Even though transport had a bad reputation in the discourse of the Roman elites, in recent research it became evident, that it had a vital impact on the prosperity of the Roman economy and thus on the long-term existence of the Roman Empire. Therefore, it is an absolute desideratum to explore Roman inland transport transdisciplinary, combining recent technological developments with experimental data and profound historical research to gain the most realistic transport times. The objective of STRADA is the development of a dynamic computer-based simulation system for water and land borne transport between the Adriatic Sea and the Danube.
Thereby, STRADA is geared to three aims:
- the study of the spatial and temporal interconnectivity between Roman Italy and the Danube frontier, for gaining a better understanding of the economic cohesion of the Roman Empire,
- the analysis of the influence of environmental factors on the ancient transport system,
- and the introduction of dynamic simulations into historical research.
For the implementation, the project will focus on three closely interwoven strands:
- The exact reconstruction of the ancient land- and water-routes,
- the experimental determination of the performance of the used land- and water-borne means of transport under changing environmental conditions
- the development of a time-related simulation system including local fine granular topography and historical weather data, different means of transport (water- and land-based) with different loads, the fatigue of the actors as well as necessary rests and loading times.
STRADA will follow a modular design that will ease the sustainable use and a future extension of the simulation system. The chosen research area covers a wide range of landscapes from the Mediterranean lowlands, followed by different kinds of alpine regions, to a central European river landscape, which makes it easy adaptable to other times and places.