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


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


Central Asia, pre-Silk Road Agricultural Exchange

Archaeology of FoodPublished Book Chapter

Spengler, Robert N., III
2015. Central Asia, pre-Silk Road Agricultural Exchange. In Mary Beaudry and Karen Metheny (eds.), The Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia. Rowman and Littlefield.

Agriculture in the Central Asian Bronze Age

Spengler, Robert N., III
2015. Agriculture in the Central Asian Bronze Age. Journal of World Prehistory. Peer-reviewed.


World PrehistoryBy the late third/early second millennium BC, increased interconnectivity in the mountains of Central Asia linked populations across Eurasia. This increasing interaction would later culminate in the Silk Road. While these populations are typically lumped together under the title of ‘nomads’, a growing corpus of data illustrates how diverse their economic strategies were, in many cases representing mixed agropastoral systems. Continue reading

Botanical Resource Use in the Bronze and Iron Age of the Central Eurasian Mountain/Steppe Interface

Spengler, Robert N., III
2013. Botanical Resource Use in the Bronze and Iron Age of the Central Eurasian Mountain/Steppe Interface: Decision Making in Multi-resource Pastoral Economies, Ph.D. Dissertation for the Anthropology Department at Washington University in St. Louis.

Available open access through WUSTL.


WUSTLThis dissertation examines botanical resources as components of Central Asian economies in the Bronze: ca. 2500 – 800 B.C.) and Iron Ages: ca. 800 B.C. – A.D. 500) using a paleoethnobotanical data set from four archaeological sites, Begash, Mukri, Tasbas, and Tuzusai. These sites are located in  Continue reading