Scotland's First Road Network. A Cost Path based analysis of the Roman roads of Scotland
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The Roman roads of Scotland are a currently under-researched and less understood component of the Roman occupation of the country. Recent research has focussed mainly on engineering aspects, and the geographical bias towards the better-preserved network of the south east is readily apparent. However, the advent of GIS as a new, flexible means of archaeological analysis allows a re-appreciation of this somewhat overlooked phenomenon. The use of GIS in archaeology has developed rapidly over the last few decades. A once foreign and terrifying discipline has been combined with that of archaeology, opening up new means of investigating old problems. One such important methodology which has found wide use in archaeological analysis is that of least cost paths, which have been used to assess potential prehistoric routeways throughout Europe and the Americas. In this dissertation, cost path models are built to investigate the factors behind Roman road building in Scotland in three separate invasion periods. By combining several variables in differentially-weighted models it has been possible to investigate the parameters which may have influenced where Romans built their roads. Rather than discovering generalised governing laws about the placement of roads in the province, it is evident that localised factors are the main consideration in significant stretches of road. A call is made for better understanding of the remaining archaeology and for greater investigation into the use of Roman roads as a tool of Imperial control and oppression in the new province.