Six students of archaeology, history and art history are to follow the Silk Route in Central Asia, looking for evidence from ancient history for the enormous cultural exchange brought about by this trade route. They are conducting their research for the exhibition on the Silk Route that opened in the Hermitage in Amsterdam on 1 March.
The students (three bachelor's and three master's) will be spending four months on a research internship for the Hermitage in Amsterdam. Not only are they going to be travelling in Central Asia, they will also be examining the artefacts exhibited in Amsterdam. During their trip the students will study the countries and cultures, trade, landscape, music, food and images of animals. Before and during the expedition they can be followed via videoblogs, weblogs and social media. They will be back in June, bringing with them the evidence they have found.
The Silk Route was a network of caravan routes through Central Asia. From classical antiquity to the late middle ages trade was carried on along these routes between China and East Asia on the one side, and on the other side the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea area. For centuries the route was the main link between east and west. The Silk Route was so called because silk, that was a highly valuable commodity, was transported along this route from east to west.
The exhibition on the Silk Route contains more than 250 remarkable artefacts, such as wall paintings, sculptures, and precious objects made of silk, silver, glass, gold and terracotta. They were excavated during the Russian expeditions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The objects are part of the collection in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and can be viewed during the coming months in the Hermitage in Amsterdam.
This student project has been set up by the Hermitage Amsterdam and Leiden University, and is being sponsored by KLM. The exhibition opened for the public on 1 March and can be viewed until 5 September.