Conference: Connecting the Silk Road. Trade, People & Social Networks (c. 400-1300 AD) May 17-18, 2014

silkroadLeiden University (Leiden Global Interactions – Project ‘Guiding Travelers’) has organized in cooperation with the Hermitage Amsterdam the conference Connecting the Silk Road. Trade, People & Social Networks (c. 400-1300 AD) on May 17 and 18, 2014 (see attached programme). The occasion for this symposium is the exhibition Expedition Silk Road. Treasures from the Hermitage, in the Hermitage Amsterdam on view from March 1 until September 5, 2014. Responsible for the conference organization are: Joanita Vroom (Archaeology, Leiden University) & Gabrielle van den Berg (Area Studies, Leiden University), and Birgit Boelens & Vincent Boele (Hermitage Amsterdam).

For thousands of years, land and sea routes served to exchange goods and ideas over thousands of kilometers from the Pacific East to the Atlantic West. Contacts between east and west are often assumed to have developed first in the Roman period, and then re-established again in the post-Marco Polo era. Exchange however continued, evolving along clusters of networks and changing routes and roads, which were commonly known as ‘the Silk Road’. Networks were created with commercial, social, religious, diplomatic incentives and connected geographical regions over any distance.

In this conference, we aim to highlight the complexity and sophistication of interactions through and between such networks by exploring their diversity, connective infrastructure and organization across natural or human-imposed boundaries. In addition, we hope to discuss development over routes and roads under influence of political, religious, economic and social changes.

Poster presentations for the conference are welcome (please contact: Gabrielle van den Berg:, or Maria Riep:

Entrance is free, but registration (from April 23 onwards) for the conference is required. Please contact for further information the Hermitage Amsterdam:



Published by James Alexander Cameron

I am an art historian working primarily on medieval parish church architecture. I completed my doctorate on sedilia in medieval England in 2015 at The Courtauld Institute of Art.

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