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    Archaeology of the Silk Road: challenges of scale and storytelling

    Franklin, Kate (2023) Archaeology of the Silk Road: challenges of scale and storytelling. Journal of Archaeological Research , ISSN 1059-0161.

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    Invented in the nineteenth century as an allegory for large scale human interaction across Eurasia, the idea of ‘the Silk Road’ continues to shape archaeological investigations of trade, travel, cultural exchange, and mobility in the region between the Near East and East Asia. Though long used to refer to trade between the ancient and late medieval periods, the framework of the Silk Road has grown increasingly popular and is used to orient research on mobilities of much earlier periods, as well as to frame movement and exchange at the molecular level, including of human genes. This article reviews the shared challenges confronted by Silk Road archaeologists and explores the narratives about human culture that have been tied up in the Silk Road metaphor from the beginning. Through a review of recent work on and along the Silk Road, the article traces common narratives and shared scalar challenges across archaeologies of landscape, material culture, gender, mobile lifeways, and isotopic and genetic assemblages, and examines tensions between globality and locality within Silk Road cultural heritage and the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Research Centres and Institutes: Medieval and Early Modern Worlds
    Depositing User: Kate Franklin
    Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2022 14:06
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:18


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