Theoretical, Quantitative & Computational Archaeology

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  • We are developing the Archaeology of Social Phenomena.
  • This is a scientific revolution that is transforming Archaeology into a true science.
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    Take advantage of this unique opportunity to join the most advanced line of research in the world theoretical archaeology.
  • The Laboratory of Theoretical Archaeology is a private scientific research center devoted to the theoretical, quantitative and computational archaeology of social phenomena. It is currently based in Graus, ES. Its main research interests include the archaeology of economic fluctuations and social changes as well as the archaeology of social conflict. It is sponsored by the international journal Arqueologia Iberoamericana and linked to the Theoretical Archaeology Section of it. Although he spent several years working anonymously, is in early January 2014 when its official foundation occurs and it was disclosed to the international scientific community.
  • For further information, please consult the Spanish version of this page.
Scientific Advisors
  • Prof. Dr. Irma B. Rumbos-Pellicer
    (Director of the Division of Actuarial, Statistics & Mathematics, ITAM, MX)
  • The Laboratory of Theoretical Archaeology accepts exchanges and collaborations with other research centers or related academic institutions.
  • In 2013 the twentieth anniversary of the discovery of ancient economic fluctuations and cycles through the mortuary record (Pascual Izquierdo, 1993) was fulfilled. It is a major milestone that helps build solidly one theoretical archaeology, explicitly scientific.
  • Theoretical Archaeology. Archaeology of social phenomena.
  • Economic archaeology of grave goods.
  • Archaeology of economic fluctuations and social changes.
  • Economic fluctuations and social changes in Antiquity.
  • Measurement of internal conflict in past societies through the mortuary record.
  • Archaeology of social conflict.
  • Development of a new technique to quantify the wealth distribution through the mortuary record.
  • Monetary economics of grave goods. Isolation of currency devaluations in Roman cemeteries. Detecting inflation.
  • Development of computer applications. NECRO 2.2 statistical analysis program.
  • A Statistical Technique to Measure Social Conflict through the Archaeological Record.
  • Tyre and the Fluctuations of Phoenician Economy during the Eighth Century BC.
  • A finales de 2013 concluyó la investigacion dedicada al cementerio galo de Vaugrignon (Esvres-sur-Indre, Francia). Como tantos otros, está arrojando sorprendentes resultados, sobre todo en cuanto a la economia monetaria de la Galia durante los siglos II y I antes de nuestra era.
  • Fluctuaciones economicas en Mesoamerica. En julio de 2014 se publican sus espectaculares resultados, mostrando cómo el colapso de las civilizaciones mesoamericanas quedó codificado en el registro funerario. Se confirma, una vez mas, de forma absolutamente irrefutable, la universalidad del metodo de valoracion contextual y la teoria del valor contextual.
  • Fluctuaciones economicas y cambios sociales en la necropolis fenicia de Tiro-Al Bass. Investigacion concluida. Fecha límite publicacion: diciembre/2014.
  • Teoria de la conflictividad social. Fecha límite conclusion investigacion: diciembre/2014.
  • «Finally, in 2010, there was another momentous discovery when I checked equivalence between contextual and real value of Roman and Greek coins from Ampurias. This connects the economic archaeology of grave goods with monetary economy, opening a huge range of possibilities for research–for example, the study of devaluations and inflation.» (Izquierdo-Egea 2012: 38)
  • «We can expand the relationship between microeconomics and currency devaluations attested by the classical written sources. The evidence that made it possible was the confirmation of a value relationship between the as and the semis in Ampurias. This finding underscores the reliability of this method, and it is important to advance archaeological research of the currency swings in Roman economy. Undoubtedly, the way of conversion of contextual economic values to units of the Roman monetary system, using the as, the sestertius, the denarius or, as has been done, taking the semis as reference of equivalences, will provide pleasant surprises to improve our scientific knowledge about this field. If Ampurias has allowed isolation of two devaluations in critical moments that match the context described by classical historiography, other mortuary records will offer new discoveries.» (Izquierdo-Egea 2012: 96)
  • «Microeconomic data, from which derive macroeconomic results, also clarify key aspects of economy. Table 7 sheds light on the value of goods, obtained as ratios between the contextual value of the good concerned and the average value of all goods of the funerary set for a specific period (Izquierdo-Egea 2009: 8–9). A consideration of the equivalences creates many opportunities for analysis and opens a vast horizon of possibilities. The first pleasant surprise comes with the fact that the semis corresponds with almost half the value of the as, as one might expect. The evidence for these Roman coins comes from the reign of Claudius. On the opposite side, one can observe an apparent contradiction: although the gold ring is equivalent to one as at the time of Claudius, its real exchange value in normal economic circulation would exceed 31 asses (Izquierdo-Egea 2010: 27). But how can we understand this? The most plausible explanation is that the gold ring is, in this context, an object of personal use and does not behave as an economic good. As such, it accompanies the deceased, while other goods consumed in the funeral represent a tangible economic spending–the urn and its lid, the ointment vessels or unguentaria, or the same coins–which are amortized to the value of change maintained in real life. If so, as it seems, the exception would confirm the rule and would be acceptable the hypothesis that a specific grave good has lost its exchange value but keeps the use value.
    The context does not express accurately the value of a good but it does show an approximation of it. Accordingly, these microeconomic studies reveal their importance in demonstrating the connection of their equivalences with the Roman monetary system. This occurs without having to resort to the standard reference of the gold, by converting units of contextual value in real change units of the currency of this time.
    However, the most profitable application of these studies was done by detecting devaluations. If we turn to examine the above table, we see the oscillation of contextual values of the as and the middle as or semis, appreciating a very clear currency depreciation under Tiberius (see fig. 18), coinciding with the gravity of crisis situation that characterizes this period. The value of the semis rises again under Emperor Claudius, but does not reach the level of the reign of Augustus. At this time a major new discovery is detected: a measure of inflation in Roman Ampurias during the years of Claudius. In fact, if we compare both the value of the as and the semis by dividing them, we get 1 as equals 2.85 semises. From this data, we know that 1 semis is worth 0.35 asses in this context. This represents an inflation rate of 30% because its theoretical value is 0.50. Classical sources confirm this finding, described as serious problems of wheat supply at the beginning and end of the Claudius period (Izquierdo-Egea 2010: 30), following a series of bad harvests and the resulting high food shortages (Suetonius, De vita Caesarum, Claudius, 18–9), which would significantly increase the price of goods. This latest crisis, although it had not left its mark in Ampurias record, announces the looming deterioration during the second half of the first century of our era.
    In contrast, Domitian appreciated the value of currency at the beginning, by increasing the proportion of silver in the denarius. But another crisis in 85 AD forced a new devaluation by lowering its value to the level set by Nero in 65 AD (Jones 1992: 75). This fully agrees with the appreciation experienced by the semis at Ampurias, which happens to be worth 1.26 units in time of Claudius to 1.62 units during the second half of the first century AD, while gold seems to maintain a constant value (see Table 7). However, in the first part of the next century, it suffers a depreciation of around 40%. We can follow the evolution of the value of this coin by seeing graphically its trend in Figure 18. Another source (Walbank 1981: 87), more precisely, argued a devaluation of the denarius from Trajan by reducing its silver content, although M. Corbier (1989: 185) put it in 107 AD.» (Izquierdo-Egea 2012: 104-109)
  • «Thanks to this scientific approach, economic fluctuations and cycles have been discovered and isolated–with stages and phases, social changes, social contradictions pointing out conflicting processes, currency devaluations, and inflationary situations. In short, they are parts of a whole universe called economic archaeology of grave goods that make it possible to reconstruct economic and social dynamics of past societies through a solid framework.» (Izquierdo-Egea 2012: 113-114)

