Artifacts from the Ancient Silk Road
by William E. Mierse
December 2022, 403pp, 8 1/2 x 11
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5828-4
$110, £85, 96€, A151
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5829-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Silk Roads, major trade routes crossing Central Asia, show us just how connected the Eurasian continent has been since antiquity and the important roles played by international exchange networks.

Artifacts from the Ancient Silk Road explores the interconnectivity of the Eurasian continent from 4000 BCE to 1000 CE. It focuses on the role played by Central Asia through which passed the major trade routes, the Silk Roads.

Artifacts from the Ancient Silk Road covers life along the Silk Road over 5000 years as it can be understood by considering objects. In this first object-based study to consider all of the peoples involved on the Silk Roads, objects provide the vehicles for explorations of different aspects of life for the various peoples of the Silk Roads, including the sedentary peoples who established urban life on the Silk Roads, the steppe nomads who regularly interacted with the settled peoples, and the peoples at either end of the Silk Roads who drove certain kinds of economic exchanges.

The book looks at Central Asia as an international zone during ancient times when multiple religious, political, and technological ideas found acceptance in the region and allows for a better understanding of how some ideas and forms developed in Central Asia while others passed through or were modified.


  • Places important objects and artifacts within the context of the history of the Silk Road
  • Provides readers with guidance on how to assess and analyze artifacts
  • Offers an innovative way for readers to learn about history through material culture
  • Enables fuller historical understanding by clarifying how the meanings of artifacts are created through the interactions of objects and people and how these meanings change over time
William E. Mierse, PhD, is Richard and Pamela Green and Gold Professor of Art History at the University of Vermont. He is coeditor with Alfred Andrea of "Classical Traditions, 1000 BCE–300 CE, Era 3" (volumes 5 and 6) in ABC-CLIO's World History Encyclopedia.

Daily Life through Artifacts

Daily Life through Artifacts presents a collection of objects and artifacts from daily life that shed light on key aspects of social life and culture for specific historical periods or topics. Each artifact is illustrated with a large image, showing interesting detail and allowing for close-up study. The series serves to demonstrate how objects and artifacts can be "read" as primary sources to provide greater insight into the people and societies who created and used them. Each title in the series provides information on the background material for these objects as well as guidance on how to analyze an object or artifact. Readers will not only learn about the daily life of past societies but also gain the skills of observation and assessment needed to analyze the objects and draw meaningful conclusions from them about their context and significance.
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