Stigmergy in comparative settlement choice and palaeoenvironment simulation

Eugene Ch'ng, Vince Gaffney, Gido Hakvoort

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Decisions on settlement location in the face of climate change and coastal inundation may have resulted in success, survival or even catastrophic failure for early settlers in many parts of the world. In this study, we investigate various questions related to how individuals respond to a palaeoenvironmental simulation, on an interactive tabletop device where participants have the opportunity to build a settlement on a coastal landscape, balancing safety, and access to resources, including sea and terrestrial foodstuffs, while taking into consideration the threat of rising sea levels. The results of the study were analyzed to consider whether decisions on settlement were predicated to be near to locations where previous structures were located, stigmergically, and whether later settler choice would fare better, and score higher, as time progressed. The proximity of settlements was investigated and the reasons for clustering were considered. The interactive simulation was exhibited to thousands of visitors at the 2012 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition at the "Europe's Lost World" exhibit. 347 participants contributed to the simulation, providing a sufficiently large sample of data for analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Cooperative behavior
  • Palaeoenvironment
  • Settlement choice
  • Simulation
  • Stigmergy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (all)
  • General


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