Modelling the Dynamics of Demography in the Dutch Roman Limes Zone

Philip Verhagen, Jamie Joyce, Mark Groenhuizen


In this paper we present the first results of a study that aims to better understand and model the size and development of population in the Dutch Roman limes zone, as part of a larger research project investigating the development of the cultural landscape in the area. Earlier estimates of population size have only used general assumptions based on settlement density and supposed Roman army recruitment requirements and have not considered in any detail the factors influencing population growth and decline. This paper first presents the existing evidence for estimating population size in the area and then discusses the evidence for mortality and fertility estimates in the Roman period, necessary to better understand the large-scale demographic processes involved. From this evidence, new estimates for population size in the Early and Middle Roman period are calculated, using agent-based modelling to better understand the dynamics of population growth and the effects of recruitment of soldiers by the Roman army. It is concluded that earlier calculations underestimated the potential for population growth as well as the effect of forced recruitment on demography.


Roman limes, Dutch River Area, Batavians, Demography, Agent-Based Modelling

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Copyright (c) 2016 Philip Verhagen, Jamie Joyce, Mark Groenhuizen

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LAC 2014 proceedings - ISBN 978-90-825296-0-9 - is an open access initiative supported by the University Library, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.