martedì 6 novembre 2007

Medieval routes

Medieval Routes
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The introductory presentation by Vince Gaffney discussed the major issues and the advantages for the project of computer-modelling systems, and was intended to set the scene for some of the later technical presentations. It considered key historical and archaeological issues related to logistics and military organization, and the relevance of digital technologies for their analysis. Specific emphasis was placed on the potential of GIS as a core technology for logistical study and a basic introduction to the nature and use of GIS technologies was provided for the benefits of participants not familiar with their use. Examples of relevant work were presented and the limitations of current applications and technologies considered.

Malcolm Wagstaff then presented a paper dealing with Network analysis, logistics and applied topology, since any analysis of the logistics of warfare must be concerned with routes and with nodes in networks of routes. Routes focus movement; nodes command intersections. Both are intimately related to the ways in which armies actually move across country and with the ways in which they are provisioned. Routes also mediate power, linking its loci with territory, its peoples and their use of land. They are essential to the exercise of control and the extraction of surplus. Thus, the reconstruction and analysis of the communications structure is basic to the examination of the logistics of medieval warfare in the regions proposed for study. The potential of graph theory in this respect and some of the indices that have been derived from it were discussed, some practical questions of making graph theory operational were presented, and some applications of graph theory published by Sanders and Whitbread were considered.
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