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Simulating communication routes in

Late Antique Mallorca

(Balearic Islands, Spain)
Patricia Murrieta Flores , Catalina Mas Florit and David Wheatley
1 2 1
Archaeology Department,

University of Southampton.
Departament de Prehistòria,
Background Història Antiga i Arqueologia,
Universitat de Barcelona.
The purpose of this paper is to present A total of 1521 paths
the results of a GIS based spatial analysis, were then created
simulating possible communication in the between these nodes It has also been interesting to observe the
East part of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain) and, in order to recorded settlements are predominantly
during Late Antiquity. This work is part characterise areas located in natural pass areas, and therefore
of a larger project that aims to study the most likely to have a statistical test of significance was carried
settlement patterns in the east of the island of been passed through, out in order to explore the idea of a possible
Mallorca during this period, one of the least a grid of one kilometre correlation between distance from the
known periods in the history of the islands. cells was created and calculated LCPs and the settlement locations.
Towards the end of 4th century, the Balearic used to count how The test allowed rejection of the null
Islands were an independent Roman province. many paths crossed hypothesis (that the settlements are randomly
In the year each cell. A map was distributed with respect to the calculated
455 AD, then derived to show paths) at the 0.05 level of significance,
the Vandals the natural areas of suggesting there is a significant association.
conquered the transit with respect
islands, and to energetic cost of Fig. 3 Calculated least cost paths

later in 534 movement.

AD fell to the
This last rule
lasted until
the Islamic
conquest in Fig.1 Mallorca and the Iberic Peninsula

902-903 AD.
Fig. 6 Kolmogorov-Smirnov test

Objectives Although the test does not explain the nature

of this relationship it supports in a more
The archaeological evidence and the studies robust way the observation previously made
concerning the social dynamics of the period, and requires further investigation.
have led to suggestions that Early Christian
churches such as Son Pereto, Sa Carrotja Finally, comparing the LCP based on energetic
and Son Fadrinet played a fundamental role Fig. 4 Natural Areas of Trnnsits: Intersection of paths per kilometre
cost against paths based on velocity, we
in the organization of the territory, and could observe that the routes traced are
therefore it was considered important to totally different. Neither the churches nor
test their possible relationships with natural Additionally, a line density analysis was the settlements seem to be related with paths
communication zones. Following this idea carried out in order to compare the results of that are calculated on the basis of velocity. It
another objective was to investigate if the both analyses. is considered essential to further investigate
settlements of the same period presented the reasons why churches and settlements are
a pattern of having a relationship to the located in principal zones of natural transit in
areas of natural transit. To model possible terms of energetic cost.
communication routes in Late Roman was also
an interesting objective because of the lack of
archaeological evidence regarding historical
paths in our study zone.

Pedestrian energetic cost is a constant variable
for movement in all societies. Consequently,
for the Cost Surface Analyses it was decided
to experiment with the formula developed for Fig. 5 Line density analysis
physiological studies by Pandolf et al. (1976),
Fig. 7 Comparison between the least cost paths: Energy vs. Velocity
that calculates energetic expenditure in watts
and to compare these results with those As a third experiment, an additional Cost
obtained by the same formula but modified Surface Analysis was carried out. This time
by Van Leusen (2002). This author discusses the LCP were calculated with the formula
the problem of anisotropy and the differential developed by Gorenflo and Gale (1990), which
function of physiological expenditure when calculates cost in terms of velocity. The
we move uphill and downhill, introducing the purpose of this new analysis was to compare
idea of the these results with the LCP resulting from the
axis of cost Pandolf et al.
previous paths calculated using the function
symmetry at m=1.5w+2(w+l)(l/w)2+n(w+l)(1.5v2+0.35vg) of the energetic cost of movement.
Van Leusen
-6° of slope to m=1.5w+2(w+l)(l/w)2+n(w+l)(1.5v2+0.35vg*abs(g+6))
the formula Where:
m = the energy expended in watts
developed by w = the total weight moved (weight of the individual in Kg)
Pandolf et al.
Discussion and Results
l = the weight of the load carried in Kg
v = the speed of travel in m/s
n = the terrain factor
Comparing the and
cost surface g= the gradient (slope) in percent Within the results, it is notable that the
results for churches of Son Pereto and Son Fadrinet seem
Fig. 2 Formula developed by Pandolf et al., and later modified by Van Leusen
both formulas to be located along an axis which appears to
Fig. 8 Natural passage between the churches travelling from South to North-West
we can have been one of the easiest zones of transit
conclude that the formula modified by Van in the eastern part of the island. This result is
Leusen more accurately represents the cost particularly interesting because of the social
expended when travelling uphill or downhill. and economic dynamics of this period in
The resulting cost surfaces were used for the which churches organized the surrounding
calculation of the Least Cost Paths. territory. Furthermore, it may be possible to
suggest that this axis could have served as
To establish the location of the nodes used communication hub, establishing a series of
as a sample for the calculation of the LCP, a links to places at higher altitudes in which
characterization of the surface was carried other communities are located.
out using the DEM of Mallorca through the
analyses available in Landserf. From this Due to its location in the port, it is possible to
analysis, the natural passes were identified suggest that the church of Sa Carrotja exhibits
and these locations were selected as nodes for a different dynamic to those of the inland
the experiment. In addition, the historically churches. It is interesting to note, for example,
known ports were also used as nodes due that this church is also located within an area
to the available archaeological evidence where many roads converge and which also
suggesting their importance as points of trade seems to be a natural corridor on the coast.
and commerce for the zones in which the
churches were constructed.