Complex Sciences. Second International Conference, COMPLEX 2012, Santa Fe, NM, USA, December 5-7, 2012, Revised Selected Papers

Research Article

Decoding Road Networks into Ancient Routes: The Case of the Aztec Empire in Mexico

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  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1007/978-3-319-03473-7_20,
        author={Igor Lugo and Carlos Gershenson},
        title={Decoding Road Networks into Ancient Routes: The Case of the Aztec Empire in Mexico},
        proceedings={Complex Sciences. Second International Conference, COMPLEX 2012, Santa Fe, NM, USA, December 5-7, 2012, Revised Selected Papers},
        proceedings_a={COMPLEX},
        year={2013},
        month={11},
        keywords={Road networks ancient routes Aztec Empire geoprocessing methods complex network measures historical evidence},
        doi={10.1007/978-3-319-03473-7_20}
    }
    
  • Igor Lugo
    Carlos Gershenson
    Year: 2013
    Decoding Road Networks into Ancient Routes: The Case of the Aztec Empire in Mexico
    COMPLEX
    Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-03473-7_20
Igor Lugo1,*, Carlos Gershenson1,*
  • 1: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
*Contact email: igorlugo@correo.crim.unam.mx, cgg@unam.mx

Abstract

Historical evidence in some regions of Latin America has suggested that the system of ancient routes between places could have determined the success or collapse of prehistoric societies. The identification of such routes provided essential information to understand initial conditions in the evolution of the actual road infrastructure. Looking into the increasing technology applied to generate and process geospatial information, we proposed a retrospective spatial analysis for discovering a large-scale network of ancient routes before the conquest of Aztecs by the Spanish around 1520 CE. Such a method consisted in analyzing existing road networks (highways) that connect a system of cities (continuously built-up areas) to deduce routes by using geoprocessing methods, network analysis, and historical evidence. The results of this research support the idea that the retrospective method may be applied to other cases to decipher and to understand initial conditions in the evolution of road infrastructures by combining different types of data and scientific fields.