This paper describes a methodology and software engine for generating dynamic vegetation models for archaeological reconstruction and interactive visualisation, integrating the disciplines of Artificial Life (Alife) and Virtual Reality. The engine, based on the concept of emergence (a phenomenon in complex Alife systems), uses real botanical parameters, channelled through simple rules, in order to synthesise the dispersal patterns of natural vegetation communities as they grow, reproduce, and compete for resources. The foci for the development and evaluation of the Alife engine described relate to different scenarios in nature as may have existed during the Mesolithic period. Results from the study showed evidence of correlations between the artificial vegetation and their natural counterparts, demonstrating the feasibility of using such models in historical landscape reconstructions.
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