1. More than Monkeys: Global Interfaces and the Earliest Evidence for Exchange along the Silk Roads

Case Studies in the Silk Roads Archaeology - Branka Franicevic

Marie Nicole Pareja [+-]
University of Pennsylvania
Marie Nicole Pareja, archaeologist, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Millersville University and Pennsylvania State University. Her most recent iconographic projects identify emerging connections between the Bronze Age Aegean and Indus River Valley via Mesopotamia, the Near East, and possibly even Egypt through animal imagery, with a particular emphasis on monkeys.


Recent interdisciplinary projects provide scientific evidence that indicate the “Silk Roads” were in use long before the first century C.E. Such studies indicate that the earliest formal trade begins as early as the Bronze Age (ca. 3,000-1,100 B.C.E.). Despite the movement of materials, technologies, iconographies, diseases, and people, some scholars are reluctant to consider this Afro-Eurasian exchange as something more than informal and opportunistic. Problematically, this suggests that each culture exchanged almost exclusively with nearby groups but with minimal awareness of populations beyond their neighbors. Before its eventual wane, the Silk Roads saw an early fluorescence during the Late Bronze Age, which is supported by textual, iconographic, genetic, and material evidence. This paper first reviews such studies to allay any remaining hesitation regarding Bronze Age Indus Aegean exchange. Next, the budding relationship between the Indus and Aegean will be examined through the lens of animal imagery to better understand notions of identity, access, and luxury. As a result, this paper challenges traditional Silk Roads chronologies and proposes that some of the earliest Eurasian exchange occurred during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age.

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Pareja , Marie Nicole. 1. More than Monkeys: Global Interfaces and the Earliest Evidence for Exchange along the Silk Roads. Case Studies in the Silk Roads Archaeology. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2023. ISBN 9781000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42848. Date accessed: 28 Nov 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42848. Feb 2023

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