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Here's an essay about historical role playing games and history of "worldbuilding"

http://bardichesandbathhouses.blogspot.com/2019/01/mimetic-worldbuilding-historical.html

It's not exactly research, but I think it will provide a lot of ideas to chew on for people who are, like us, engaged with writing games which is some way represent traditions of behavior, story, and belief which exist/existed in reality