Monte Carlo simulations as a multi-scalar tool in urban archaeology: from single contexts to macroeconomic trends (through rubbish!)

Lecture by Guido Furlan (Università degli Studi di Padova).

2018.02.09 | Julie Thomsen Raunstrup

Date Tue 12 Jun
Time 12:00 13:00
Location Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, DK-8270 Højbjerg Denmark, Building 4230-232

Urban sites represent a unique playground for archaeologists in terms of complexity and palimpsests of actions occurred. In order to decipher urban sequences and to extract meaning from them, sophisticated and flexible tools are increasingly required. Among these, quantitative approaches, when employed in connection with the analysis of urban archaeological formation processes, can provide useful insights on the micro and macro scale.

Monte Carlo simulations, for instance, can be profitably employed to investigate the origin and genesis of archaeological deposits and to provide an explicit mean to deal with residuality in secondary contexts. This, in turn, represents a fundamental step towards the interpretation of urban sequences.

On a wider scale, quantitative methods can be used to sketch trends in urban economy and to highlight which phenomena may affect the observed trajectories: among these, rubbish disposal plays a substantial role in distorting the expected results.


Guido Furlan is a post-doctoral researcher at Università degli studi di Padova. His doctoral thesis tackled different aspects and problems in dating urban deposits in classical cities (theoretical frameworks, methodologies and case studies). His current research focuses mainly on Roman archaeology, with particular attention on waste disposal strategies in Roman cities, and post-excavation data processing. After several campaigns in Italy, Greece and Austria, he was involved in the excavation of the House of Titus Macer, in the major site of Aquileia, from 2009 to 2013. From 2015, again in Aquileia, he is member of the team working on the theatre of the ancient city.

Lecture/talk, History and archaeology