A Maritime Silk Road Stop in Australia?

African coins, some possibly minted as early as 900 ACE, have been found buried on the Wessel Islands of Northern Australia, and have thrown accepted notions of when non-Aboriginal peoples first visited the continent into question. The oldest of the coins were minted in Kilwa, an island off the coast of Tanzania that was once a luxurious stopover for merchants and travelers on the Maritime … Read more

Traveling the Roads of Arabia

For the past forty years, archaeologists on the Saudi peninsula have been piecing together a pre-Islamic past featuring great city-states that had cultural and commercial connections with the cities of ancient Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, Greece and Rome. These ancient trade cities are one of the foci of a new exhibit at the Sackler in Washington, DC, called Roads of Arabia. The other set of “roads” … Read more

The Silk Road in the News #4: Soup from 400 BCE

Imagine the world around 400 BCE. The Phoenicians in Carthage were the dominant power in North Africa; Socrates had just been condemned to death; in Mesoamerica, the Olmec civilization entered a period of terminal decline; and a Chinese nobleman was laid to rest in his tomb in Xian with soup and wine to see him through to the afterlife. After 2,400 years the cauldron or … Read more

The Silk Road in the News #2: A Silk Road Shipwreck

The contents of a sunken Chinese ship estimated to be more than 1000 years old will be coming to auction soon according to a spokesman from the Government of Indonesia. The contents of the ancient ship has been salvaged and curated over the last few years will soon be available for public sale. The bulk of the material salvaged was fine Chinese white or green … Read more

Tales Told by an Old Vessel

This interesting object recently found its way into our home.  It’s a jade vessel dating from China’s Yuan Dynasty.  It appeared on the breakfast table one morning at the end of January.  To be honest, at first I wasn’t so sure about it, but the more I consider it, the more I’m taking a shine to it. We’ve got to clean it up a bit, … Read more