Abstract for: The endogenous genesis of Etruscan proto-cities: System Dynamics as a tool for historians

Around the 10th century BC the rural villages in South Etruria (now Tuscany and Latium, Italy) began to disappear and a number of cities started to arise. The accepted grounds of these events deal with defense and safety reasons. Instead, our interpretation attributes the birth of the proto-cities to a sustainability crisis in the mining villages and asserts that mining technicians imposed such transition on farmers in order to carry out a sustainable reorganization of the whole system of settlements and, as a corollary, to strengthen their ruling role. The objective of this paper is threefold: (i) to illustrate the proposed hypothesis by means of a simulation model roughly reproducing the described event, (ii) to point out the System Dynamics approach potential as an auxiliary tool in the historiographical research, (iii) to provide a further example in literature of how to model a transition phase and to handle discrete events within a continuous paradigm. In addition to a detailed description of the model and its outputs, this paper includes an outline of historical events considered herein, some epistemological and methodological considerations, and an exposition of the next steps of this research path. Keywords: Etruscan proto-cities, Etruscan mining and metallurgy, origin of the cities, processes of urbanization, synoecism, auxiliary sciences of history, modeling, structural change, simulation, system dynamics.