ outcomes contribute to both the continuous re-organization of the social structure, and the progressive adoption of the most successful strategies. We present a systematic evaluation of the performance of the various strategies, assuming several variations in the way agent and organization fitness are defined, as well as in the way agents adopt new strategies. Overall, results for societies adopting this evolutionary approach, demonstrate that strategic cooperation is in fact an emergent behaviour in this domain. The model can provide intuitions to archaeological research, and help resolve open questions regarding the socio-economic dynamics at work in past societies.