november 2022 musings

news from tajikistan, a guide to khorezm, database for ukraine
ARCHAEOLOGY & CULTURE published a report on a recent discovery of Bactrian inscriptions on stones in the passes above the Almosi Gorge in Tajikistan. Archaeologists Bobomullo Bobomulloev of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan, who reported the find to also sent us copy and photos – here the report can be read in Russian or English. reported on new discoveries in Uzbekistan.

Gai Jorayev published a guide to Khorezm, written by UCL IoA graduate students, 2 of whom have been research assistants for CAAL.

Oxford University reported on the ‘€10.4 million European Research Council Synergy grant has today been awarded to an international team of researchers, led by Oxford School of Archaeology’s Professor Chris Gosdento investigate the relationship between the settled and mobiles peoples whose civilisations crossed thousands of miles of Eurasia from 2,000 BCE.’ Congratulations everyone and we look forward to reading this research over the coming years!

Umida Akhmedova is one of the very few conceptual women photographers living and working in Central Asia. Global Voices (GV) asked her to select and comment ten photos that best embody how she explores her home country of Uzbekistan.’

The Tajik Artisans Guarding the Country’s Cultural Legacy: While Tajikistan’s history is being hidden behind glimmering new facades, some hold onto tradition with quiet determination’ as reported in the NYT Style Travel Magazine.

Pre-peer reviewed but worth a read: ‘Multidisciplinary digital methodologies for documentation and preservation of immovable Archaeological heritage in the Khovd River Valley, Western Mongolia [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]’ available Open Access.

More excellent work by colleagues over at EAMENA – so good to see so much research continuing and being published: ‘Landscapes of Mobility and Movement in North-West Arabia: A Remote Sensing Study of the Neom Impact Zone’ by Michael Fradley and Sarah Gyngell. Available Open Access. 

Destruction of heritage sites in Ukraine is being documented by the UN in conjunction with Unosat (UN Satellite Center) with the data online soon, as reported by The Guardian. Further to this, Gai Jorayev reports: ‘On 4th November, 2022, Gai Jorayev and Marco Nebbia were invited to participate and present in UNESCO’s 3rd International Coordination Meeting for Monitoring and Damage Assessment of Cultural Heritage in Ukraine. Using heritage inventory methodologies and heritage database knowledge developed as part of the CAAL project, Marco and Gai have been helping Ukrainian colleagues to set-up a platform for monument inventory and damage assessment. The initial stage of that work is now complete and the database will be shared with the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine. The Ukrainian colleagues will continue further works on it independently.’

The Victoria & Albert Museum’s Culture in Crisis programme, headed up by Laura Searson is also hosting a discussion on Tuesday 29 November with ‘Dr Kateryna Goncharova, Ukrainian Heritage Crisis Specialist at the World Monuments Fund, about the Russian military invasion and its impact on Ukrainian Heritage today’. If you can’t make this, the sessions are usually recorded and made publicly available shortly thereafter so it is worth registering to receive updates.


Bibliographies compiled by ADAM BENKATO: Sogdian, Chorasmian, Yaghnobi. Available as DOC or PDF.


Baktygul Chynybaeva @ChynybaevaB (Twitter) has launched the first podcast in Kyrgyz about climate issues. We do congratulate her and look forward to the inclusion of heritage and culture as part of these discussions.

David Trilling wrote a poignant report ‘Uzbekistan: Where the Amu Darya goes to die: A journey down the terminal stretch of a once-mighty river highlights how hard it will be to fend off environmental catastrophe’ for The region of Khorezm full of ruins and remains of past civilizations remains an important area in Uzbekistan and surrounds.

Adam Markham commented on the need for need for heritage loss and damage to be included in discussions at COP27. Further to this, through the hard work of many heritage specialists, UNFCC reported on 2 November ‘COP27 Reaches Breakthrough Agreement on New “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries’.

ICOMOS published ‘Global research and action agenda on culture, heritage and climate change. Project Report.’ by Hana Morel et al. which contains case studies from California to New Zealand, including Nigeria, Nepal, Philippines. All the publications which resulted from the International Co-sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage & Climate Change in December 2021 can be downloaded Open Access.


Compiled by the Gil Stein, Alejandro Gallego Lopez, M. Fahim Rahimi and published online by the Oriental Institute A History of Afghanistan in 100 Objects is free to download in English or Dari.

The Archaeology of Southwest Afghanistan by William Trousdale and Mitchell Allen is a ‘legacy rerpot of an extensive joint US/Afghan archaeological project in the southwest quadrant of Afghanistan: the Smithsonian Institution/ Afghanistan Institute of Archaeology Helmand-Sistan Archaeological Project, 1971-1976’ and costs a pretty penny.

Cultures in Contact: Central Asia as Focus of Trade, Cultural Exchange and Knowledge Transmission, edited by Baumer, Christoph, Novák, Mirko, Rutishauser, Susanne. A fabulous book with several articles by our project partners. Unfortunately, at €148 for either the print or PDF, the cost is prohibitive not only individuals but institutions as well and many will miss out. You can view the TOC for free though.

A Tale of Papermaking along the Silk Road by Agnieszka Helman-Wazny, a book chapter from Exploring Written Artefacts: Objects, Methods, and Concepts is available from The book is available Open Access PDF.

A review by Kathryn Post for of The White Mosque: A Memoir by Sofia Samatar has been published online. Hurst Publishers summarizes the book: ‘In the late 1800s, a group of German-speaking Mennonites fled Russia for Muslim Central Asia, to await Christ’s return. Over a century later, Sofia Samatar traces their gruelling journey across desert and mountains, and its improbable fruit: a small Christian settlement inside the Khanate of Khiva.’

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