plov with yellow carrots and raisins, bukhara, uzbekistan 2019

november 2021 musings

links to post COP26 reflections from CAREC and UCL and sooo much more

If you haven’t been able to keep up with all the activities that CAREC have organised at COP26, they have very helpfully posted regular news updates on their website in addition to what else they are working on…catch up HERE.

Last month we drew your attention to CAREC attending COP26 as well as a group of UCL researchers. The UCL group have written up some of their reflections and started a podcast: Read their comments HERE.

UCL Generation One ‘is a collective of people committed to a new era of positive climate action. By turning science and ideas into action we are working towards creating a positive, fair and progressive future. For us and for the generations to come’ The Climate Podcast ‘aims to tackle the biggest challenges facing the climate crisis, together with expert guests and questions from the public.’

Interestingly, EuroNews reported in their culture section, that extreme weather has decimated the carrot crop in Uzbekistan. ‘An extraordinary drought devastated the farmers of Uzbekistan, causing the price of carrots to triple, thus driving up the cost of plov…. “You have to make plov with love and from a pure heart,” Mirzayev said, his hands moving quickly through pockets of steam from the meat and vegetables sizzling in the pot.’ Kudos to Caroline Eden for, quite naturally, flagging this.

The 14 November Majlis Podcast: The Effects of Climate Change on Central Asia where participants ‘discuss shrinking glaciers in the mountains and the expanding desert areas in the lowlands and overall effects of climate change on Central Asia, hosted by Bruce Pannier speaking with Bakytgul Chynybaeva, Ryskeldi Satke, Professor Eric Freedman. They can be followed on Twitter at: @Majlis_Podcast @RyskeldiSatke @BrucePannier @ChynybaevaB

Related Publications: 

Freedman, E. and M. Neuzil eds. 2016. Environmental Crises in Central Asia: From steppes to seas, from deserts to glaciers. Abingdon, Routledge. Available at:

Ryskeldi Satke articles for The Third Pole can be found HERE.

If you are interested in water resources in Central Asia, here is another resource: CAWater-Info is the Portal of Knowledge for Water and Environmental Issues in Central Asia. With information in Russian and English, the portal offers users in-depth research and several databases (registration required) on projects throughout the region. The ‘Knowledge Base was developed within the CAWater-Info portal ( This regional Internet portal established by SIC ICWC with support from Swiss Development Cooperation provides access to up-to-date information on water and related issues in the region.’ For more on the origins and purpose and links of course see HERE.

‘During the first week of #COP26, the #AgaKhanAgencyforHabitat joined the Governments of Tajikistan and Switzerland to discuss and align approaches that are building #climatechange resilience in the Pamir highlands, where mountain communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming.’ Watch the 5 minute video HERE.

Early Career research to WATCH

The London Central Asia Research Network has announced a hybrid conference: 10th Annual Doctoral Research Workshop happening on Saturday 29 January 2022. They’ve called for papers following the theme: The science and culture of climate and environment in Central Asia which aims ‘to look beyond the architecture of ecosystems per se, instead exploring the environmental trends and evolutions of sustainable production in industrial, urban, and cultural spaces and the philosophy of ecology in a Central Asian context.’ The deadline for submissions is 14 December 2021.

We congratulate and look forward to learning more from this group of researchers, just awarded the 2021 UNESCO Silk Roads Youth Research Grant. Some excellent projects ranging from silk tapestry to ghee to turquoise mining to fauna on the Eurasian steppe; the awardees represent countries from Nigeria to Kyrgyzstan to Sri Lanka to the Philippines.


Vileikis, O. and F. Khabibullaeyev. 2021. Application of Digital Heritage Documentation for Condition Assessments and Monitoring Change in Uzbekistan. ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences VIII-M-1-2021: 179–186. The article is based on work conducted by CAAL team members Ona Vileikis and Farukh Khabibullaeyev and discusses ‘The application aerial and close-range photogrammetry and panoramic photography is illustrated using two case studies within the World Heritage properties in the Central Asia region, Itchan Kala and the Historic Centre of Bukhara in Uzbekistan.’

Another CAAL team member, Galina Karimova published a valuable monograph on archaeologists and their work in Tajikistan (in Russian). It can be downloaded from the list on the IICAS E-Library-Monographs. ‘The monograph is dedicated to the staff of the Department of Archaeology of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, archaeologists, orientalists, anthropologists, researchers who have been engaged in the archaeology of Tajikistan from the initial stages to today. The author has, if possible, attracted all the materials obtained, which make it possible to highlight not only the main directions of research activities and field archaeological work of the Institute of the Academy of Sciences, but also to convey the difficult, sometimes tragic fate of many outstanding scientists and ordinary employees. The book shows the stages of the development of academic archaeological science in Tajikistan, directly related to human relations and the view of the problems of archaeology by each researcher. The publication is addressed to archaeologists, cultural scientists, historians, museologists, students of historical faculties of universities.’

