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  • Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
  • Publications
  • 2017-2021
  • Article
  • 01 natural sciences
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • The Dark Age of the Lowlands in an interdisciplinary light: people, landscape and climate in the Netherlands between AD 300 and 1000
  • Rural Landscapes: Society Environment History
  • Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage

Date (most recent)
  • Open Access
    Willem F. Vletter; Rowin J. van Lanen;
    Publisher: Stockholm University Press
    Project: NWO | The Dark Age of the Lowla... (2300172486)

    Route networks are influenced by cultural and environmental dynamics. Consequently, route networks themselves often are dynamic as well. This is especially true in lowland areas, such as the Netherlands, where environmental processes (e.g. geomorphological changes, floods) probably reshaped these networks numerous times. Many of the existing route networks in the Netherlands were established relatively recently, and little is known of their historical predecessors. Recent developments in spatial modelling may improve locating and analysing these old, vanished routes. In this study we have applied two recently-developed applications for historical-route network modelling to the Veluwe (the Netherlands) in order to reconstruct the route network in the region around AD 1500. This region is not densely cultivated and is known to have a long history of routes and paths running through the landscape. The first method, network friction, uses high-resolution geoscientific and cultural data to calculate potential movement corridors and probable route zones. The second method uses a more traditional least-cost path (LCP) model based on surface, groundwater level and slope. The usefulness of these approaches for reconstructing past route networks and the general added value of these approaches was assessed by comparing the reconstructions to the few existing spatial overviews of historical-route networks in this region and hollow ways extracted from Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data. Our findings show that the results of the first method, network-friction modelling, correspond best with the comparison data regarding known routes in the study area. However, the general results point towards the necessity of integrating the two applied methods, since a combination of these models best reflects the multiscale variability within regional route networks.