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CC History Artifacts Essay Assignment
PART 1: Answer the following prompt in 300 words.
What do these artifacts tell us about life along the Silk Roads?
PART 2: Respond to TWO CLASSMATES
Classmate 1 (Karson)
The Silk Road is a prominent topic of learning, discussion, and the ancient civilization of Eurasia trade and life. In previous world history classes in high school, there were discussions about how objects, materials, and creations were not the only things traded on the silk road. The other subjects dealt with were culture, language, and ideas amongst the different people who participated in the Silk Road formation and creation.
Before discussing what, the artifacts tell students of the Silk Road, it is important to discuss who the relics come from. The article provided, Exploring the Silk Roads from The British Museum, explains that the artifact collection is from Sir Aurel Stein (1862-1943). Sir Aurel Stein was a professional in geography and had many expeditions to “India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Jordan” because he was fascinated with past figures. Now, his collection includes “wall paintings and clay sculptures primarily dating from the 4th to the 14th centuries” from the ‘Library Cave’ and other paintings, documents, prints, and more (The British Museum). All four of the discussed expeditions from Sir Aurel Stein were to Northwest China “along the southern edges of the Tarim Basin” they included the study of materials in ancient caves and military fortifications (The British Museum).
According to the artifacts and relics found by Stein, life along the Silk Road is portrayed as diverse, thriving, and popular. Firstly, the diversity of the items found ranges from wall painting and textiles to pieces of ceramics and glass to everyday utensils (The British Museum). The variety in the artifacts illuminates that the Silk Road was diverse in both materials traded but also in people trading and buying and what their wants and needs were. Due to the diversity of the findings from Sir Aurel Stein and that many were simply decorations, it shows that the needs of the people were wealthy enough to afford trivial items, which means the condition of life on the Silk Road could also be fun with thriving merchants and consumers. Lastly, the Silk Road life was popular for all sorts of different merchants, consumers, and visitors because of how diverse the products were.
Classmate 2 (Jeremy)
The Silk Road refers to the transferring of knowledge along the massive mega continent of Eastern Europe and West and East Asia. trade along these routes proved profitable thus the spreading of ideas, culture, and beliefs was accelerated and moved along these routes at incredible speeds. Usually, traders who went from city to city were able to bring with them differing cultures and ideas and shared them with those in distant lands therefore, sometimes objects or beliefs from one region was able to be found in another region.
The article from the British Museum highlights the exploration expeditions of Sir Aurel Stein. He made four expeditions from 1900-1931, some were successful, some were less so. He retraces Alexander the Greats, Xuanzang, and Marco Polo’s footsteps in order to better understand those greats in history and to get a better understanding of the past.
From his expeditions, varying finds were documented then shipped back to London in order to be stores in the British Museum. There were approximately 1500 archaeological finds from Stein’s expeditions. These included small stucco reliefs, pieces of ceramics and glass, fragments of wall paintings and textiles, painted wooden panels, as well as everyday utensils.
Stein looked through everyday refuse found in certain regions and military fortifications. What he found was keys to better understand the lives and culture of the people from those times, He uncovered an embroidered shoe in great condition made with leather and silk. and other art pieces which tell us about those who lived in this region.
“The expeditions of Stein, together with those of other explorers and archaeologists, led to the dispersal of large quantities of artefacts from the eastern parts of the Silk Roads in the early 20th century. One consequence of this has been the development of an international field of scholarship and recognition of the significance and richness of cultures in the region.”
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