Bloomsbury Summer School (text)

Bloomsbury Summer School

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Fascinated by ancient civilisations?

We offer anyone with any level of knowledge, inspiring short courses on Ancient Egypt and other areas of the Ancient World.

Forthcoming Study Days

17th January 2019

Of Caravans and Crossroads: Cultures of Central Asia and the Silk Road in Antiquity

Saturday 8th June 2019

A study day with Dr Paul Wordsworth and Dr Gai Jorayev.

Map of the Silk Road

Map of the Silk Road

Dr Paul Wordsworth (left) and Dr Gai Jorayev

Dr Paul Wordsworth (left) and Dr Gai Jorayev (right)

This study day will delve into the origins of the famous Silk Roads and explore the ways in which commerce and travel shaped the cultural connections of a continent. Through four thematic sessions, we will look in detail at the societies of Central Asia and their fundamental role in transforming the ancient and medieval world while untangling some of the pervasive myths of this network over a thousand years of its history. Long overlooked in the grand historical narratives of Western Europe, we will focus on the extraordinary polities of the region from the Sogdians to the Samanids, whose ground-breaking innovations underpinned long-distance trade in silk and other exotic goods, but also promoted extraordinary travel. In addition to examining the fragments of histories and personal narratives which illuminate this colourful past, our lecturers will draw upon the astonishing archaeological and architectural remains of Central Asia, which are testament to the wealth and knowledge associated with the region often described as the ultimate cultural crossroads.

The first three lectures will be given by Dr Paul Wordsworth, Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Paul’s research focuses on the archaeology of the medieval Caucasus and Central Asia. He is currently directing a new archaeological project exploring the remains of a frontier city of the early Islamic Caliphate in Azerbaijan, and has carried out extensive archaeological fieldwork in Central Asia (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan). The fourth lecture will be given by Dr Gai Jorayev, Research Associate at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. Gai specialises in the archaeology and heritage of Central Asia, and is Deputy Director of the Ancient Merv Project.

The four lectures will be:


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