(Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherland, Amersfoort, The Netherlands)

Keywords: urbanization patterns, data integration, GIS, multi-proxy approach, archaeology and urban history

As a result of the Atlas of the Dutch Urban Landscape research project, the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (published 2016) has created an overview of European urbanization from the Roman period up to the present in a series of digital GIS-based maps. These maps represent a combination of archaeological, spatial, landscape, demographic and historical data. On these maps we can clearly see the shifting of economic centres under the influence of changing infrastructures, the rise and fall of nations and empires, industrialization, and many other factors.
The maps represent the periods around AD 200, 1000, 1300, 1500, 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2000. These time slices represent a subsequence of periods in urban history. In this chronological sequence there is a single striking gap between AD200 and 1000. In between these two periods, we have seen the ascent and disappearance of a special category of towns: the emporia of early medieval Europe.
In this paper we would like to propose a methodological framework for a comparative, synthesizing approach of urban development from the Roman era to the High Middle Ages, with the Netherlands as a case study. Will it be possible to outline and explain the fundamental shifts from the urban-oriented Roman empire, to the dynamism of the early medieval emporia, to eventually the pattern of towns that emerged in the Middle Ages and which continued into the early-modern period? What data are available and how can we integrate them into a comprehensive model?

Relevance conference | Relevance Round Table:
This paper deals with the integration of digital and analogue data into a comprehensive model, aiming at creating an overview of urban development in the period AD200-1200.

An overview like this has not been made before.

RUTTE, Reinout / ABRAHAMSE, Jaap Evert (eds.) (2016):
Atlas of the Dutch urban landscape. A millennium of spatial development, Bussum (Thoth Publishers) 2016.
VAN LANEN, R.J. et al. (in review): ‘Route persistence. Modelling and quantifying historical route-network stability during the last two millennia: a case study from the Netherlands’, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (in review).