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Finding the Limits of the Limes

  • Mark Groenhuijzen
Thursday 9 February 2017
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

The Digital Archaeology Group is pleased to host Mark Groenhuijzen from the VU Amsterdam. He will be presenting on his PhD research, undertaken as a part of the project 'Finding the Limits of the Limes'. 

We invite everyone to stay for drinks following the event.


Comparing network construction techniques in the context of the distribution of rural surplus production in the Dutch limes zone.

The Roman military conquest and occupation of the Lower Rhine region between 12BC and 270AD resulted in a series of fortifications (the Dutch limes). The garrisons of these fortifications required fuel, wood and food. Recent research in the region has indicated that a shift from subsistence farming to surplus production of food was possible for the local population. Yet it remains largely unknown how this surplus could have been moved from the rural settlements to the military sites. Due to the limited transport-related archaeological evidence in the region, we applied least-cost path modelling and network analysis to construct networks of local transport, and to investigate the role of individual sites within the network.

However, using this approach generated a methodological issue: how do we know which connections to include or exclude in our network? In this paper we aim to tackle this question by experimenting with different methods to construct a local transport network from our least-cost paths, including our original model with an arbitrary cut-off distance, and other techniques such as proximal point analysis, Delaunay and Gabriel networks, and networks generated on a geographical efficiency criterion. We compare them in hypothetical scenarios on the distribution of rural surplus production from producers to consumers in the Dutch part of the Roman limes.

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