Archaeology of the Southern Taklamakan: Hedin and Stein’s Legacy and New Explorations
This conference will take place as part of Asian Art in London 2012
Over the past three decades there have been systematic archaeological excavations of sites belonging to the ancient kingdoms of Khotan in the western Taklamakan and Kroraina in the eastern Taklamakan and Lop Desert, in modern-day western China. These have been carried out by Chinese archaeologists, some in conjunction with Japanese and French teams.
The exploration of these kingdoms, however, began much earlier. Early in the 20th century Sven Hedin and Aurel Stein uncovered significant archaeological remains and archives and brought the importance of these cultures to the attention of an international scholarly public. The materials they excavated are now in various collections in Europe and worldwide, and their influence on modern understanding of Central Asian history and society is without parallel.
The conference will set the sites in context by looking at the historical geography and environment, the transmitted and excavated historical records, and archaeological archives in China and Europe. It will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, including field archaeologists from the Chinese, Sino-Japanese and Sino-French excavations of recent decades, archivists, curators and historians working on the Hedin and Stein collections, and historical geographers, art historians, and historians from universities with a strong research record in this area. This is the first conference on this topic.
The conference is being organised by the British Library, SOAS and the Xinjiang Institute of Archaeology. The opening lecture on November 8th will be held at the Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS. Proceedings on the 9th and 10th will be at the British Library Conference Centre.
There is a registration fee of GB£40 (£20 for students/OAPs) which will also cover refreshments over the two days. For further details or to register see the conference webpage.
The image above shows Niya, N.VIII., from the east, 12 November 2011. Photo 1235/2(153)