Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat

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Abstract

Fruit from the SandsSpengler, Robert N., III (2019) Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat, University of California Press: Berkeley.

The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. Continue reading

The origins of cannabis smoking: Chemical residue evidence from the first millennium BCE in the Pamirs

Abstract

Science AdvancesRen, Meng, Zihua Tang, Xinhua Wu, Robert N. Spengler III, Hongen Jiang, Yimin Yang, and Nicole Boivin (2019) The origins of cannabis smoking: Chemical residue evidence from the first millennium BCE in the Pamirs. Science Advances. 5(6): eaaw1391.

Available open access

Cannabis is one of the oldest cultivated plants in East Asia Continue reading

Origins of the Apple: The Role of Megafaunal Mutualism in the Domestication of Malus and Rosaceous Trees

Abstract

Frontiers in Plant ScienceSpengler, Robert N., III (2019) Origins of the Apple: The Role of Megafaunal Mutualism in the Domestication of Malus and Rosaceous Trees. Frontiers in Plant Science. 10(617):1-18.

Available open access

The apple (Malus domestica [Suckow] Borkh.) is one of the most economically and culturally significant fruits Continue reading

A new project aims to understand the early prehistoric use of animals and plants along the ancient Silk Road through archaeological fieldwork in southern Kyrgyzstan’s high Alay Valley.

Abstract

AntiquityTaylor, William T., Svetlana Shnaider, Robert N. Spengler III, Ludovic Orlando, Aida Aboykanova, Andrei Krivoshapkin (2019) Investigating Ancient Animal Economies and Exchange in Kyrgyzstan’s Alay Valley. Antiquity. 93(367): e2.

A new project aims to understand the early prehistoric use of animals and plants along the ancient Silk Road Continue reading

The Breadth of Dietary Economy in Bronze Age Central Asia

Spengler, Robert N., III, Ilaria de Nigris, Barbara Cerasetti, Marialetizia Carra, Lynne M. Rouse (2018) The breadth of dietary economy in Bronze Age Central Asia: Case study from Adji Kui 1 in the Murghab region of Turkmenistan. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 22: 372-381.

Abstract

Archaeological Science ReportsOver the past decade research into the paleoeconomy of Bronze Age (3500-800 B.C.) peoples in Central Asia has shown how complex the productive economy was. The agropastoral system involved an array of crops and herd animals. In this article, we present a paleoethnobotanical study conducted on sediment samples from excavation units at the site of Adji Kui, Turkmenistan. Continue reading

Linking agriculture and exchange to social developments of the Central Asian Iron Age

Robert N. Spengler III, Naomi F. Miller, Reinder Neef, Perry A. Tourtellotte, Claudia Chang

Abstract

JAA-CoverCentral Asia is commonly referred to as a pastoral realm, and the first millennium B.C. is often thought to mark a period of increased mobility and reliance on animal husbandry. The economic shift of the first millennium B.C. is usually interpreted as a transition toward specialized pastoralism in Central Asia, and the point in time when the Central Asian ‘nomads’ or Scythians appear. Continue reading

Eurasian textiles: Case studies in exchange during the incipient and later Silk Road periods

Paula N. Doumani Dupuy, Robert N. Spengler III, Michael D. Frachetti Quaternary International (2017) 1-12

Abstract

In thiQuaternary Internationals article, we introduce a new line of evidence for the passage and consumption of one commodity – textiles – into the Dzhungar Mountains of southeastern Kazakhstan during the incipient (i.e., Bronze Age), and later (i.e., Iron Age and Medieval Period) Silk Road periods. Although woolen textiles are known for neighboring western China from several discoveries of clothing in its prehistoric cemeteries, Continue reading