Roads paved 2,000 years ago STILL contribute to the spread of wealth, satellite images reveal
The legacy of the Roman Empire can today be seen from space.
Satellite images show lights from prospering towns surrounding Roman roads that were built 2,000 years ago.
In a new study, researchers have confirmed that these Roman roads still act as a hot bed for economic growth and activity, much in the same way they did almost two millennia ago.
Scientists found that the backbone of many strong economies throughout have been boosted by the presence of ancient Roman highways. They analysed the population density and the intensity of lights at night along almost 50,000 miles (80,000km) of Roman routes. This map shows the roads that shaped the Roman empire (in red) across Europe
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Researchers from the universities of Copenhagen and Gothenburg studied Roman roads from AD117 using satellite images and the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilisations (DARMC).
They looked at population density and the intensity of lights at night along 50,000 miles (80,000km) of Roman roads.
By AD117, Romans had built roads across most of the continent from Hadrian’s wall down to parts of the Middle East.
The Romans mostly built in ‘newly conquered undeveloped regions’ in a bid to establish strong trade routes.
They purposefully built their roads to be very straight to make journey times as short as possible.
In their study, the scientists found ‘a remarkable pattern of persistence’ that showed great Roman road density was linked to greater economic activity in 2010.