Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2014

26 January 2016

Tying the Treads of Eurasia. Trans-regional Routes and Material Flows in Transcaucasia, Eastern Anatolia and Western Central Asia, c. 3000-1500 BC

Wilkinson C. Toby

Tying the Treads of Eurasia. Trans-regional Routes and Material Flows in Transcaucasia, Eastern Anatolia and Western Central Asia, c. 3000-1500 BC

City: Louvain

Year: 2014

Publisher: Sidestone Press

Description: Paperback, 406 p., 169 colour figures, 8 tables, 28 x 21 cm.


The famous ‘Silk Roads’ have long evoked a romantic picture of travel through colourful civilizations that connected the western and eastern poles of Eurasia, facilitating the exchange of exotic luxury goods, peoples, pathogens and ideas. But how far back can we trace such interaction? Increasing evidence suggests considerable time-depth for Trans-Eurasian exchange, with the expanding urban networks of the Bronze Age at times anticipating later caravan routes. Tying the Threads of Eurasia applies advanced GIS modelling and critical social archaeology to carefully selected material remains from these earlier connections in order to understand and explain macro-scale processes of interaction in the wider ancient Near East between 3000 and 1500BC. Evidence related to precious stone, metal and textile objects found in Transcaucasia, eastern Anatolia and Central Asia are examined critically and spatially to provide new insights into changing socio-economic relations within and beyond these case-study regions.

This book will be of interest to archaeologists and historians researching routes of exchange and interaction, macro-scale historical change or GIS approaches to archaeology, and to specialists of the Bronze Age Near East, especially Anatolia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Iran.


List of Figures [11]
List of Tables [19]
Acknowledgements [21]

1 Contexts and Frameworks of Research
1.1 Theoretical frameworks: trade and economy; networks and routes [23]
1.2 Geographical and environmental frameworks [29]
1.3 Archaeological frameworks: chronologies, sites and assemhlages [37]
1.4 Frameworks of movement: transportation technologies [47]
1.5 Frameworks of interpretation: indicators for interaction [56]
1.6 Research questions: routes and material flows [62]

2 Routes: on the Trail of History and Myth
2.1 Introduction [65]
2.2 Routes and roads from archaeological remains [67]
2.3 Routes and roads in modern or recent reports [73]
2.4 Routes and roads in textual sources [76]
2.5 Critique: evaluating ‘route inertia’ [88]
2.6 Summary: route inertia and re-visioning routes [94]

3 Landscape and Non-linear Networks: Finding Methods to Visualize Ancient Flow of Materials
3.1 Introduction [95]
3.2 What is a ‘route’ anyway? [95]
3.3 Modelling ‘natural routes’ with CIS [99]
3.4 Developing a CIS approach to routes [105]
3.5 Mapping material flows [113]
3.6 Summary: routes, landscape and travel density [122]

4 Mapping Material Flows: Stone and Stone Objects
4.1 Introduction [123]
4.2 Stone and its values [124]
4.3 ‘Precious’ stones [125]
4.4 Softstones: steatite, chlorite [137]
4.5 Chipped stone: obsidian [141]
4.6 Weights: stone as metric mediator [146]
4.7 Summary: routes and stones [151]

5 Mapping Material Flows: Metals
5.1 Introduction [153]
5.2 Materials, geological sources and analyses of metal provenance [153]
5.3 Metal artefact types as evidence for metal flows [168]
5.4 Regional metallurgical constellations [176]
5.5 Contexts of metal consumption [190]
5.6 Metal flows traced through other materials [199]
5.7 Summary: metal flows and cultural-economic trajectories [222]

6 Mapping Material Flows: Textiles and Patterns 225
6.1 Introduction [225]
6.2 Textual evidence for textiles and dress [227]
6.3 Direct textile evidence: fragments and impressions [235]
6.4 Production of textiles: evidence for materials and technologies [244]
6.5 Indirect evidence: depictions of dress and clothing [257]
6.6 Indirect evidence: textile-related patterns in other media [267]
6.7 Indirect evidence: dress accessories [281]
6.8 Summary: motivations and means of textile-based interaction [285]

7 Discussion: Tying the Threads
7.1 Introduction [289]
7.2 Shifting material flows [289]
7.3 Patterns and processes [308]
7.4 Summary of discussion 324

8 Conclusions
8.1 Introduction [325]
8.2 Reconstructing and re-visualizing routes [325]
8.3 Direct and indirect evidence for interaction [328]
8.4 Cross-cultural flows and local development [330]
8.5 Final note: whither a Bronze Age ‘Silk Road’? [331]

Bibliography [333]
Appendix A: Cost-of-surface models and Archaeotopograms [379]
Appendix B: Database of Sites [389]
Appendix C: Databases of Object Types [397]
Appendix D: Databases of Raw Material Sources [399]
Appendix E: Summary Statistics on Metal Trends [403]


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