Monday, 15 October 2018

Chinese walls Conference this Thursday and Friday in Vienna

Success and Failure of Wall Building in Human History
Conference 18-20 October 2018
University of Vienna, Institute of Art History, Seminar Room 1
Garnisongasse 13, Court 9 (Uni Campus), 1090 Wien


Thursday, October 18
Welcome and Opening address Lukas Nickel and Robert Rollinger

Panel 1, Panel Chair: Eberhard Sauer
Gebhard Selz, Wien,
The Martu-Wall of the UR-III period
11:00 coffee break
Robert Rollinger, Innsbruck,
The Median wall and Xenophon
Lukas Nickel, Wien,
The Qin and Han Great Wall
12:45-14:30 Lunch BreakPanel 2, Panel Chair: Christoph Schäfer
Nicola DiCosmo, Princeton,
The Chinese Wall from a Nomadic Perspective
15:15-16:00Krzysztof Nawotka, Wrocław,The „Gates of Alexander“ and the Caucasian Wall of Derbent
16:00 coffee break16:15-17:15
Discussion (Tim Taylor)
19:00 Conference Dinner (Speakers and Discussants only)

Friday, October 19
Panel 3, 
Panel Chair: Lukas Nickel
Lauren Morris, Freiburg,
The Iron Gate wall in Uzbekistan
Eberhard Sauer et al., Edinburgh,
The Wall of Gorgan
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
Dirk Rupnow, Innsbruck,
The Berlin Wall
11:45-12:30Discussion (Sitta von Reden)
12:30-14:30 Lunch Break
afternoon:Excursion: Roman Vienna(with Andreas Schwarcz, Wien)
Saturday, October 20
Panel 4, 
Panel Chair: Robert Rollinger
9:30-10:15Kai Ruffing, Kassel,The Hadrian ́s Wall
Christoph Schäfer, Trier,
The Rhine and Danube Limes
11:00 Coffee break
Concluding Remarks and Final discussion
(Bert Fragner)


Garnisongasse 13, Universitätscampus Hof 9, 1090 Wien
T: +43-1-4277-41401
F: +43-1-4277-9414

Friday, 12 October 2018

In the Wake of the Mongols: The Making of a New Social Order in North China, 1200- 1600 by Jinping Wang

In the Wake of the Mongols: 

The Making of a New Social Order in North China, 1200-1600 (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series) 

Hardcover – 26 Oct 2018

Hammer and Anvil: Nomad Rulers at the Forge of the Modern World

Hammer and Anvil: Nomad Rulers at the Forge of the Modern World 

Hardcover – 9 Feb 2019

Archaeology and Conservation Along the Silk Road

Archaeology and Conservation Along the Silk Road  

Paperback – 3 Nov 2018

Central Asian Cultures, Arts, and Architecture: Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Medieval Golden Ages by Ardi Kia

Central Asian Cultures, Arts, and Architecture: 

Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Medieval Golden Ages

Hardcover – 15 Dec 2018

Artifacts from the Ancient Silk Road

Artifacts from the Ancient Silk Road 

(Daily Life through Artifacts) 

Hardcover – 28 Feb 2019

Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat by Robert N. Spengler

Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat 

Hardcover – 12 Jun 2019

by Robert N. Spengler 

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (12 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520303636

The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. Many foods we consume today-from almonds and apples to tea and rice-have histories can be traced along the tracks of the Silk Road out of prehistoric Central Asia to European kitchens and American tables. Organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century B.C., but the exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient trading routes extends back five thousand years. Balancing a broad array of archaeological, botanical, and historical evidence, Fruit from the Sands presents the fascinating story of the origins and spread of agriculture across Inner Asia and into Europe and East Asia. Through the preserved remains of plants in archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies the regions where our most familiar crops were domesticated and follows their routes as people carried them around the world. Vividly narrated, Fruit from the Sands explores how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and transformed consumption all over the globe.

Robert N. Spengler III is the Archaeobotany Laboratory Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, a Volkswagen/Mellon Foundations Fellow, and a former Visiting Research Scholar at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Archaeologists explore prehistoric ruins in western Tibet

A group of archaeologists are leading field explorations of prehistoric ruins in the high-altitude region of sparsely populated western Tibet.

Over 30 specialists from Tibet and other provinces are leading the field trips in Ngari Prefecture, located 4,500 meters above sea level in the west part of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The experts are from Tibet's regional cultural protection research institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Shaanxi Archaeology Institute, School of History and Culture of Sichuan University, and Northwest University.

The large-scale field explorations, the first of their kind, aim to explore the early civilizations of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, said Shaka Wandu, an assistant researcher with Tibet's regional cultural protection research institute.

