Affiliations: University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, USA | E-mail: [email protected]
Corresponding author: University of St. Thomas
Abstract: Modern approaches to simulation, involving Monte Carlo methods and randomized procedures of decision-making, are usually dated back to the mid-20-th century and the arrival of the computer era. Deeper history goes back to the 19-th and even 18-th centuries and involves such devices as Galton’s board and Buffon’s needle. However, one can argue that long before the invention of computers, older devices such as dice and their predecessors have been effectively used for games and divination. The idea of this paper is to review the use of ancient randomizing devices to trace the history of simulation and random rules of decision-making. Special attention will be paid to some contemporary cultures, which have preserved some unique elements of their ancient history: native cultures of the Americas, the Celtic civilizations of Ireland and Scotland, and the indigenous peoples of Northern and Central Asia (Altai and Siberia).
Keywords: Randomization, Monte Carlo simulation, binary outcomes, dice, spindle whorls