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Case Studies in the Silk Roads Archaeology

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Relationships and exchanges between people and the environment are inseparable. Examination of the physical landscape can often help us understand communities and cultures, and vice-versa. Important features of human and physical geography therefore have to be taken into account in an attempt to study interactions along the Silk Roads, particularly since the networks stretched across an immense area of diverse terrains and cultures.

The main theme of the book centres on how the frontier regions of the Silk Roads were transformed by trade: What do archaeological landscapes reveal about the formation of kingdoms? How are social identities represented in burial practices? How can animal imagery offer clues to the history of transcontinental trade? A number of contributors to this volume address key questions instrumental in understanding migratory practices, civilian settlements and belief systems. In doing so, they provide a context for comparative debate that takes into account both environments and societies, instead of focusing on them as separate research trajectories. This offers a broader interpretative potential of the trade networks which is highly applicable to the archaeological record as well as to an understanding of how and why it matters today. The journey the papers take us through demonstrates precisely this significance stretching across Europe, Asia and Africa from the 4th millennium BC to the 10th century AD.

The book is a rare contribution that gives new insights into the complex dimensions of the journeys lost in history based solely on archaeological evidence. As such, it is of benefit to a wide-ranging readership interested in interpretations of the ways Afro-Eurasian ancient trade routes adopted cultural, religious and technological exchanges.

Published: Feb 1, 2023

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Archaeology of the Silk Roads: Old Questions, New Answers Branka Franicevic, Krisztina Kinga Hoppál
Section I: The Silk Roads and Migratory Practices
1. More than Monkeys: Global Interfaces and the Earliest Evidence for Exchange along the Silk Roads Marie Nicole Pareja
2. Caravan Animals: Distribution of Wealth and Disease Branka Franicevic
3. Searching for Ancestry along the Silk Roads: The Zichy Collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts Krisztina Kinga Hoppál, Marina Kuznetsova-Fetisova
4. Reconsidering the Role of Central Asia in the Making of Islamic Glazes during the 9TH to 13TH Centuries CE Carmen Ting
5. All Roads Lead to the East? Interpreting Roman Objects Discovered along the Easternmost Sections of the Silk Road(s) Krisztina Kinga Hoppál
Section II: The Silk Roads and Civilian Settlements
6. The Dzhety-Asar Culture of the Lower Syr Darya – Evolution of Culture and Typology of Settlements Martin Sebastian Goffriller, Irina Arzhantseva, Heinrich Härke
7. The Nala Sopara Surface Survey Project – A Report on the Archaeological Investigation of the Ancient Indian Ocean Port Emilia Smagur, Riza Abbas, Sitaram Toraskar, Andrzej Romanowski
8. Trade Dynamics in East Africa: The Continuation of Ancient Silk Road Settlements in the 1st Millennium CE Marike van Aerde, Samatar Ahmed Botan
Section III: The Silk Roads and Belief Systems
9. The Lack of Representation of Menstruation in Archaeological Studies: A Consideration of Beliefs, Customs, and the Silk Road Dulcie Sidney Daffodil Newbury, Karina Croucher
10. A Comparison of the Role of Religion in the Development of Urban Places around the North Sea and in Japan Andrew RJ Hutcheson, Simon Kaner
11. Funerary Customs of the Silk Road Cultures and Eurasian Acculturation Branka Franicevic