Join the round table at CHNT28!

We use today’s blog to introduce an interesting round table at CHNT28!

Computer-based simulations as a tool for the reconstruction of historical inland transport systems

Leif Scheuermann | Germany

Research on transport of goods, people and information (as the fundamental prerequisite for the communication and trade system), is crucial for a better understanding of historical economy. It is therefore hardly surprising that since the 1990’s approaches in computational archaeology have issued the topic, mainly by using Least-Cost Path Analysis. These static simulations, developed in the field of pre-history was widely adapted especially in ancient studies and combined with Network Analysis approaches (summarizing see: Verhagen, Joyce, and Groenhuijzen, 2019). In addition, other simple web-based applications have attracted considerable interest due to their ease of use (e.g. Scheidel and Mee, 2015). However, results have often been limited due to strong generalizations and associated blurring. A dynamic and multi-layered model that comes close to the historical conditions is therefore missing up to now.

The Round Table will thus explore possibilities to close this gap. In this context, the organizers would like to present and discuss a dynamic multi-agent simulation approach, which aims at developing a multi-layered and realistic picture of the historical traffic system. In this context, reconstructing the traffic routes as precisely as possible plays an equally important role as the integral linking of water and land transport as well as the necessary infrastructure.

In this round table, first results will be presented and discussed. Participants from other, similar projects are explicitly invited to contribute parallels and alternatives as well as possible solutions to open questions. A special focus will be on the question limits and possibilities of computer-based simulation as well as on the historical significance of such an approach.

Check out the CHNT28 programme for further information!