Guiding Travelers: On changing routes and roads in the Middle Ages

Seed grant awarded to : Gabrielle van den Berg (Persian Studies), Maria Riep (LIAS, Middle Eastern Studies), Marie Favereau (History), and Tineke d’Haeseleer (Chinese Studies). This research project aims to investigate the (trading) networks of Eurasia from the 6th to 14th Century. Traditionally scholarship has focused on selected trading routes and networks, such as the Vikings, the early Hanze, Sogdian traders in Central Asia, or the Arab merchants’ networks; yet goods, ideas, technologies and people circulated from one network to another in this process of pre-modern globalisation. Granted: €6000

Project Coordinators:
Gabrielle van den Berg (LIAS, Persian Studies)
Maria Riep (LIAS, Middle Eastern Studies)
Marie Favereau (History, Oxford)
Tineke d’Haeseleer (LIAS, Chinese Studies and Princeton Society of Fellows).

Guiding Travelers Website

Our main contention is that the current state of research does not reflect the complexity and sophistication of the interaction between the different networks, which linked the European and Mediterranean world with the East Asian world in a long chain. Insufficient research has been carried out on the connecting points in infrastructure or organisation across natural or human-imposed boundaries.

We intend to challenge the concepts of the “Silk Roads” and “Incense Routes” with an imaginary beginning and end, and will explore an alternative model of an evolving cluster of networks. Social network theory and computer network analysis, theory on agency and agent based modeling, the use of Geographical Information Systems will yield significant new perspectives on hypotheses in the fields of history, archaeology, geography. The data gathered by such a large project with a wide scope in space and time in turn contributes to theories in the use of computer applications in humanities, economy and, sociology and anthropology.

Gabrielle van den Berg (Persian Studies)
Remco Breuker (Korean Studies)
Jelle Bruning (Arabic Studies)
Marie Favereau (History)
Barend ter Haar (Chinese Studies)
Tineke D’Haeseleer (Chinese Studies)
Peter Hoppenbrouwers (Medieval History)
Bernhard Katzy (Computer Network Analysis)
Pieter ter Keurs (Cultural Anthropology)
Michael Lew (Computer Network Analysis)
Maria Riep (Arabic Studies/ Central Asian History and Archaeology)
Petra Sijpesteijn (Arabic Studies)
Frans Theuws (Medieval Archaeology)
Joanita Vroom (Mediterranean Archaeology)
Yuan Yuan Zhao (Computer Network Analysis)

Grant awarded February 2012

Last Modified: 14-09-2016