Department or Program



In this thesis, I study the effect of past Silk Route location on modern highway locations, levels of nighttime light intensity, and population density. Using GIS techniques I created spatially accurate maps of the Silk Road trading network, thus allowing me to analyze the effect of route presence on a highly localized level. I find that proximity to a Silk Route 2,000 years ago is associated with higher levels of nighttime light intensity and population density today, as well as a higher likelihood of highway access. Furthermore, proximity to medieval routes has more of an effect on nighttime light intensity, population density, and highway access than proximity to the ancient routes, thus indicating that the effect of route presence diminishes over time.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Bates Community After Expiration]

First Advisor

Chicoine, Luke

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages



Available to Bates Community via local IP address or Bates login on Tuesday, December 19, 2034.