UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Nomadic ecology shaped the highland geography of Asia's Silk Roads

Frachetti, MD; Smith, CE; Traub, CM; Williams, TD; (2017) Nomadic ecology shaped the highland geography of Asia's Silk Roads. Nature , 543 (7644) pp. 193-198. 10.1038/nature21696. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Frachetti et al Final Revision.pdf - Accepted version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

There are many unanswered questions about the evolution of the ancient 'Silk Roads' across Asia. This is especially the case in their mountainous stretches, where harsh terrain is seen as an impediment to travel. Considering the ecology and mobility of inner Asian mountain pastoralists, we use ‘flow accumulation’ modelling to calculate the annual routes of nomadic societies (from 750 m to 4,000 m elevation). Aggregating 500 iterations of the model reveals a high-resolution flow network that simulates how centuries of seasonal nomadic herding could shape discrete routes of connectivity across the mountains of Asia. We then compare the locations of known high-elevation Silk Road sites with the geography of these optimized herding flows, and find a significant correspondence in mountainous regions. Thus, we argue that highland Silk Road networks (from 750 m to 4,000 m) emerged slowly in relation to long-established mobility patterns of nomadic herders in the mountains of inner Asia.

Type: Article
Title: Nomadic ecology shaped the highland geography of Asia's Silk Roads
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nature21696
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature21696
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Silk Roads, Central Asia, Archaeology, Nomads
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1544288
Downloads since deposit
857Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item