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Ancient Buddhist text discovered near Mes Aynak, Afghanistan

Rare Ancient Buddhist Text Discovered In Doomed Temple Super-Complex Near Kabul

Archaeologists in Afghanistan have discovered exceptionally rare pieces of an ancient Buddhist manuscript dated to around the seventh century AD at an ancient settlement near Kabul. In the spring of...
Interior of Orbelian’s Caravanserai.

Orbelian’s Caravanserai: A Lasting Sanctuary for Travelers Along the Silk Road

Orbelian’s Caravanserai (known previously as the Selim Caravanserai) is a caravanserai located in Vayots Dzor, a province in the southeastern part of Armenia . According to a dedicatory inscription,...
Modern Mongol horsemen at the eagle festival. Life may have been tranquil for hunters during the time of Pax Mongolica too.

The Pax Mongolica: When the Mongols Brought Peace to Europe and Asia

The Pax Mongolica (translated from Latin to mean ‘Mongol Peace’) refers to a period in history when a large part of Europe and Asia was under Mongol control as a result of the military campaigns of...
Alexander the Great Refuses to Take Water by Giuseppe Cades (1792)

Alexander the Great: Veterans and Settlers – Part III

Watching the fast-evolving state of affairs following Alexander’s death, the Athenian demagogue Demades compared the Macedonian army to the: “Cyclops after his one eye had been burned out, seeing its...
A 14th century depiction of a camel caravan on the Silk Road.

Treacherous Trading: Dangers of the Silk Road

The Silk Road is arguably the most famous long-distance trade route in the ancient world. This trade route connected Europe in the West with China in the East, and allowed the exchange of goods,...
Aerial view of an ancient irrigation system discovered in the foothills of Xinjiang, China.

Did Ancient Irrigation Technology Travel Silk Road?

Using satellite imaging and drone reconnaissance, archaeologists from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered an ancient irrigation system that allowed a farming community in arid...
Arge Bam, Bam, Iran.

Castle in the Sand: Arg-e Bam as a Pillar of Middle-Eastern Longevity

Iran’s Arg-e Bam, Bam Citadel, once stood as a pillar of longevity in the Middle East. Created upon the beginnings of the Achaemenid Empire (6th-4th centuries BC), and building on the commercial...
A satellite image shows a 17th century caravanserai (outpost) which served people traveling the Silk Road.

Going Where Archaeologists Cannot, Spy Satellites Reveal Thousands of Forgotten Ancient Sites in Afghanistan

Ancient sites may come into in the line of fire when war breaks or a building project begins. Destruction and looting could be prevalent at such times, but archaeologists often believe there is...
Dome Urfa Harran

Why were the Knights Templar so Interested in Harran, One of the Oldest Cities in the World?

Harran is one of the oldest cities in the World. Located in southern Turkey, a remarkable feature of this ancient place is its beehive-shaped adobe houses, built entirely of mud without any wood...
Han Dynasty granary between Dunhuang and the Jade Gate - an important supply center for the ancient Silk Routes.

3000-Year-Old Earthworks Confirmed as Sun Worship Altar on China’s Silk Road

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 3,000-year-old altar to the sun in North West China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Experts say that the altar resembles the heaven-worshipping...
Did Nomads and their Herds Carve Out the Silk Road?

Did Nomads and their Herds Carve Out the Silk Road?

Nearly 5,000 years ago, long before Marco Polo traversed the vast east-west trade routes of the Great Silk Road, nomads were carving the foundations for these trans-Asian interaction networks. “Our...
Deriv; Marco Polo travels by camel caravan and a modern re-imagining of Marco Polo

Is Marco Polo a Fictional Character? Challenging the Historical Tale of the Merchant Traveler

Based upon historical analyses, it is unlikely that a person named Marco Polo who visited China in the 1200’s existed. Before presenting this argument, here is an analogy: if people do not know that...
Words from the Ancient Past: The Sogdian Ancient Letters

Words from the Ancient Past: The Sogdian Ancient Letters

The Sogdians were a people of Iranian origin who lived in the fertile valleys of Central Asia between the sixth century BC and tenth century AD. The secret to the Sogdians’ success was their knack...
A painting depicting a scene from the Chinese classic, Journey to the West. The painting shows the four heros of the story, left to right: Sun Wukong, Xuanzang, Zhu Wuneng, and Sha Wujing.

The Monk and the Poet: Meet the Rebels behind the Legendary “Journey to the West”

Hsi-yu chi , or Journey to the West, is a Chinese novel published in the 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty. The novel adds elements from a bewildering array of Asian cultural lore, as well as...
Personal ‘hygiene sticks’ used in toilets on the Silk Road. Hui-Yuan Yeh. Reproduced from the Journal of Archaeological Science

2,000-Year-Old Feces from the Silk Road Reveal Spread of Infectious Diseases

Once travelled by famous historical figures such as Marco Polo and Genghis Khan, the Silk Road was a hugely important network of transport routes connecting eastern China with Central Asia, the...
Nearly One Hundred 1,000-Year-Old Mysterious Manuscripts Discovered in Afghanistan

Nearly One Hundred 1,000-Year-Old Mysterious Manuscripts Discovered in Afghanistan

A mysterious collection of nearly 100 manuscripts have been discovered in an Afghan Cave. An analysis of the texts revealed that they were owned by a Jewish family that lived along the ancient Silk...

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