1991. Un programa informatico para el analisis funerario en arqueologia (A computer program for mortuary analysis in archaeology). Complutum 1: 133-142. ISSN 1131-6993.

1996-97 [2000]. Fluctuaciones economicas y cambios sociales en la protohistoria iberica (Economic fluctuations and social changes in Iberian protohistory). Arx 2-3: 107-138. ISSN 1137-8646.

2009. Pozo Moro y los cambios socio-economicos de la protohistoria iberica durante los siglos V y IV antes de nuestra era (Pozo Moro and the socio-economic changes of Iberian protohistory during the 5th and 4th centuries BC). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 2: 5-23. ISSN 1989-4104.

2010. Fluctuaciones economicas en la Ampurias romana de epoca alto-imperial (Economic fluctuations in Roman Ampurias during early imperial times). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 7: 3-38. ISSN 1989-4104.

2011. Mailhac y las fluctuaciones economicas de la protohistoria iberica arcaica (550-450 a. C.) (Mailhac and the economic fluctuations of early Iberian protohistory, 550-450 BC). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 11: 3-25. ISSN 1989-4104.

2012. Economic Archaeology of Grave Goods. Advances in Archaeology 1. Graus. ISSN 2254-187X. ISBN 978-84-939589-1-6.

2012. Baelo Claudia y Pollentia: nuevas evidencias sobre las fluctuaciones economicas en la Hispania romana de los siglos I-II d. C. (Baelo Claudia and Pollentia: new evidence on the economic fluctuations in Roman Spain during the first and second centuries AD). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 14: 3-16. ISSN 1989-4104.

2012. Fluctuaciones economicas en la Ampurias del siglo V antes de nuestra era (Economic fluctuations in Ampurias during the fifth century BC). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 16: 3-10. ISSN 1989-4104.

