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Kazakhstan’s section of the Great Silk Road in light of new archaeological discoveries

  • Dmitriy Voyakin
donderdag 5 december 2019
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden

Kazakhstan’s section of the Great Silk Road in light of new archaeological discoveries

The Great Silk Road is a system of caravan routes connecting East and West Eurasia across regions situated in present-day China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. In the east, these routes stretched to Korea and Japan, in the west to Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, to India in the south, and to the Middle and Near East in the south-west. The Great Silk Road was a road with a two-way movement of goods, scientific achievements, cultural values and religions. The routes kept on changing for centuries due to various reasons, some of the sections and branches were becoming more important while others were dying and their cities and trade stations were declining.

The lecture will focus on four main sections or arteries of the Silk Road on the territory of present-day Kazakhstan: the Zhetysu (Semirechie) Corridor; the Syrdarya Corridor, which became part of the Fergana-Syrdarya Corridor; the Saryarka and Mangyshlak (Ural-Caspian) corridors, as well as a separate category of sites that represent the early formation stage of the Silk Roads. Each of these sections is characterized by diverse natural and geographical conditions. The historical and cultural developments, in particular the urban ones, had a clear impact on the process of formation, development and stagnation of historical and cultural sites located in these regions along the Great Silk Road. These complex processes of the inseparable connectivity between culture, nature and history demonstrate not only the ways of human adaptation to different climatic conditions but also the ways of mutual enrichment through the exchange of social values and cultural traditions.

Dmitriy Voyakin

Dmitriy Voyakin was recently appointed director of the International Institute for Central Asian Studies after successfully serving in numerous official positions and working on myriad permanent archaeological investigations such as Otrar, Kayalyk, Akyrtas as well as explorations of archaeological sites on the dry bottom of the Aral Sea. He has been a delegate to the World Heritage Committee for the Republic of Kazakhstan (2014-2017) and UNESCO international expert and member of the National Commission of the RoK for UNESCO and ISESCO since 2018. When he is not facilitating the CAAL project, he is working on a long-term mapping project which is using digital technologies to document and disseminate information about monuments and sites in Kazakhstan. He is fired up by the use of digital technologies in activating appreciation, knowledge, and protection of archaeological heritage.

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