Mihailo POPOVIC1 / Markus BREIER2
(1Austrian Academy of Sciences / 2University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
Outline: This paper shows two methods to reconstruct medieval road networks in the historical region of Macedonia, for which only few archaeological remains exist. One of these methods is network analysis, the other one is the calculation of least cost paths.
Abstract: The reconstruction of medieval road networks in the southern Balkan peninsula has often been focused on the well documented Via Egnatia between Dyrrachium and Constantinople, which led to a marginalisation of adjacent routes. This can be explained by the fact that in comparison to the rich variety of written sources as well as of archaeological evidence concerning the Via Egnatia we simply lack useful data for other routes in the region.
The submitted paper shows that this existing gap can successfully be bridged by the application of two methods. One has been used on the macro-level of historical geography, the other on the micro-level. Therefore, this paper is divided into two parts which form an indissoluble entity. In the first part M. Popovic is combining historical maps of the entire historical region of Macedonia dating to the first half of the 19th century, i. e. before industrialisation commenced in South-East Europe, with medieval and preindustrial itineraries in order to analyse the development of routes as well as their importance (centrality) with the means of network analysis. In the second part M. Breier is focusing on the micro-level of historical geography with a case study on a specific route between the towns of Stip, Strumica and Petric by using GIS-based applications (least-cost paths) to predict a medieval road, which is in fact attested by the medieval written sources, but cannot be localised on the basis of archaeological findings.
Both methods constitute the latest innovations in the field of computer applications and quantitative methods in archaeology. The achieved results show clearly that our lack of sources can be compensated to a certain extent by computer-based models, which have the potential to enhance the scientific work of archaeologists and to familiarise the wider public with complex historical interrelations through visual representations.
Keywords: Byzantium Routes Network Analysis GIS