Fruits of the Silk Roads

Abstract

Spengler, Robert N. III (2019) Fruits of the Silk Roads, In Silk Roads: Peoples, Cultures, Landscapes Susan Whitfield (Ed.) Thames and Hudson: London.

As world powers realign their cultural, economic and political outlooks, there is no better time to consider how Afro-Eurasia’s complex network of ancient trade routes – which spanned the vastness of the steppe, vertiginous mountain ranges, fertile river plains and forbidding deserts across the continents and on to the seas beyond – fostered economic activity and cultural, political and technological communication. From silk to slaves, fashion to music, religion to science the movement of interaction of goods, people and ideas was crucial to the flourishing of peoples and their cultures across this vast region. Continue reading

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

Bronze and Iron Age urbanization in Turkmenistan: Preliminary results from the excavation of Togolok 1 on the Murghab alluvial fan

Abstract

Cerasetti, Barbara, Roberto Arciero, Marialetizia Carra, Antonio Curci, Jacopo De Grossi Mazzorin, Luca Forni, Elise Luneau, Lynne M. Rouse, and Robert N. Spengler III (2019) Bronze and Iron Age urbanization in Turkmenistan: Preliminary results from the excavation of Togolok 1 on the Murghab alluvial fan. In: Christoph Baumer and Mirko Novak (Eds.) Urban Cultures of Central Asia from the Bronze Age to the Karakhanids: Learnings and conclusions from new archaeological investigations and discoveries. Proceedings of the First International Congress on Central Asian Archaeology held at the University of Bern, 4-6 February 2016. pp. 63-72 Harressowitz Verdog: Bern, Switzerland.

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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

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

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.

Abstract

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.

Abstract

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