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Scientific investigation in northwest China redefines Silk Road
   2016-09-11 21:21:16    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Shi

Photo shows the beautiful view of Kunlun, the origin of the Yellow River, on September 11, 2016. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Experts and scientists have gathered to share their views about the origin and development of the ancient Silk Road following an eight-day field research expedition in northwest China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region.


The Silk Road is generally accepted to be an ancient route for travel and trade connecting Eurasia and Africa.

The route was named by German geologist Ferdinand Richthofen in his book in 1877, as he believed it was initially used for silk trade between China and Europe.

Professor Liu Chuanming with the International Academy of Chinese Culture believes silk is not the sole primary good traded on the road.

"The use of the word "silk" in the naming of the road is very confusing. As other experts mentioned, this road was also used for the trading of minerals, glass, spices, metals, and leathers."

Researcher Jia Congjiang with Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences thought the development of the road was boosted by the expansion of markets.

"The Silk Road, which prospered by way of the pursuit of commercial profits, included regions along the road and even the rest of the Eurasian continent into a unified market, which pushed the commercial exchange to the height of the pre-industrial age."

In a narrow-sense Silk Road refers to a trans-Eurasia road, which starts from the ancient city Chang'an, passing through Central Asian countries, and ending in Rome.

Professor Liu Chuanming thinks the Silk Road has already transcended geographical concepts and become a cultural symbol.

"When the concept of Silk Road was first raised, it was widely accepted as a single road with continuous trade activities. But this is a misinterpretation. In fact, for over a hundred years, no archaeological investigations have found evidence that can prove the Silk Road to be a specific route. Richthofen drew an imaginary route in his book. Many people even interpreted this route as a railway that the Germans planned to build at that time, and that turned out to be groundless."

Speaking of the "one belt one road" initiative raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping three years ago, Wu Xinhua, head of field research, shared his view.

"Promoting connectivity with our own development to the rest of the world, promoting common development and advancement, these are the inheritance of our fine tradition in modern time."

During the research, the team traveled across the Pamir Plateau and the west wing of the Kunlun mountains, through which many believe the ancient trade route passed.

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