Published On: Sun, Apr 17th, 2016

Archaeologists Uncover Another Branch of the Silk Road

New evidence suggests the ancient trade route ventured through the heights of Tibet

Credit SOURCE “EARLIEST TEA AS EVIDENCE FOR ONE BRANCH OF THE SILK ROAD ACROSS THE TIBETAN PLATEAU,  ” BY HOUYUAN LU ET AL.,   IN SCIENTIFIC REPORTS,   VOL. 6,   ARTICLE NO. 18955; JANUARY 7,   2016; Map by Mapping Specialists

 

Famous for facilitating an incredible exchange of culture and goods between the East and the West, the ancient Silk Road is thought to have meandered across long horizontal distances in mountain foothills and the lowlands of the Gobi Desert. But new archaeological evidence hidden in a lofty tomb reveals that it also ventured into the high altitudes of Tibet—a previously unknown arm of the trade route.

Discovered in 2005 by monks, the 1, 800-year-old tomb sits 4.3 kilometers above sea level in the Ngari district of Tibet. When excavations began in 2012, the research team examining the site was surprised to find a large number of quintessential Chinese goods inside. The haul lends itself to the idea that merchants were traveling from China to Tibet along a branch of the Silk Road that had been lost to history.

Read the full story at Scientific American, by Jane Qiu

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