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Connectivity in the Scheldt Basin: the role of the river Scheldt in the Roman-era transport network
Bongers, T. (2020). Connectivity in the Scheldt Basin: the role of the river Scheldt in the Roman-era transport network. Digital Classics Online 6(1): 33-58. https://dx.doi.org/10.11588/dco.0.0.73392
In: Digital Classics Online. Universität Leipzig: Germany. e-ISSN 2364-7957, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Connectivity, GIS, Roman Archaeology, Economic History, Transport, Northern Gaul

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  • Bongers, T.

Abstract
    Historical-archaeological research has argued that waterways were the most efficient means of transporting goods. Nevertheless, little systematic research has been done on the use of water-ways in northern Gaul. This study assesses the potential of the river Scheldt as a transport corridor. It starts with a general characterisation of the river basin and a reconstruction of the Roman-era transport network, arguing that the necessary investments in fluvial transport were made. Both the settlement pattern, the level of economic activity, and the epigraphical evidence displays a peak in riverine and maritime trade during the second and the beginning of the third century. The results of the GIS-based cost-distance and accessibility analysis reveal a well-connected region, strategically situated between northern France, the North Sea coast, and the Rhine frontier. Although seasonal rivers were essential in minimizing transport costs, the accessibility of sites primarily depended on access to the road network.

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