Agent-based modelling and construction – reconstructing antiquity’s largest infrastructure project

J. Riley Snyder, Ozge Dilaver, Lucy C. Stephenson, Jan E. Mackie, Simon D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Archaeological remains around the world are testament that large-scale construction projects have been successfully carried out for millennia. This success is particularly evident through the great infrastructural works of the Roman Empire. Yet, it was when the capital was moved from Rome to Constantinople that the largest of these projects was undertaken. This megaproject of the fourth and fifth-century water supply was made of hundreds of kilometres aqueduct channels and bridges that brought fresh water to the city’s complex system of reservoirs and cisterns. Unlike projects of the previous centuries, we are left with no written record of how this titanic project was undertaken and existing archaeological and historical commentaries on structures of this period do not provide details of organization of construction. We explore the nature of building Constantinople’s water supply through diverse sources of knowledge and the application of agent-based modelling – a
method for simulating the actions, interactions and behaviours of autonomous agents and the resulting emergent properties of the system in which they are a part. This paper demonstrates the ability of ABM to develop and test richer hypotheses about historical construction organization and management than physical and historical evidence on their own.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-327
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Issue number6
Early online date18 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Agent-based modelling and construction – reconstructing antiquity’s largest infrastructure project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this