Philadelphia: University of Pensylvania Press, 2008. - 248 pages. English. In ancient and medieval times, the Silk Road was of great importance to the transport of peoples, goods, and ideas between the East and the West. The majority of the Silk Road routes passed through the Eurasian Steppe, whose nomadic people were participants and mediators in its economic and cultural exchanges. Until now, the origins of these routes and relationships have not been examined in great detail. In The Prehistory of the Silk Road, E. E. Kuzmina, renowned Russian archaeologist, looks at the history of this crucial area before the formal establishment of Silk Road trade and diplomacy. From the late Neolithic period to the early Bronze Age, Kuzmina traces the evolution of the material culture of the Steppe and the contact between civilizations that proved critical to the development of the widespread trade that would follow, including nomadic migrations, the domestication and use of the horse and the camel, and the spread of wheeled transport. The Prehistory of the Silk Road combines detailed research in archaeology with evidence from physical anthropology, linguistics, and other fields, incorporating both primary and secondary sources from a range of languages, including a vast accumulation of Russian-language scholarship largely untapped in the West.
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