2013. On the Contextual Valuation Method and the Economic Archaeology of Grave Goods. Advanced Archaeology 1: 3-12. ISSN 2255-5455.

2013. Vaugrignon y las fluctuaciones economicas de los galos durante los siglos II y I a. C. (Vaugrignon and the Economic Fluctuations of the Gauls during the Second and First Centuries BC). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 20: 29-40. ISSN 1989-4104.

2014. Fluctuaciones economicas prehispanicas en la cuenca del rio Balsas, Mexico (Prehispanic Economic Fluctuations in the Balsas River Basin, Mexico). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 23: 3-30. ISSN 1989-4104.

2014. Tiro y las fluctuaciones de la economia fenicia durante el siglo VIII antes de nuestra era (Tyre and the Fluctuations of Phoenician Economy during the 8th Century BC). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 24: 5-20. ISSN 1989-4104.

2015. Una tecnica estadistica para medir la conflictividad social a traves del registro arqueologico (A Statistical Technique to Measure Social Conflict through the Archaeological Record). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 25: 5-18. ISSN 1989-4104.

2015. El colapso del Clasico Tardio entre los mayas de Uaxactun (Guatemala) y Barton Ramie (Belice) segun el registro funerario (The Late Classic Collapse among the Maya of Uaxactun, Guatemala and Barton Ramie, Belize according to the Mortuary Record). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 27: 12-32. ISSN 1989-4104.

2016. Calculando el nivel de recursos disponibles a partir del registro funerario mesoamericano (Calculating the Available Resource Level from the Mesoamerican Mortuary Record). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 29: 62-67. ISSN 1989-4104.

2016. Midiendo las fluctuaciones de la economia argarica a traves del registro funerario (Measuring Fluctuations in the Argaric Economy through the Mortuary Record). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 30: 77-90. ISSN 1989-4104.

2016. Monte Alban y el colapso clasico segun el registro funerario (Monte Alban and the Classic Collapse from the Mortuary Record). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 32: 52-60. ISSN 1989-4104.

2017. Fundamentos de la arqueologia de los fenomenos sociales I (Foundations of the Archaeology of Social Phenomena I). Advances in Archaeology 3. Graus. ISSN 2254-187X.

2017. Corinto y las fluctuaciones de la economia griega durante el siglo V antes de nuestra era (Corinth and the Fluctuations of Greek Economy during the 5th Century BC). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 36: 87-96. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Implementando un indice que pondere el impacto de una revista cientifica en funcion de su juventud (Implementing an Index that Weighs the Impact of a Scientific Journal Based on its Early Age). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 37: 31-39. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Leslie A. White y la medición objetiva del cambio cultural de la humanidad (Leslie A. White and the Objective Measurement of Human Culture Change). Arqueologia Iberoamericana S2: 15-18. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Implementando una ecuacion estadistica para medir el colapso en la antigua Mesoamerica (Implementing a Statistical Equation to Measure Collapse in Ancient Mesoamerica). Arqueologia Iberoamericana S2: 23-26. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Una comparacion entre transiciones de fase y conflictos sociales aplicada a las antiguas civilizaciones mesoamericanas (A Comparison between Phase Transitions and Social Conflicts Applied to the Ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 38: 50-54. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Implementando un indice mas objetivo para medir la relevancia y el impacto de las revistas cientificas (Implementing a More Objective Index to Measure the Relevance and Impact of Scientific Journals). Arqueologia Iberoamericana S3: 28-34. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Una ecuacion estadistica para medir el riesgo de guerra en la Mesoamerica prehispanica (A Statistical Equation to Measure the War Risk in Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 39: 67-70. ISSN 1989-4104.

2018. Boltzmann y la conexion de la termodinamica con la arqueologia de los fenomenos sociales (Boltzmann and the Connection of Thermodynamics with the Archaeology of Social Phenomena). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 40: 101-104. ISSN 1989-4104.

2019. Un nuevo indice bibliometrico para medir el impacto de la produccion cientifica
(A New Bibliometric Index to Measure the Impact of Scientific Production). Arqueologia Iberoamericana 41: 41-44. ISSN 1989-4104.

2019. Midiendo el grado de desarrollo urbano a traves del registro funerario
(Measuring the Degree of Urban Development through the Mortuary Record).
Arqueologia Iberoamericana 42: 50-53. ISSN 1989-4104.

2019. Sobre la ley fundamental de la arqueologia de los fenomenos sociales
(On the Fundamental Law of the Archaeology of Social Phenomena).
Arqueologia Iberoamericana 43: 67-70. ISSN 1989-4104.

2019. Termodinamica y arqueologia de los fenomenos sociales
(Thermodynamics and the Archaeology of Social Phenomena).
Arqueologia Iberoamericana 44: 80-87. ISSN 1989-4104.

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