CHAAHK Simulation Model

The Climatically Heightened but Anthropogenically Achieved Historical Kerpluck (CHAAHK) simulation model recreates the basic environmental conditions and social processes characterizing the elevated interior of the Maya region during the last 3000 years. It was first published as part of my master’s thesis, where I used a Monte Carlo- style approach to contribute certain insights to the discussion of Classic Maya resilience, and continues to be developed.

CHAAHK 1.0 Documentation – Master’s Thesis

CHAAHK 1.1 Documentation

Link to downloaded the .jar installer so that you can run the simulation yourself. Download this if you don’t have Repast installed.

Link to the GitHub repository featuring the Repast project directory. Download this if you have Repast installed.

Link to the GitHub repository featuring the R scripts used in the model’s output analysis also featured in my thesis.

Link to the CoMSES archive page for this version of CHAAHK.



The abstract to the original thesis reads:

“The wax and wane of social complexity in the Maya region has received considerable attention from both researchers specializing in the area and the broader public. Said attention has been especially focused toward the long period of relatively less social complexity following the abandonment of most ancient Maya population centers in the late first millennium CE. Monocausal explanations of this “collapse” have largely failed to hold up against an ever increasing database of archaeological evidence, with the location, chronology, or environmental context of one or more sites refuting such models.

Instead of describing a singular, pan-Maya narrative of social evolution featuring many exceptions, this thesis considers the more uniform trajectory of a specific Maya subregion termed the Elevated Core Region (ECR). Even given this reduced geographical scope, understanding the complex interaction of diverse variables towards the varying states of ECR social complexity is difficult. Much evidence suggests that droughts, endemic warfare, political stability, and environmental degradation were significant variables. Further complicating things, Sentinel 2 satellite imagery is presented to suggest that the ECR’s population modified expansive seasonal wetlands in ways that may have drastically effected the region’s society, agriculture, and/or economy

Simulation modeling has shown potential as an exploratory tool to help researchers of archaeological questions conceptualize dynamics within systems that, due to data limitations, are seemingly opaque. This thesis presents an abstract spatial simulation model of the ECR’s coupled human and natural system from 1000 BCE to the present day. The simulation features features virtual human groups, population centers, transit routes, local resources, and imported resources. Despite its embryonic state, the model demonstrates how certain anthropogenic characteristics of a landscape can interact with externally induced trauma and result in a prolonged period of less sociopolitical complexity. Analysis of batch simulation output suggests decreasing empirical uncertainties about ancient wetland modification warrants more investment.”