Thursday, 6 February 2014

Aurel Stein and the Silk Road: a hundred years on

I went to see this fascinating exhibition on at the Royal Geographical Society. Strangely reflective of a never-ending thought I was thinking. the silk route --- a hundred years on, everything changes and nothing too. Quite beautiful. More information (taken from the RGS website) below.

The Silk Road

Two thousand years ago the towns, temples and forts of the Silk Road bustled with life, with rivers from the mountains creating fertile tracks through the Taklamakan. The desert has long taken over, and the skeletal remains of these once thriving communities are now buried by the sands.

Aurel Stein and the Silk Road: a hundred years on, marks 100 years since archaeologist and explorer Aurel Stein first documented the ancient remains on his travels along the Silk Road – an important trade route across Eurasia that allowed cultures, technologies and religions to spread on a global scale.

Stein took thousands of photographs, now held at institutions including the Society and the British Library, to record archaeological remains dating back around 2,000 years. A selection of these photographs is displayed in the exhibition alongside contemporary photographs of the same sites, taken by researchers from the British Library and the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology.

Despite China’s rapid growth over the last century, the arid and remote Taklamakan desert has protected many ancient sites along the Silk Road meaning the remains of farming settlements, Buddhist temples and Tibetan forts appear largely unchanged since Stein visited.