Item description for Southern Silk Road: In the Footsteps of Sir Aurel by Christoph Baumer...
The Tarim Basin in Central Asia has a fascinating history of human occupance. Here, civilisations flourished, only to die as climatic change and the depredations of invading armies destroyed the vital water resources in a region of the ever-encroaching sands of the Taklaman Desert; but where, with a return to a more humid climate and periods of peace, new settlements took root and blossomed. Here too, was the vital artery between West and East - the Silk Road, along which, amongst others, silk travelled from China to the West and the use of the horse and cultural influences spread from the west to China; and along which the major religions of Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Manichaeism, and Islam waxed and waned. Because of an extremely dry climate, shifting desert sands and inaccessibility, the remains of ancient past civilisations have been preserved - not only the more sturdy structures built of stone, but even some more humble edifices of mud, timber and reeds - and the art and even the written records of the occupants.
Dr Baumer traces for us the first waves of Indo-European migrations of 4,000 years ago, Mongolian and Chinese advances and retreats from the east, Tibetan incursions from the south, the spread of the Uighurs from present-day Iran, and the Arab conquest from the south-west. This is followed by a detailed archaeological study of the major settlements along the major Silk Road route. The author makes extensive use of the accounts of the two major previous Western explorers, which form the platform for the author's own two expeditions in the 1990s. The commentary is a most satisfying blend of historical and contemporary accounts of archaeological discoveries, richly adorned with both recent and past black and white and colour photographs, and accompanied by maps and archaeological site plans for several of the settlements.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Southern Silk Road: In the Footsteps of Sir Aurel?
Oops Jun 25, 2005
Would be interested to know who is Sir Laurel Stein - not an explorer I have come across in the Taklamakan. For a literary comment to make such a crass error beggars belief. I trust that the book is a little more accurate or who knows, we may plumb the depths with Sven Hedinsand and the Travel Sickness guide to Xinjiang by Capt Queasy