Creating a digital map of premodern transport and mobility
Geography is a central factor in the study of premodern exchange, economically also expressed in information asymmetry and transaction costs. Patterns of trade are to a large degree determined by geography and the visualisation of market exchange is an important tool in economic history. In the last decades, the interaction of markets has received a lot of attention. Trade networks and market integration are research topics of lasting popularity. The underlying methodology has profited immensely from computerization and digitization.
The project contributes to the study of the premodern economy and society by creating a digital infrastructure for individual research projects. The digital map of premodern overland trade routes in northern Europe will be accessible online as an Open Access Resource (date to be announced). Printed atlases like Bruns/Weczercka's 'Hanseatic Trade Roads' (Hansische Handelsstraßen, 1962-1968) and research literature on trade routes provide the basic data for this digital research tool, supplemented by archival research. Next to digitized road systems, the map and the accompanying database will also cover spatiotemporal data, such as fairs and tolls etc.
Read up on the project and the progress we made on the Project-Blog and on Twitter.
The Viabundus project is carried out by the IHLF (Institute for Historical Regional Studies) at the University of Göttingen in cooperation with the FGHO. Work on the area of todays Lower Saxony is funded by Pro*Niedersachsen and is set to run until the end of 2020. It covers the area of todays Lower Saxony. You can find further information on the project here.
The FGHO coordinates the project partners, but also contributes to the database by submitting data on the area of todays Schleswig-Holstein. We are working closely with another currently running sub-project in Denmark, a shared effort between Aarhus University and Moesgaard Museum, digitizing overland trade routes in todays Denmark.
A workshop in Göttingen in October 2019 marked the beginning of the runtime of a third sub-project at the University of Magdeburg. Funded by the Friedrich-Christian-Lesser-Stiftung, this project maps medieval road networks in the area of todays northern Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt.
Further regional projects expanding the project area, namely to the Netherlands and Belgium, Poland and the Baltic States are in planning.
On 19th April 2021, the Viabundus platform was officially launched. Please find the videos of the launch below.