january 2022 musings

some terrific reading here – enjoy!!

First, we wish to congratulate project Principal Investigator and Professor Tim Williams on being awarded The Sir Richard Burton Medal, 2022 by the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Nominated by Professor Susan Whitfield who writes ‘Tim is known in particular for his long-running exploration, archaeological and documentation projects in Beirut and Central Asia, for his collaborations with local partners on the Silk Road and for UNESCO and ICOMOS Silk Roads mapping. He has worked in circumstances and regions which are extremely challenging, both in terms of politics and the local conditions. He has always ensured that local institutions and people are involved and engaged in the work and that the results of his explorations and excavations are made widely available online and in print in local languages’. The process was supported by Professor Kazuya Yamauchi, Teikyo University, Japan, Dr. Dimitri Voyakin, Director of the International Institute of Silk Road Studies, Samarkand, Dr. Gai Jorayev, Institute of Archaeology, UCL, Professor Roland Lin Chih Hung, Sorbonne.

News on the associated lecture Along the Silk Roads of Central Asia is forthcoming.

articles: Samarkand, arches in dunhuang, and remote sensing

Ona Vileikis was interviewed by Patrick Kenny for National Geographic on the state of restoration in Samarkand: The controversy behind this Silk Road city’s ancient wonders.

Sophie Ibbotson (Uzbekistan’s Tourism Ambassador) was interviewed by Bayt al Fann on her experiences of Unexplored Uzbekistan. Makes for a terrific introduction to the country and what it has to offer culture seekers.

X. Wang, Y. Gong, D. Myers, and S. Wang have written an article Arches Dunhuang: Heritage Inventory System for Conservation of Grotto Resources on the Gansu Section of the Silk Road in China detailing ‘…in view of the diversity of the grotto architecture layout, describes the Arches semantic graph data modelling technology and how the flexibility of Arches Designer was used to design the resource models, which not only meet data management needs, but also ensure data interoperability and longevity through incorporation of the CIDOC-CRM ontology’.

Mark Altaweel et al. recently published the article Automated Archaeological Feature Detection Using Deep Learning on Optical UAV Imagery: Preliminary Results which ‘provides a call for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) users in archaeology to make imagery data more publicly available while developing a new application to facilitate the use of a common deep learning algorithm (mask region-based convolutional neural network; Mask R-CNN) for instance segmentation’. The study includes analysis of qanats.

articles: environment in mailuu suu, Kyrgyzstan

Diana Kruzman has written about environmental changes to the town of ‘Mailuu-Suu powered the Soviet Union’s nuclear program. But climate change and its nuclear legacy are putting the town in Kyrgyzstan at risk‘.

books (not open access)

The Borders of Chinese Architecture by Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt who ‘examines the essential features of Chinese architecture and its global transmission and translation from the predynastic age to the eighteenth century’.

Traces of the Sarvastivadins in the Buddhist Monasteries of Kucha (Leipzig Kucha Studies 3) by Giuseppe Vignato, Satomi Hiyama, with appendices by Petra Kieffer-Pulz and Yoko Taniguchi. The book ‘examines the material remains in order to identify the type of Buddhism practiced in the region, which left its traces in the rock- and surface monasteries’.

events – online lectures and an online exhibit on the sogdians

29 January 2022 12:15 PM (London) the London Central Asia Research Network (LCARN) is hosting (via Zoom) their The Tenth Annual Doctoral Research Workshop with a theme of The science and culture of climate and environment in Central Asia.

Silk Roads Programme Events hosted by King’s College, Cambridge begin on 4 February 2022 with The Yellow River A Natural and Unnatural History by Ruth Mostern (University of Pittsburgh). The lectures are free on Zoom so check out the list and register to attend. See you there!!

The Smithsonian Freer/Sackler is hosting an excellent online exhibit with fabulously informative articles on various aspects of culture and life of THE SOGDIANS: Influencers on the Silk Roads. Explore the life, art, and influence of the greatest traders of the Silk Roads. Once you enter the exhibit you can take time to read, experience some of the objects in 3D, travel along the routes stopping off for details from Afrasiab, Ferghana Valley, the Pamirs, to Turfan and Dunhuang to Xi’an. Enjoy!!

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