‘Монография посвящена сотрудникам отдела археологии Института истории, археологии и этнографии АН РТ, археологам, востоковедам, антропологам, исследователям, занимавшимся археологией Таджикистана от начальных этапов до сегодняшнего дня. Автором по возможности привлечены все полученные материалы, позволяющие осветить не только основные направления научно-исследовательской деятельности и полевых археологических работ Института Академии наук, но и передать непростую, временами трагическую судьбу многих выдающихся ученых и рядовых сотрудников. В книге показаны этапы развития академической археологической науки в Таджикистане, напрямую связанные с человеческими отношениями и видением проблем археологии каждым исследователем. Издание адресовано археологам, культурологам, историкам, музееведам, студентам исторических факультетов вузов.’

Karaucak, M., D. Steiniger, and N. Boroffka. 2021. A remote sensing-based survey of archaeological/heritage sites near Kandahar, Afghanistan through publicly available satellite imagery. PLoS ONE 16(11): e0259228. From the abstract: ‘The sites presented here consist of a multitude of cultural heritage such as settlement mounds, architectural remains, religious monuments, fortresses, and traditional water management systems. We also discuss the advantages, as well as the drawbacks of remote sensing surveys for archaeological research in Afghanistan, and share our data to be employed in further research and cultural heritage management in the region.’

Bemmann, J., S. Linzen, S. Reichert, and L. Munkhbayar. 2021. Mapping Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol Empire. Antiquity 1-20. doi:10.15184/aqy.2021.153. From the abstract: ‘The authors report new magnetic and topographic surveys of the walled city and the surrounding landscape. The resulting maps reveal the city in unprecedented detail. Combining the magnetic and topographical data with aerial photographs, pedestrian surveys and documentary sources reveals the extent, layout and organisation of this extensive settlement.’

Robbeets, M., Bouckaert, R., Conte, M. et al. 2021. Triangulation supports agricultural spread of the Transeurasian languages. Nature (2021). From the abstract: The origin and early dispersal of speakers of Transeurasian languages—that is, Japanese, Korean, Tungusic, Mongolic and Turkic—is among the most disputed issues of Eurasian population history1,2,3. A key problem is the relationship between linguistic dispersals, agricultural expansions and population movements4,5. Here we address this question by ‘triangulating’ genetics, archaeology and linguistics in a unified perspective. We report wide-ranging datasets from these disciplines, including a comprehensive Transeurasian agropastoral and basic vocabulary; an archaeological database of 255 Neolithic–Bronze Age sites from Northeast Asia; and a collection of ancient genomes from Korea, the Ryukyu islands and early cereal farmers in Japan, complementing previously published genomes from East Asia. Challenging the traditional ‘pastoralist hypothesis’6,7,8, we show that the common ancestry and primary dispersals of Transeurasian languages can be traced back to the first farmers moving across Northeast Asia from the Early Neolithic onwards, but that this shared heritage has been masked by extensive cultural interaction since the Bronze Age.’

A short piece from Uppsala University (by Åsa Malmberg) discussing ‘Primitive stone tools made hundreds of millennia ago have been found on the windswept loess plateaux of Tajikistan. How old are they? What species of hominin created them? And how did past climate change affect scope for living here? An international research expedition is now seeking answers to these questions.’


Hosted by the University of Oxford, Soviet Central Asia in 100 Objects: ‘The History of Soviet Central Asia in 100 Objects is an online museum exhibition project that aims to convey histories of Soviet Central Asia through material objects’. They have posted a few objects to begin with and each is a brilliant narrative encompassing larger sociopolitical contexts in a single family’s or objects’ or traditions’ character.

Fellow Arcadia grant funded project EAMENA has partnered with ICONEM to document 5 sites in the region, demonstrating the power of collaboration (especially with local experts and activists) and combined technologies to create useful records of heritage sites and the people who live among them. The video launch has been recorded and you can watch some shorts from this on EAMENA YouTube. But visit the website and view the online exhibition to see how they worked and further links to the people and organisations with whom the project was possible.

Sushma Jansari, Tabor Foundation Curator: South Asia in the Department of Asia at the British Museum began a podcast (the Wonder House) and has reached season 3!! She speaks with passionate individuals who ‘shares innovative ideas for people-centred projects so that we are all empowered and inspired to learn and experiment’. I fully admit that every single episode does just that – these conversations stay with you long after, igniting appreciation for the work done by these individuals, often in challenging environments, and hope for the future of heritage work. People who think and act outside the box are changing the ways things are done and it is wonderful to hear them speak! Subscribe on the Wonder House website or wherever you normally listen.

Earlier this year, Peter Frankopan began a podcast ‘I’ve been thinking’ in which he ‘talks to thinkers, politicians, historians, authors, sports stars about things that catch his eye’ – a group of people whose interests and thinking impact our lives, sometimes in surprising and nuanced ways. Available at    or wherever you get your podcasts.

Leave a Reply