agent-based modeling, exchange, kinship networks


In the North American Southwest, archaeological research has documented ceramic exchange networks in which spatially proximate households in consumer communities have greatly varying amounts of imported pottery. This paper uses agent-based modelling to gain insight into the processes responsible for these distributions. The agent-based model used here tracks kinship ties among agents representing individuals who give birth, marry, co-reside with spouses, and exchange things in a virtual landscape filled with small settlements of up to a few hundred individuals. Exchange of goods in the model flows through the kinship networks. The results suggest that the differential distribution of goods among spatially proximate households seen in the archaeological cases could result from a small-world network that forms as some individuals move to join spouses in far-off settlements, giving relatives in their home settlement preferential access to exchange goods originating in distant places.

Original Publication Citation

James R. Allison 2020 Agent-Based Modelling of the Relationships among Kinship, Residence, and Exchange. In Digital Archaeologies, Material Worlds (Past and Present): Proceedings of the 2017 Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference, edited by Jeffrey Glover, Dominique Rissolo, and Jessica Moss, pp. 229-240. Tübingen University Press, Tübingen, Germany. DOI:

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Tübingen University Press




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor