Spatial patterns in landscape archaeology
- 18 September 2018
- Academy Building
2311 GJ Leiden
A GIS procedure to study settlement organization in early Roman colonial territories
In several Mediterranean regions archaeological sites have been mapped by fieldwalking surveys, producing large amounts of data. These legacy site-based survey data represent an important resource to study ancient settlement organization. Methodological procedures are necessary to cope with the limits of these data, and more importantly with the distortions on data patterns caused by biasing factors.
This study develops and applies a GIS procedure to use legacy survey data in settlement pattern analysis. The procedure consists of two parts. One part regards the assessment of biases that can affect the spatial patterns of survey data. The other part aims to shed light on the location preferences and settlement strategy of ancient communities determining the site patterns. To show how the procedure works in practice, in this project a case-study was employed.
As part of the research by the Landscapes of Early Roman Colonization project (NWO, Leiden University, KNIR) site-based datasets produced by survey projects in central-southern Italy were examined in a comparative framework to investigate settlement patterns in the early Roman colonial period (3rd century B.C.). By applying the GIS procedure, two settlement models about Roman colonization which presume radically different site densities and patterns, were tested. The aim was to establish which one is more probable based on survey data. Not only did the presented GIS procedure permit to establish which scenario is more likely to have occurred in the past, it also produced entirely new insights into the settlement organization of early Roman colonial landscapes.
- Prof. P.M.M.G. Akkermans
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