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Trade, Migration, and Acculturation: China and the Prehistoric Silk Routes

A talk on the history of the Silk Routes

Tuesday, April 16, 2013
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Bunche Hall 10367

The Silk Routes were one of the most marvelous phenomena in Eurasian history. Over them flowed a huge number and variety of objects and customs between China and various parts of the vast Eurasian continent. There has recently been a growing number of strikingly eye-opening archaeological discoveries which have demonstrated the existence of such long-distance interactions stretching back several millennia, even to the prehistoric period. These connections between China and the Steppe, Central Asia and even further to the west can very well be called “prehistoric silk routes.”

What was transmitted along the prehistoric silk routes? How was early China incorporated into the far-flung network? What were the roles played by migration and trade? To what extent did different societies in early China shape the interactions along the prehistoric silk routes? This talk, incorporating the most up-to-date archaeological discoveries on the Chinese side, illustrates the puzzle of interactions between different societies of China and other parts of Eurasia, along the prehistoric silk routes.


Li Zhang is a post-doctoral scholar in the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University. She received her PhD from the Department of Archaeology and Museology, Peking University, in 2012. During 2009 to 2010, she was a visiting graduate student at UCLA. Her research interests include the archaeology and art of early China, and interactions between early China and the other parts of Eurasia.

Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies

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