Current studies in early civilizations from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, particularly the Shangshung civilizations, are mainly focused on the archives, linguistics, religious and anthropological fields, while archaeological studies are lacking, experts said.

Previous excavation efforts 

showed that Tibet had extensive exchanges with central and southern Asian regions, he said.

The ruins of Tsaparang, the ancient capital of Guge Kingdom, Ngari/Western Tibet [Credit: WikiCommons]

"We aim to expand the plateau archaeology to help us understand the early history of Tibet, particularly the Shangshung culture," he said.

"Most of us know that Tibet's main burial custom is the sky burial, but we discovered that tombs were a very common existence in ancient Tibet," said Zhang Jianlin, a professor with the Shaanxi Archaeology Institute.

In the past 20 years, dozens of tombs were found in the Ngari Prefecture. Numerous artifacts made from bronze, gold, wood and glass beads were unearthed. A gold mask from the second century and pieces of silk and tea from the third century were among the most prominent findings.

The tombs found in Ngari Prefecture date back between 1,500 BC and the fourth century AD. They were built with stones, wooden sheds and through digging pathways and caves beneath the ground, Zhang said.

Findings from the tombs carry information about the lifestyles, production habits, culture, and social exchanges in ancient Tibet.

"For example, we try to understand the burial postures for people in the coffin. By analyzing the bone structures, we try to determine whether the prehistoric residents rode horses or mainly walked and whether the artifacts and grains were locally made or imported," said Zhang.

In July last year, a tomb believed to be the earliest in western Tibet was found at the Gadpa Serrul remains, located in Zada County.

The tomb was built 3,560 and 3,000 years ago. Over 300 relics made from ceramic, stone, bone, copper, iron, wood, glass, shells and leather were found from the area. There were 100 human and animal skeletons, and archaeologists also found charcoal and seeds.

In Tibet, ancient remains are poorly conserved, and field trips are frequently hampered by harsh weather.

"It has been difficult to look for and identify a tomb area because of geological changes over the years, so it may take many years for us to complete the research into the Gadpa Serrul remains," said Shaka Wandu.

The trips are expected to last until September this year if weather permits. In the meantime, laboratory analysis of the findings is being carried out.

Source: Xinhua [August 25, 2018]


Thursday, 23 August 2018

Karabalgasun – Stadt der Nomaden

Karabalgasun – Stadt der Nomaden

Die archäologischen Ausgrabungen in der frühuigurischen Hauptstadt 2009–2011

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 248 Seiten
  • Verlag: Reichert, L (19. September 2017)
  • Sprache: Deutsch
  • ISBN-10: 3954901269

Mit der Monographie wird erstmals eine wissenschaftliche Arbeit zur Geschichte der uigurischen Hauptstadt im heutigen Orchontal/Mongolei vorgelegt und liefert damit einen grundlegenden Baustein in der alttürkisch-uigurischen Siedlungsarchäologie. 
Das Phänomen der Urbanisierung nomadischer Kulturen hat in der eurasischen Steppenarchäologie bisher eine nur untergeordnete Rolle gespielt. Die sehr dünn besiedelte Steppe wurde aufgrund ihrer Weite und der daraus resultierenden Probleme in der Logistik und Durchführung größerer Grabungen nur wenig archäologisch erforscht. Die Ausgrabungsergebnisse des DAI bilden eine wesentliche Grundlage für eine zusammenfassende kritische Analyse und Synopsis der bis dato veröffentlichten Forschungen zur spätnomadischen Siedlungs- und Stadtgeschichte Zentralasiens unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Mongolei, Südsibiriens und Burjatiens. In der vorliegenden Monographie sind nun die aus den ersten Ausgrabungen von 2009 bis 2011 ergrabenen Baubefunde erstmals in wissenschaftlicher Form ausgewertet und veröffentlicht worden sowie mit umfangreichem Kartenmaterial und Plänen illustriert.
Der erste Teil ist ausschließlich der frühuigurischen Hauptstadt Karabalgasun gewidmet. Neben der Forschungsgeschichte wird eine umfangreiche Analyse des Stadtplans von Karabalgasun vorgenommen. Der Schwerpunkt des ersten Teils liegt in der analytisch-diskursiven Darstellung der Baubefunde sowie den stadtgeschichtlich relevanten Stratigraphien aus den untersuchten Komplexen HB1 (manichäischer Sakaralbezirk) und HB2 (sogenannter Palast- oder Tempelbezirk). Hierbei konnten auch Altbefunde früherer Expeditionen berücksichtigt werden und beispielsweise die „vergessenen“ Ausgrabungen des russischen Archäologen Maskov im Rahmen der polnischen Kotwicz-Expedition von 1912 wiederentdeckt und nachvollziehbar verortet werden.
Aus den in der Monographie dargestellten Ergebnissen ist besonders die Betonung sogdischer Einflüsse hervorzuheben, die bisher immer gegenüber den scheinbar übermächtigen chinesischen Einflüssen in den Hintergrund geraten waren oder schlichtweg ignoriert wurden. Die deutlich mittelasiatisch-sogdischen Züge einzelner Baustrukturen stehen für eine überwiegend sogdisch geprägte Bauidee, während deren Ausführung und Bautechnik durchaus chinesischer Tradition entspricht.
In einem zweiten Teil wird Karabalgasun als urbanes Zentrum in den Kontext weiterer mutmaßlicher Siedlungen dieses Charakters gesetzt und der Fokus über das Orchontal hinaus gelegt. Karabalgasun wird als Gründungsstadt und Zentralort in den größeren Zusammenhang von Stadt und Siedlung im Rahmen spätnomadischer Herrschaftsbildungen eingebracht. Dadurch wird auch die Stadt als ein essentieller Baustein nomadischer Staatsbildung gewürdigt. Hierbei zeigt sich die Einzigartigkeit des uigurischen Urbanisierungsprozesses, resultierend aus verschiedenen Faktoren, die im ersten Teil der Monographie herausgearbeitet wurden. 

Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present Day

Afghanistan: A History from 1260 to the Present Day

  • Hardcover: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (12 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1789140102

Located at the intersection of Asia and the Middle East, Afghanistan has been strategically important for thousands of years. Its ancient trade routes and strategic position between India, Inner Asia, China, Persia and beyond has meant the region has been subject to frequent invasions. Modern Afghanistan is a culturally and ethnically diverse country, but one divided by conflict, political instability and by mass displacements of its people. Jonathan L. Lee places the current conflict in Afghanistan in its historical context and challenges many of the West's preconceived ideas about the country. Lee chronicles the region's monarchic rules and the Durrani dynasty, focusing on the reigns of each ruler and their efforts to balance tribal, ethnic, regional and religious factions, moving on to the struggle for social and constitutional reform and the rise of Islamic and Communist factions. He offers new cultural and political insights from Persian histories, the memoirs of Afghan government officials, British government and India Office archives, recently released cia reports and WikiLeaks documents. Lee also sheds new light on the country's foreign relations, its internal power struggles and the impact of foreign military interventions such as the `War on Terror'.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Mongols in Iran

The Mongols in Iran: Qutb Al-Din Shirazi's Akhbar-i Moghulan

by George Lane

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (1 May 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1138500526

The polymath, Qutb al-Dīn Shīrāzī, operated at the heart of the Ilkhanate state (1258–1335) from its inception under Hulegu. He worked alongside the scientist and political adviser, Nasir al-Dīn Ṭūsī, who had the ear of the Ilkhans and all their chief ministers. 
The Mongols in Iran provides an annotated, paraphrased translation of a thirteenth-century historical chronicle penned, though not necessarily authored, by Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī. This chronicle, a patchwork of anecdotes, detailed accounts, diary entries and observations, comprises the notes and drafts of a larger, unknown, and probably lost historical work. It is specific, factual, and devoid of the rhetorical hyperbole and verbal arabesques so beloved of other writers of the period. It outlines the early years of the Chinggisid empire, recounts the rule of Hulegu Khan and his son Abaqa, and finally, details the travails and ultimate demise and death of Abaqa’s brother and would be successor, Ahmad Tegudar. Shirazi paints the Mongol khans in a positive light and opens his chronicle with a portrait of Chinggis Khan in almost hallowed terms. 
Throwing new light on well-known personalities and events from the early Ilkhanate, this book will appeal to anyone studying the Mongol Empire, Medieaval History, and Persian Literature.

In the Wake of the Mongols

In the Wake of the Mongols: 

The Making of a New Social Order in North China, 1200-1600 

Hardcover – 30 Nov 2018

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Asia Center 
  • (30 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674987152

The Mongol conquest of north China between 1211 and 1234 inflicted terrible wartime destruction, wiping out more than one-third of the population and dismantling the existing social order. In the Wake of the Mongols recounts the riveting story of how northern Chinese men and women adapted to these trying circumstances and interacted with their alien Mongol conquerors to create a drastically new social order. To construct this story, the book uses a previously unknown source of inscriptions recorded on stone tablets. Jinping Wang explores a north China where Mongol patrons, Daoist priests, Buddhist monks, and sometimes single women-rather than Confucian gentry-exercised power and shaped events, a portrait that upends the conventional view of imperial Chinese society. Setting the stage by portraying the late Jin and closing by tracing the Mongol period's legacy during the Ming dynasty, she delineates the changing social dynamics over four centuries in the northern province of Shanxi, still a poorly understood region.