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Towns, roads and development dynamics in the Arverni’s territory in Roman times (Auvergne, France)

Abstract : The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between road networks, small towns and development in the Arverni’s territory in Roman times, based on the data acquired through the DYSPATER program, which aims to model spatial dynamics of territorial development in the French Massif Central from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages. Emphasis is placed on the spatial dimension of development: through the identification, mapping and GIS combination of specific markers, it is a question of highlighting the poles of development and their capacity to structure space over time, in order to assess the degree of integration and interdependence of territories. One of the main achievements of this program is to highlight significant disparities in the levels, pace and modalities of development according to the geographical sectors. In order to account for these regional inequalities, the use of the “core/periphery” model developed by John Friedmann (1966) and its typology of regional development appeared pertinent. This model shows how and why different parts of a territory develop at different rhythms and how they evolve over time as a function of spatial interactions. The application of this model to the case of the Arverni’s city suggests that four factors seem to have strongly influenced the settlement pattern: the hydro-topography, the resources available, the density of the road network, and the distance from urban centers (chief town of the city and small towns). To these factors must be added the decisive role played by the situation inherited from the pre-Roman period. However, the limits of the application of this model are rapidly reached, since it is difficult to assess the degree of economic dependence of these spaces with respect to the core region. In particular, this approach raises the crucial problem of the role of small towns in the structuring of the territory and in local development processes.
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Contributor : Frédéric Trément <>
Submitted on : Saturday, July 14, 2018 - 8:51:36 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021 - 10:50:02 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01839437, version 1



Frédéric Trément, Florian Baret, Marion Dacko, Jérôme Trescarte, Maxime Calbris, et al.. Towns, roads and development dynamics in the Arverni’s territory in Roman times (Auvergne, France). Regional urban systems in the Roman Empire. Colloque international (Leiden, 23-24 juin 2017), Luuk de Ligt, John Bintliff, Matthew Hobson, Jun 2017, Leiden, Netherlands. ⟨halshs-01839437⟩



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